wantThank you Maria Popova of BrainPickings for your introduction to the British psychoanalyst & writer Marion Milner. If you haven’t yet subscribed to BrainPicking’s weekly email, you may want to consider doing so. Lot’s of food for thought there.

Every day we are barraged from every angle with ideas about what we are supposed to want and how we are supposed to be. This makes it far easier to avoid considering our true heart’s desire than it is to do the hard, introspective work of self-discovery. According to Marion Milner writing under the nom de plume Joanna Field in 1934:

“What is really easy, as I found, is to blind one’s eyes to what one really likes, to drift into accepting one’s wants ready-made from other people, and to evade the continual day to day sifting of values.”

Like my Uncle Ben used to say, “Nothing changes very much, and hardly anything changes at all.” Although technology has altered our lives drastically, we humans continue to wrestle with the same fundamental choice nearly 100 years after Milner described this dynamic:

Adapt to the societal cues we are offered and ignore our own internal compass, or

Follow the harder path of self-discovery and pursue our own meaning in the world.

No one knows which path you have chosen but you. No one knows your struggle but you. Don’t let anyone else define your meaning. Allow what you truly want to be enough for you.