Monday, January 4, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want...

...But if you try sometimes, well you just might find you get what you need."  Rolling Stones

I am reading the book "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert right now.  It's so enjoyable and interesting and she is so open and honest that you feel more like you are having a conversation with her than reading a book.  There are some great lines in the book and wonderful insights that I find myself reading them again and sharing them with others so that I can continue to enjoy these little epiphanies.  The most recent little gem was some advice she received from a woman who was nearly 100 years old. 

She told Elizabeth that the only two things that cause conflict between people throughout all of history are "How much do you love me?" and "Who's in charge?".   If you really think about it, this woman is right she is absolutely right.  Think about the last argument, disagreement, hurt feelings, anxiety, etc. that you felt about another person.  Ultimately, it will come down to "how much do they love you" or "which one of you is in charge".  This never-ending power struggle consumes us, literally. 

How many arguments, have at their root, the idea that if this person really loved you they would just (fill in the blank - do what you want them to do in the way you want, agree with you, do what you want without asking, stop bothering you, be more....) OR how many arguments are really about which one of you is in charge here.  Someone has to be in charge (although I'm sure there are many people who believe, as faulty as this idea is, that things can be equal) there is no such thing as fair or equal.  Someone has to do more of the work, someone has to direct what is going on, someone has to plan things so that it all happens.  It is such a fine line we walk when we are negotiating this particular part of human interaction. 
As human beings we are obsessed with these two ideas and we struggle, and fight with ourselves and eachother over these two principle questions. 

I realize that now that I am aware of this idea I will never be able to look at myself or my interactions with others the same.  I will be reminding myself that I can either continue to allow my ego to worry about how much I am loved by this person (or liked) and/or which one of us in charge OR I can focus my energies on letting go and on accepting that I will never really know the answer to those questions within my relationships.  Imagine the possibilities...I will just "be" in the relationship or "accept" the relationship as it is and stop worrying and wondering if those questions will be answered.

You can't always get what you want.  Frankly most of the time I don't really think we know what we want or what to do with it if we actually "got" it.  We underestimate how much work "getting what we want" really is and we can't accept that even if we do get what we want that we can actually keep it.  Maybe if we just allow things to happen and unfold the way that they are meant to, we will get what we need. 


Mama P said...

Nice to have you back blogging again Michelle...can't wait to read more! I loved this book also!