We Want What We Can’t Have

Confession: I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I should. But I’ve been having way too much fun and sometimes (most of the time) the two just don’t go hand in hand.

Confession: I’ve been drinking too much Diet Coke and chewing too much gum. I’ve actually cut way back on the amount of gum I chew, thanks to some wise words from my friend Sydney that went something like this: “STOP SMACKING YOUR GUM. YOU SOUND LIKE A HORSE.” I totally see the resemblance:


Confession: My mind has been all over the place lately. I’ve been getting lost on regular routes that I travel every day because I’m so lost in my thoughts. I guess you could say I’ve been in a “funk” lately and can’t pinpoint the exact reason. Perhaps it has something to do with the topic of today’s blog post.

We always want what we can’t have. I think it’s an innate part of human nature. We’re born with this constant craving for more, more, more. All the time. Even kids recognize it:

“We want more, we want more. Like, we really like it, we want more!” <– So stinkin’ cute. 

But if we really got what we wished so badly for, would we even want it any more? There are many times in life I’ve fanticized about having something. That thing is the key to my happiness. Once I have it, I’m set. Life will be perfect.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. In the past when I got what I so desperately WISH I had, it wasn’t as glamorous as I thought it would be. Once the newness faded and the excitement was gone I thought to myself, “This is IT? This is what I worried/stressed about/wanted for so long?”

We can see how this easily applies to our relationships. We’ve all been in the beginning stages of a new relationship. You go on a date and almost immediately start worrying when to call, if they’ll call you, or what you’ll even say when either occurs. Of course, this is only to realize two weeks later you’ve already completely lost interest. What made you want them so badly before? Because you couldn’t have them. It was the chase.

When I first became interested in eating healthy, I just wanted what I didn’t have: a toned physique, skinny legs, collarbones, defined cheekbones.  I must say, they aren’t all that glamorous when you have to take dangerous measures to achieve them. Once I became more toned (which, by the way, didn’t happen over night), it’s not like I woke up one day with 15,000x more confidence, guys lined up at my door or 15 new job offers. <– I got all those because I’m awesome, not my biceps 😉 HA, I wish. 

If we focus on what we don’t have, we will be stuck in the past. I watched an online streaming church service last night and, as always, it’s like the big man upstairs knew just how I was feeling. The pastor said, “Whatever God has for you is not behind you.” That’s right. It’s ahead of you.

The sooner we let go of wanting what we don’t have, the sooner we will:
1. Get something better
2. Realize what we wanted isn’t even what we REALLY wanted in the first place.

All we can do is be thankful for what we DO have and stop focusing on what we DON’T have. 

[Of Possible Interest:]

Romanticism… And Not in the Way You May Think
Gratitude via Psychology Today <– one of my all-time favorite websites! I could browse the articles for days. 
Stopped Focusing on Results and Started Seeing Them 


17 thoughts on “We Want What We Can’t Have

  1. It’s actually really interesting to think about this. I honestly noticed that my eating habits became healthier when I let myself have the unhealthier foods. Why? Because I lost interest. I didn’t crave them. If I want a piece of cake, I’m going to eat the piece of cake because I’ll end up bingeing on it anyways if I don’t let myself have it. I think about this little phenomenon a lot actually in every aspect of my life. You nailed it 🙂

    • EXACTLY! When I used to deprive myself way too much I would eventually binge and eat everything in sight. I had the mindset that I would again be deprived of it for so long so I had to go balls-to-the-wall and enjoy myself. Not the case AT ALL now. Bring on the cookies 🙂

  2. I think that once we get what we want we still aren’t satisfied. It may be a cultural thing or a human thing, I’m not really sure. Think about it: we always want that next promotion, we always want that even-more-fun night, etc. Glad you brought this to light. Also, I identify with that girl in the commercial. I think she is me when I was little.

  3. so so true!! i constantly try to remind myself that the universe gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. and of course there’s that old adage “careful what you wish for- it might come true”. i love the underlying message in this post! and ps- ive been overdoing it with the diet coke lately too! i go through phases with it, sometimes i can go months without it, sometimes i have to really try hard not to reach for it. ah its just so good! 🙂

    • I’m with ya on that one. Sometimes we think we need it, but it’s not what’s in our best interest in the long run. I actually was able to give up Diet Coke for Lent and didn’t miss it at all! And gum, too. I think I mainly chew gum out of boredom between meals and Diet Coke is more of a caffeine thing. I don’t worry about it too much though… We’re probably also dying from the chemicals in our hairspray so pick your battles I guess haha.

  4. YOU are gorg. Can I please borrow that yellow top in the upper left hand corner? K thanks! Love your blog, so glad you commented on mine so I could discover yours!

  5. Thank you, This article could not have come at a more perfect time to serve as a reminder to me. Over the last year I have done a lot of personal growth and making sure I am doing things for me not because someone else thinks I should. I have also been looking for a different job because my current one is not as challenging as I would like and I’ve applied for jobs thinking the “grass has to be greener”. While none of those jobs worked out, I still struggled with finding happiness with my current position. But my coworker recently reminded that I actually have a good job even if I feel it is beneath me, and to be grateful for it and with a change in management coming soon my attitude about the position could completely change for the better. But even if I would’ve gotten another job, eventually the excitement would wear off and I would be right back where I am now even if it paid more. I’m working on being happier with what I have instead of always looking for more. Yet also balancing when to “make a move” so I don’t just end up coasting for the rest of my life.

    • I can completely relate to what you’re saying. I think it’s important to be happy where we are but also aim for higher goals. In the meantime, though, it’s super important to keep a positive attitude. At least you have a job (and a paying one at that!) That’s more than a lot of people can say. Keep striving to be happy and I wish you the best of luck in your job search 🙂 I’m glad this resonated with you!

  6. I love this post! Yes, what God has planned for us is in front of us! So true! Something my dad loves to tell me is “Where ever you are, what job you have, the friends you have, etc, just be a blessing! Be happy! And thank God!”

  7. I can’t tell you how much I agree with this post! Are we long lost sisters/best friends? I think so! 🙂

    I have these same thought as well, and definitely always want what I can’t have but completely agree that it doesn’t mean that we’ll be happier once we get there. That is my all time favorite commercial! Love those kids! We want more, we want more!

  8. First I can’t tell you how ecstatic I am that I stumbled across this brilliant space of yours. As I was scrolling through the first several blog posts- I couldn’t help thinking, “you can read minds?!” Second, these words were exactly what I’ve been needing to hear. My mantra lately has been “trust in the process” but to hear those concepts from another source truly helps it ring true. So thanks for helping it “click”.

    • This just put the biggest smile on my face 🙂 I’m so glad you’re able to relate. There’s no coincidence in the timing of you finding this page, either. I LOVE stumbling upon things when it’s exactly what I need to hear! It’s usually a sign I’m on the right track. Keep trusting in the process. Trust and having a positive attitude will get you very, very far. Thanks for the kind words!

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