How to live with the tension caused by unconscious desires and limits

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Louise Hay
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How to live with the tension caused by unconscious desires and limits

Last update: May 29, 2017

We are in constant debate between our fervent desires and the limits of reality. Life confronts us with constant challenges and we decide which ones to ignore and which ones to accept. However, on some certain occasions we find ourselves going through situations at the limit, which put us to the test and which, in many cases, allow us to understand that we are much stronger than we thought.



There are also cases in which our desires never materialize and we have no idea why. With today's article, we want to try to put these disguised reasons on paper. Stay with us for try to find out where those inexplicable limits that prevent us from achieving our goals come from.

 “Our desire despises and abandons what we have to run after what we don't have”.

-Michel de Montaigne-

First, let's think about the fact that desires arise as a result of an interest in something we don't have, or at least not in the way we would like to have it. Furthermore, we feel a kind of lack in ourselves that we consider necessary.

Filling that void involves putting into practice a very specific strategy, methodology or procedure. If we make it, everything is fine. The problem arises when we notice that we have achieved something else. What we wanted so much is not, in reality, what we wanted.

This result is just as frustrating as when we work hard to achieve a goal and ultimately fail. Sometimes it may also happen that we are unable to find the motivation to fulfill the desires in which we had invested the most. Although we use all the resources at our disposal, we do not see any progress and the goal seems to remain at a distance that is always too high for us.



It is as if reality is trying to go against our intuition and our reason, which, no matter how hard it tries, cannot find a foothold to achieve that goal. What is actually happening? Where is that insurmountable obstacle?

Messages that contaminate our desires

Very often we are not sure what we really want. Not only do we allow ourselves to be influenced by the wishes of the community expressed in the form, for example, of advertising, but also by the opinion of family and friends. Well, although they may be given in good faith, those opinions may not correspond to our real needs.

The family is, in itself, a real factory of expectations. From the moment we are born, a sort of "ideal" is created around us. If we are the older brother it is because we are the elder. If we are the minor, the same applies. And so on for the different categories, such as gender or physical appearance. The moment that the family experiences when we come into the world also has a great influence.

At the beginning of our life, we are the result of the desires of others. Our existence is the fruit of a desire. Somehow, we have been wanted, since, probably, if not, we would never have been born. And if that desire hadn't been solid, it probably wouldn't have survived the first few years of life.

However, the desire that gave us origin is not always clear or healthy. When our life begins, we can only adapt to the wishes of others. Part of the maturity process, in fact, consists precisely in liberating oneself definitively from this yoke. Understanding what was the desire that made our life possible and defining to what extent it coincides with our personal project.



The unconscious rules

We live in a world where it seems that everyone is qualified to express an expert opinion regarding our wishes. Of course, everything also depends on the place we occupy in the world and the environment in which we grow up, however, good and evil - that is what it is good to desire or not - are delimited categories, at least in partial terms, even before our existence. .

Rules are established during our childhood. Some are explicit, they tell us how we “must” be, they reward us when we respect certain models and they punish us if we don't. This is how we learn to follow some patterns of behavior which, by dint of reinforcement and repetition, end up becoming habits. For this reason, in addition to a good repertoire of defined rules, there are as many hidden and much more difficult to identify.

Let's imagine seeing our mother caressing her son surrounded by immense sadness. We see her and, without her saying anything, we feel terribly guilty. Maybe she expects us to console her, to free her from her frustration, her loneliness, or her pain. Maybe you are educating us about this. And that's how, almost without realizing it, we adopt his expectation as an unconscious rule.


Following this example, Those with such a mother are likely to have a hard time defining and fulfilling their wishes. He may be led to believe that seeking independence is equivalent to attacking his mother or that being happy is a way of betraying her. However, since all of this happens unknowingly, the situation will not appear so clear. Rather, it will come in the form of self-sabotage, delays or lack of goals.

Winning the battle between desires and limits

If you feel unable to determine your desires, then most likely some unconscious rules are operating within you. The same is true in cases where you apparently have clear goals in mind but, no matter how hard you try, you can't reach them.


The key to understanding what is really going on dates back to one's childhood. To the wishes of those who have lived around us. Perhaps you will be able to identify those expectations that were created and, consciously, you will reject them and try to separate yourself from them.

To win the battle between conscious desires and unconscious limits, first, you need to identify the masked or hidden forces that operate in your life. To do this, it is necessary to complete an exercise in introspection and therapeutic support can be of great help in this case. In general, try to locate the limits, bring them into the open and defeat them.

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