Are You Over-Caring For Your Desires?

You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration. ~James Allen

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Ande Waggener of Up From Splat

When it comes to goal setting and dreams, you’re encouraged to believe that the more you want something, the greater the likelihood that you’ll get it. Strong feelings are considered a motivator for big action.

But is this true? Not exactly.

Three Ways To Overdo It

Obviously, you do need a lot of emotion behind your wants. However, a lot of the wrong kind of emotion can keep you from achieving your goals instead of helping you get them.

A goal or intention is like a fragile seedling. It requires just the right kind of care to grow into reality in your life. Sure, you need to feed and water it. But you can overdo that if you’re not careful. Here are three ways you might do that:

1. Longing

When you long for a goal, you’re prone to envy. You want what you want so badly that it’s almost like a case of unrequited love. So when you see someone else who has what you want, you’re awash in bitterness.

“Why does she have a new boyfriend? She’s not even nice!” “Why did he get that job? I have much more experience than he does.” Thoughts such as these are like the heavy branches of a big shade tree. They loom over your desire and prevent it from receiving the light that would allow it to grow.

2. Obsession

When you’re obsessed about a goal, you think of nothing else. Every action you take is aimed toward that goal. You think this is good because you’re being proactive.

But doing this is like over-fertilizing a new plant. You can actually poison your goals this way. You end up burning out and frizzling up before you get even close to achieving what you want.

3. Desperation

Desperation may seem like a powerful motivator, but it’s actually extraordinarily negative energy. When you’re desperate, you don’t really believe you can have what you want.

You’re so afraid you won’t get it that you flail around doing this and that to get where you want to go. Your thoughts are too obscured by your fear for you to receive inspiration for productive action.

This is like over-watering a new plant. Desperation drowns goals because when you’re desperate, you aren’t in a frame of mind that can spot opportunities when they arise.

Proper Care And Feeding Of Desires

Okay, so now you know how you might be doing too much. So what are the optimal feelings to put behind your desires?

Here are three feeling states that will nurture your wants into realities:

1. Acceptance

Before you can go after any goal, you must be in a place of positive energy. You can’t be in that place if you’re miserable in your current circumstances. You must accept the way things are now.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like the way things are right now. But you do need to be okay with them. You need to be able to say, “It is what it is, and that’s just fine.” You need to disconnect your value as a person from your desire for the goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, you need to get okay with the weight you are now. This puts you in the positive frame of mind necessary to get into action.

This is like sunlight for your seedling. Acceptance opens you up to allow the energy of the universe to flow through you toward your desires.

2. Enthusiasm

When you’re enthusiastic, you’re excited about achieving your goal, and you’re excited about taking the action necessary to get there. You’re not forcing yourself, driving yourself, or gritting your teeth with determination. You’re like a little kid who jumps out of bed in the morning because he or she can’t wait to play with a new toy.

Enthusiasm is a fertilizer for your desires. The word enthusiasm comes from the Greek “entheos,” meaning, “having a god within.” Enthusiasm is your divine power. When you lead with enthusiasm, you’re allowing your inner wisdom to take you to what you want.

3. Faith

Unlike the fear beneath desperation, faith is the foundation of the belief that you can have what you want. When you have faith, you know that your desire is a reality in your thoughts and therefore will soon manifest itself in your physical world too.

Faith is the proper amount of water for your desire. It nourishes the roots of what you want so you have an unshakable foundation from which to take inspired action. These roots keep you alert to every person or experience that could be a stepping stone to your goal.

Become aware of the emotions behind your desires and wants. Be honest with yourself about what you feel. When you notice that you’re squelching your desires with longing, obsession, or desperation, look for ways to shift your emotions to acceptance, enthusiasm, and faith.

Three Steps To An Optimal Mindset

Here are three easy steps to help you get in these optimal emotional states:

1. To develop acceptance, remind yourself that your current circumstances have served you well. They provided the contrast necessary to help you define what you really want. Without dark, you can’t see light. Without sad, you can’t appreciate happy. Similarly, without your current circumstances, you couldn’t become aware of wanting what you now want.

2. To develop enthusiasm, spend at least a few minutes each day imagining that you’ve already achieved what you desire to have. Pretend it’s a wonderful memory. Really feel how awesome it is to have what you want. This sensation of “already there” will fill you with the enthusiasm you need to get there.

3. To develop faith, look for examples of others who have achieved what you want. Ask friends to tell you stories of others who achieved your goal. Read biographies about people who have done what you want to do. Look for examples on the internet and in magazines. Be on the alert for evidence that what you want is doable.

Your little seedling of a desire is ready and willing to grow into the achievement you want. All it’s waiting for is your loving care.

Ande Waggener is the author of both fiction and nonfiction. She encourages people to keep on toward their dreams even after setbacks and disappointments at Up From Splat, a site that helps you get back up when life slams you down.

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 16 comments

Andre, Wow, I loved this post! The metaphor was perfectly woven to share your message. And, I think you delivered a unique message. Most of us don’t think about how we can over-want something, yet you’ve done a nice job of showing this side of desire. Here’s to not drowning and over-fertilizing my dreams 🙂
.-= Marci´s last blog ..Letting Kids Grow Up with 5 Steps =-.

The Vizier

Hi Ande,

I agree with you that we can overdo it with our desires and end up not being able to attain our goals. I love your lovely imagery and explanations of longing, obsession and desperation. In truth, unless we approach any situation with a calm and composure, it is difficult to achieve what we want.

The best way to pursue anything is not to pursue it. The harder we try, the further it is from our grasp. But the moment we stop trying so hard, things fall into place naturally. This point is perfectly illustrated by your 3 steps to an optimal mindset. I agree that if we develop acceptance, enthusiasm and faith, we will attain our desires. This is the best way to nurture desires without killing them by overdoing it.

Thank you for sharing this article!
.-= The Vizier´s last blog ..How to Live Without Regrets =-.

    Ande Waggener

    “The best way to pursue anything is not to pursue it.” Well said, It reminds me of a truth in dog training. If your dog is running away from you and you want your dog to come to you, don’t chase your dog. Turn and go the other way. Energy is a flow. When we push against, we block it. I learned that the hard way. 😉
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..The Value To Income Equation- How To Allow More Money Into Your Life =-.


Ande, I have to admit I saw my younger self reflected so much in those first few paragraphs about desperation, obsession and longing. An ego out of control or trying to control what it couldn’t — that was me in my early days as a fledgling filmmaker. This is such a kind and wonderful post and approach to working towards your dreams – I love the faith part. Faith as a foundation, far away from a place of fear and so loving. Thank you for giving me so much to reflect upon.
.-= Katie´s last blog ..How to Feel The Earth Move Under Your Feet =-.

    Ande Waggener

    My younger self was there, too, Katie. I knew nothing about balance and faith. I love how you put it: “An ego out of control.” Well put. Faith keeps us moving away from that place and toward the balance, I think.
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..How To Flip Faults Into Assets =-.

Alex Blackwell


This post really hit home with me. Acceptance, enthusiasm and faith are important to me and how I live my life: I have to accept my reality before I can become excited about its possibilities and then I turn to faith when self-doubt begins to creep in.

Thanks for these important reminders,


    Ande Waggener

    You’re welcome, Alex. And yes, you’re right that we have to BE where we are before we can embrace the possibilities. And faith does trump self doubt. 🙂
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..How To Flip Faults Into Assets =-.

Barrie Davenport

Hi Ande,
Thank you so much for writing this beautiful post and sharing it here! I have been guilty of over-caring for goals myself. Sometimes we have the twisted notion that if we focus more energy, attention, anxiety, and desire behind something, it will happen faster or happen at all. When you hold that tightly to something, you can squeeze it to death. I’ve learned to set goals, but hold them loosely and stay open to other possibilities that might be as good or better than what I think I want.

    Ande Waggener

    Thank YOU, Barrie. It’s a pleasure to be on your wonderful blog.

    “Squeeze it to death” is right. We shut off the flow of energy to it when we hang on too tight. I too am learning to go with the flow better and allow my intentions to be fluid and prepared to be shaped into whatever works of art over time.
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..How To Flip Faults Into Assets =-.


Thank you Ande for writing this beautiful post – just what I needed to read today! And thank you Barrie for hosting this guest post 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving to both of you.
.-= Cristina´s last blog ..Why connecting creates beauty =-.

Ande Waggener

You’re welcome, Carrie. Thank you for your comment. Happy Thanksgiving to you too. 🙂
.-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..How To Have Stress-Free Holiday Traditions =-.

Steve-Personal Success Factors

I agree with everyone above that this is a priceless post. And the picture going with this post is just as fitting. Acceptance, enthusiasm, and faith: I’m going to keep this planting mantra fixed in my mind and heart as I go forward into 2011 🙂
.-= Steve-Personal Success Factors´s last blog ..Notes of Gratitude =-.


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