How to Find What You’re Searching For

There’s a difference between getting what you want, and what you really need.

Anybody can get what they want.

Very few can get what they’re searching for, which is what they truly need.

And the difference is really important. It’s the difference between a bear hug and a like, between a meaningless swipe and truly standing tall when the fairy tale devolves into the ugly, messiness of life.

One involves the world in which we live — our head, social network, friends, family, job, relationships, the dog, what’s for dinner, and does this make me look fat?

The other involves the soul — and it’s a tougher lift, because it involves doing something we all hate: looking in the mirror. Honestly looking. Really and truly looking.

This means not only seeing the forest through the trees, but recognizing that you’re standing in a bloody forest to begin with. This takes not only awareness, but courage.

Here’s how to begin to know the difference inside you:

How do you feel Sunday night?

To the world, you have a good gig. It’s complete with an identifiable career path, maybe comes with a title, maybe it’s slightly better than others. Pays the bills. Certainly, it’s what you’re supposed to be doing, right?

But if come Sunday night, a nagging feeling begins to grow inside you — that come the morning, Monday begins and so with it a long week ahead, and if you begin to mourn the loss of the weekend and start thinking about the weekend ahead — then you’re in the wrong job. You got what you wanted, but not what you’re searching for.

Where is your nose?

Stop for a second and think about your nose. Not how big it might be. Not how small it might be. Shit, not even how perfect it might be (for you lucky few). But just where the hell is your nose most of the time? If it’s staring down at your phone — when you’re walking, talking, eating, dating, driving, watching TV, cuddling, even fucking (I kid you not), than you’re watching life, not living it.

You’ve let your need for acceptance…and the sheer social pressure of following the herd, define you. You have tons of followers and friends; you post the (pick an adjective) cutest, wittiest, sexiest, funniest, most provocative, most important, dynamic, trendiest, hippest, on the money, cool as the other side of the pillow, thing ever.

And you’ve done exactly what everyone else is doing. You got what you wanted, but not what you’re searching for. Because you’re searching for life, something meaningful, and that’s not life — no matter how hard we try and make it be.

How much do you party?

Who me? I don’t drink/party/hook-up/carouse/dance/play too much. I’m cool, bro. All under control.

And yet it might not be. Because as important as being with your friends — your crowd — is to our need for connection, at its base lies an escapist bent. When the line blurs between drinking and partying as just a small part of your life to becoming an integral part of your life, then you’re seeking an escape from a reality you don’t like.

And you don’t like it because you haven’t found what you’re searching for.

Do You Care?

Of course I care! What do you mean?

Ok, did you vote? Did you go to the polls this past November and make a choice? Or are you too school for cool and decided in your perfect wisdom that your vote doesn’t matter and anyway, you’re post political?

Do you see the homeless person on the street in front of you, or are you immune to it? Do you stop and listen when you meet someone, or are you looking over his or her shoulder to see whom else is around? Are you more aware of what is going on in the world of Kardashian then Aleppo?

Because if you didn’t vote, or if you don’t even know what Aleppo is, then you don’t truly care. You’ve become numb to the world outside the one you’ve created. And that works for a while in terms of sheer survival — I get that — but it doesn’t feed the soul.

Did you settle?

At some point, we all have to make the call on this. Is the person on the other side of the bed truly right? Or is he/she good enough? Is the sex just OK? Or is it mind-blowing, please stop baby I think I’m gonna pass out kind of sex. Because if it’s not, then you have to ask yourself just why the fuck you’re doing it in the first place.

Are you satisfying an itch? Decided it was time to have a boyfriend/girlfriend because everyone else has one? Given up after too many bad experiences? Lack the courage to put your heart out there for someone to guard? Feel your biological clock ticking like this? Wanted to cross off a to-do on your mental checklist of things I absolutely need to accomplish by this age?

Or did one sister get married, the other found her forever… and fuck! I have to keep up?

Any two idiots with a bottle of tequila between them can make a fun night…or a baby. But that’s not in any way meaningful; it will only move you further away from what you’re looking for. Each step along the path of settling makes it that much harder to step back.

In any of this, I’m not saying it’s easy. But there’s only one of you. There’s never going to be another. Ever. There’s something divine about that, a Divine Grace as it were.

And that one — your unique heart — will always search for what fits only you. So the question is whether or not you have the courage to not just know that, but to also listen to it, and to follow it. There is no other way to change your world, and by extension, there is no other way to Change Our World.

For the mirror doesn’t lie.

Unless you let it.