Last night while sharing dessert with girlfriends, a friend was telling us about her ideal job.
She answered with an assertive tone clearly stating the ideal job she wants, paused, and immediately followed her answer with a qualifier that went something like this: but that kind of job is pretty hard to get so who knows.
I am all too familiar with this kind of doubt-filled qualifier.
I can hear in my head numerous times when I have clearly voiced what I want, and then cushioned my clarity with excuses so as to soften the blow if I end up not getting what I want.
Why is it so challenging to state what we want, assertively, allowing the energy of our desire to linger on its own?
I think the answer lies somewhere at the intersection of self-doubt - not fully trusting that we can get what we want - and fear - of being perceived as a failure if we do not get what we want.
Through qualifiers, we remind ourselves and the world of challenges that might prevent us from getting what we want. This way, we assure that everyone is clear that if we fail it is not our fault.
When my friend was talking about her ideal job, her initial assertiveness was magnetic - here is someone who is clear on what she wants. It was exciting. Yet, the qualifier that followed contained a doubt that sat heavy on my chest for a while.
It felt as if she exposed something deeply valuable to her, and then quickly covered it up so that we could not see it anymore.
I do not want doubt, excuses, and the very real barriers that stand in the way to always be covering what I want. I know the barriers are there and I don’t intend to ignore them. But if I state what I want and always qualify it, then I am not giving what I want enough room to breathe and grow.
I want to allow for more space - more possibility, clarity and action - to spread between what I want and all the barriers that stand in the way.
One way that I can create this space is by assertively stating what I want and allowing that declaration to linger.
I am taking this on as a practice: whenever stating what I want, I’ll surround the statement with silence, granting space for possibility.