As babies or sometimes as toddlers, we scream & cry when we want something. We want it NOW, as if our life depended on it. Our want is our entire world. As little kids, we tug on our parents or relatives, pointing, whining and urging them to give us what we want. As teenagers, we wheedle, cajole and negotiate.
These methods of getting what we want are pretty effective when the things we want are to be fed or for our diaper to be changed, but as we get older we start hearing “no”. No, we can’t have the hot pan on the stove. No, we can’t have a $12 balloon that we’ll let go of in 3 seconds. No, we’re not getting a Hummer for our sixteenth birthday.
But what about as adults? There’s no one to tell us “no” except the law, really. So we have to learn to tell ourselves no.
Sometimes it’s harder to do so than others. You see, deep down inside somewhere, we’re all still the screaming toddler who wants something and wants it NOW. But we have to be the adult too, and fill the “no” role, or the “no, not right now” role.
The only real way that I know of to learn to deal with the “I wants” is to practice — and to use our inner toddler to our advantage. You see, toddlers are also easily distracted. What they want with their very being changes from moment to moment. They don’t want anything for very long.
And neither do we, much of the time.
So don’t say no, exactly. Say “ok, maybe later”. And then write down what you want on a list somewhere and move on. Chances are pretty good that you’ll have forgotten all about it in an hour or a few days. But if you find yourself writing down the same thing over and over again, it’s probably not just a fleeting want. You might actually want to get or do whatever it is on a deeper level.
In that case, start mapping out a plan. What will it take for you to be able to do or buy the thing you want? How can you make it happen? What will doing so impact? What will you have to change? Is it worth it to you?
Then take your time, and do what it takes to get there. This way your fleeting impulses won’t prevent you from meeting your deeper wants and needs.