07/24/2012 02:53 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT

How to Get What You Need -- Not What You Want


Today's "Dear Colette" post isn't in response to any specific question from anyone. It's more of a trend that I see often with the singles and couples I have worked with. And this trend is having an "attachment to the outcome."

So many of us have it -- this attachment to what we want to have happen.

And it robs us of our peace, contentment, and happiness.

But we want what we want. And we expect it to happen just like we planned.

Life isn't like that.

We don't always get what we want.

And we often perceive this to be "bad."

But in reality, not getting what we want may be JUST what we "need."

For example, I didn't want a partner who was the same height as me because I grew up with eating disorders and so I wanted a partner who made me feel smaller. But I didn't get what I wanted. What I got was a partner who is essentially the same size as me, which required me to get over myself and my insecurity with my size. Which I eventually did.

I have a friend who is soon to be of no fixed address even though all she's ever wanted is a home --  a cocoon to call her safe place. But a recent unfolding of events has left her without all the things she cherishes. She hasn't yet seen what will come of her situation, but she is holding to the idea of being unattached to the outcome. Because as the saying goes, "If you want to make God (or the Universe, Source, etc) laugh, tell him about your plans."

One of the couples that I am working with who are currently separated and considering divorce are seeing that their expectations of each other are precisely what drove them apart. They see now (possibly too late to salvage their marriage) that if only they had loved each other as they were, rather than who they wanted the other to be, they might be in a totally different situation.

Rather than dwell on what's done and past, they have learned the "lesson." They have learned that although they couldn't make their relationship work -- and a failing marriage isn't exactly what either of them want -- it's quite possibly what they both need. Because after going through this, they are both prepared to cherish any potential future partners for who they are. They are able to recognize that even when things get tough, we always get what we need, even if it's not always what we want.

Why do I write about this today? Probably because the majority of the "Dear Colette" questions I have received lately have been to do with women wanting proposals from men, who are not getting what they want. And to this, my answer is: Sit back, relax, quit pressing, and if it's meant to happen -- it will. It will happen by letting go much sooner than it will happen if you do nothing but push, beg, or dole out ultimatums for it. This only pushes what you want further and further away.

And maybe, just maybe, this lack of proposal is something you need -- even though it isn't what you want.

Maybe, just maybe, it will require you to go "within" and look at your "stuff."

Maybe, just maybe, it will teach you to stop putting your expectations for happiness on the outside world, and require that you find happiness within, first. Because that's where true happiness originates from anyway.

If there's something that lately you've been fixated on -- something that you want but you are not getting -- maybe it's because you are getting exactly what you need.

How does this relate to you, and your life?

If you have any thoughts on this, I'd sure love to hear them.

Lots of love,