“If you like it then you should have put a ring on it.” A line that so many women sing at the top of their lungs with total agreement. (A line many men secretly sing as they get their Beyonce’ fix while driving or working out. Oh yes, I’ve both heard and seen you!)
There is something to that phrase. It is simply a re-write of phrases like, you should catch a good thing before it’s gone, or you better get while the gettin’s good. There are a million phrases that say the same thing. If you want it, show the world in some way and hold on to it.
This advice applies to all kinds of things: cars, microwaves, the wii, the iphone4. Actually, I was driving down the street the other day and heard a commercial for a Twix candy bar. I don’t particularly like Twix candy bars. I have nothing against them personally, but they simply are not my chocolate of choice. But on this day, I was the person for which that commercial had been written. I was completely content as I drove to meet up with a friend. I hadn’t a thought in the world about food or chocolate and most definitely not of Twix. But when that commercial came on, I suddenly wanted something I didn’t want 2 seconds previously. And, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
I sat with my friend, we ate our lovely salads for lunch. I drank water. I turned down sweets and then I got in my car and drove straight to a gas station where, you guessed it, I bought and consumed a Twix.
So much of our world is about getting the things we want when we want them. And we get messages all of the time about the things we should want! So we’re left not knowing if the thing we want is really something we want or if it’s just something someone else wants for us. There are so many messages that we don’t know for ourselves. I mean, how many times have you been shopping for one thing and walk by the end of isle with the pretty display and suddenly realized you need a new game, movie, bath towel with embroidered animals, okay maybe that’s just me. (not the embroidered animal part)
I wonder if we know what we want. I wonder how the messages we get in movies, from bad advice, books, and general marketing actually cloud our ability to know what we want. Especially when it comes to dating and the search for “the one”, career choices, how to spend time and major purchases. So many competing messages. So much advice and so many visuals given. How is a person to know if what they have is what they want, when in our world the grass is almost always greener somewhere else? How is a person to know if their mate or job or home or purchase wish list holds the things they really want, or if it is a list that was created for them by the input they’ve received from the world around them? And when in the process of deciding, is one given freedom to take time to decide or is it supposed to be like the Twix I ate. We hear about it, we want it, we get it. done.
Some things are just not that easy.
Knowing what we want actually involves knowing ourselves well and surrounding ourselves with people of wisdom who will speak into our lives with wisdom. Knowing what we really want in many ways is a practice of wisdom. A practice of being able to wade through the noise to get to the core and sometimes that process is longer than we’re comfortable with.
If I had listened to wisdom I would have just driven home that day. I would have saved myself a dollar, 350 calories, some regret and I would have done what I really wanted to do. But the noise clouded my vision and I gave in to a want that wasn’t mine to begin with.
How do you know what you want? Are you in a situation right now where you have to make a decision and the noise around you is clouding your ability to make a wise choice?