What we wouldn’t give to be competent, to have peace of mind, to be good, valuable and fulfilled.
These are the desires of our hearts (I only call them yearnings to have something for ‘Y’, but they are commonly known as desires. I’m cheating.)
Some of us desire all those things. All of us desire some of those things.
What gives us our unique personalities is the particular connection we have to one of those things.
Here they are by type:
One: To be good, to have integrity
Two: To be loved
Three: To be valued
Four: To be significant
Five: To be capable and competent
Six: To be secure and certain
Seven: To be fulfilled and happy
Eight: To be in control and strong
Nine: To be at peace
How our desires shape us
The theory that makes the most sense to me, as a child development and infant mental health specialist and a therapist, who spends a lot of time learning about how people and babies tick, is that we come into this world holding one of these desires (goodness, love, value, meaning, competence, security, joy, strength or peace) dearest to our hearts or in the forefront of our minds. If you can picture each of these desires as one side of a nine-sided crystal, it is as though we each choose a side through which to see ourselves and the world, the side that is most special or most important to each of us.
Then what happens?
We are born into these human bodies and this physical world and bam, we get blind-sided by hunger pangs, bright lights or breasts that are hard to get milk out of. We get left alone or we hit ourselves in the face with our own little out-of-control fists. We are overwhelmed by all there is to see and smell and touch and hear. Suddenly, things aren’t as rosy as we might have imagined. As soon as we leave the womb, we discover we aren’t in Kansas anymore.
Because we are looking at life through our one side of the crystal, so to speak, the way we interpret these assaults is to assume that the goodness, love, value, meaning, competence, security, joy, control or peace isn’t here. We then come to a tragically misguided conclusion: What I want isn’t here, and it must be because there’s something wrong with me.
–here it comes—
–we decide we must create or manufacture the goodness, love, value, meaning, competence, security, joy, control or peace for which we so desperately long.
Our innocent desires then become preoccupations and we spend our lives trying to create what we want inside and outside ourselves like this:
Because Ones have lost touch with their inherent goodness, they try to make themselves and other people good and right.
Because Twos have forgotten that they are inherently loveable just as they are, they try to earn love by being the most helpful and the most needed person they can be.
Because Threes have forgotten that they are inherently valuable, they try to prove that they are the best at whatever they set out to do, thereby impressing others with their value.
Because Fours no longer believe they are whole and significant just as they are, they try to be different enough to be special.
Because Fives have lost touch with their innate wisdom and competence, they try to learn and understand, gathering knowledge they think they need to navigate life.
Because Sixes have forgotten that they can trust their own internal guidance, they try to find certainty by anticipating what might go wrong and creating plans to head bad things off at the pass.
Because Sevens have lost touch with the intrinsic joy in life, they chase the next new experience, looking always toward the future for stimulation and fulfillment.
Because Eights have forgotten that there is strength in vulnerability, they push up against life to feel their own power and vitality.
Because Nines have lost touch with the natural balance in life, they try to keep the peace by ignoring their own conflicting thoughts and feelings.
What can we do about this travesty?
Discover within yourself what you are really yearning for. See what it is like to remember that the small, ego version of that may or may not exist in any given moment or with any given person. However, the bigger, Universal experience of that longing is available for you no matter what and no matter when.
Relax into that. Breathe some more.