Wanting What You Cannot Have is Self-Abuse

Photo by Thomas Griesbeck on Unsplash

Could you imagine a more exquisite type of torture? Can you think of a more pointless existence? Is there anything quite as asinine as wanting what you cannot have? Probably not, but I should probably explain what this phenomenon means.

Wanting what you cannot have is about being incompatible with a desire. It’s not a matter of working hard enough to get it. It’s not a deficiency in worth on one’s part. Rather, it is a mismatch of two elements.

You can try to combine a hydrogen atom and a helium atom just as you can try to make an actuary into an actor. It won’t work. Based on the structure of these things they cannot go together.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How can you say that an actuary can’t be an actor?! People are diverse and multi-faceted so you should never try to limit someone’s potential.”

I totally agree. But that’s where failing to know oneself comes into play and that is the primary reason people want what they cannot have.

If the acting actuary knows herself she would never listen to the voices that try to pigeonhole her. More limited minds would tell her to choose one or the other, and they may coerce her into being an actuary because it’s more “realistic.”

If she listens to these people who probably care about her and just want the best for her, she will end up resentful because she feels incomplete. Her supposed goal of climbing the corporate ladder was not what she really wanted. She wanted what she could not have because what she could have had was being an actuary in the week but an actor in community plays on the weekend.

Of course, that’s just one example. There are different ways she could spin the balance between the two but the point is that she needed to know and honor herself before she could have achieved her dreams. But let’s look at this another way.

Let’s say that she is an actuary and an actor but she only wanted to be an actor because the media portrays actors as celebrities who get a lot of money and a lot of love from strangers. As a result, she buys into the idea of being an actress but struggles to motivate herself to audition or even to practice.

She gets counselling because she’s afraid to put herself out there but what is underneath the fear is the same old desire to simply be an actuary. In reconciling the desire for attention versus her love of math, she eventually chooses math and finds that her life as an actuary is a largely happy and peaceful one.

How about wanting what you cannot have when it comes to romance?

Maybe you’ve experienced liking people who don’t like you but perhaps you’ve also had to deal with people liking you but you not liking them. That’s pretty annoying, isn’t it?

If you perpetually find yourself wanting people who don’t like you or don’t choose you, there’s something within you that you need to address. Please note that I didn’t say that you are a problem. You’re not the problem, but something about your thinking or mentality is.

When you want people that you cannot have it could be one of two things. You either don’t actually want a relationship and so you are subconsciously sabotaging yourself, or you believe that you have to conquer this dragon and have it submit to your will because you think that’s what love is or because you want to feel accomplished and better about yourself.

With the first one, you aren’t being honest about your reluctance to date. Maybe you don’t want to date because a past relationship was too significant for you to let go of. Maybe you don’t want to date because you actually are fine being alone but you want to fit in with the rest of society.

With the second possibility, you aren’t respecting yourself. Do you know why this person doesn’t like you or won’t choose you? It’s because they can see the incompatibility. It doesn’t matter if there’s an actual connection and you can see it and you’re just trying to get them to see it. They don’t, which means that you’re wasting your time.

Love should not be about coercion because when you get right down to it, the only reason you’d trying to coerce them into anything is because of selfishness. You’re just doing whatever you have to do to get them as long as it’s not illegal.

Hopefully you can see that wanting what you can’t have really is self-abuse. It starts with not honoring how you really feel, you abandon yourself for the opinions of others and you try to get things that you don’t really want, which compounds the unhappiness and lack of fulfillment you already feel within.

Only by rejecting the opinions that do not resonate with you and listening to your intuition will you have any shot of gaining inner peace.

There may be a time of mourning as you realize that the things you thought you had to have are not ever going to be yours. You should mourn as it will help you to let go of what isn’t for you and will help you to pick up what is right for you.

If you are afraid that you will not like what is for you, I want you to really consider what you’re saying.

Remember, you are working with your intuition/inner knowing. You are working with the gut feeling that rises before thought. If your intuition is saying no, don’t do it. However, if your intuition is saying yes, at the very least give it a try and see how it goes.

It may not be where you end up, but it will give you the information you need in order to get to where you want to go.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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