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On Goals

You have to have goals, they say. They, the architects of convenient platitudes that become false measures of our self worth.

There is something, however, that they forget to tell us, or perhaps that they don’t even know.

The end result, the goal, is just one part of the equation.

This simple truth resides in almost everyone’s awareness.

Yeah, yeah, life is a journey, not a destination. I get it.

But many people don’t.

They treat this truth the way they treat compliments.

Tell someone that, for example, they are beautiful or smart or kind or talented, and nine times out of ten you’ll get a thanks that sounds more like a brush off.  When someone gives me that brush off "thank you," I realize something about them.

Somewhere deep inside, regardless of how confident they appear, this person believes that sadness, rejection and loss are the only real truths. They believe that when I point out that they are beautiful, smart, kind and talented that it's only because they have me fooled. Furthermore, they want to believe that the people who diminish and deride them are the one’s who know the real truth.

They know the truth that we should all love ourselves, yet they cannot live it.

But I digress. I was talking about achievement and goals.

We know the truth that this goal or the next one we set does not define us. It cannot. Because most often, when we reach one goal, we are already setting our sights upon the next.

Know that the essence of who you are is not so fleeting. It is more permanent than that.

We tell ourselves that it’s about the journey and then we cry metaphorical or real tears of frustration when we don’t make it to the destination within the time frame or in the exact way that we envisioned.

This is our human condition. We know the truth, but we forget to live it.

We must grow in worthiness before we realize our desires. We must embrace the state of becoming that is required of us before we arrive at the destination we’ve selected.

Growth is often painful and terribly unpleasant, but necessary.

If you were who you needed to be in order to have what you want, you would already have what you want.

That’s so important, I’m going to write it again.

If you were who you needed to be in order to have what you want, you would already have what you want.

Don’t forget that it’s not where you’re going that makes you who you are, it’s the getting there that does.

Don’t you give up.

Don’t you stop trying.


Reader Comments (48)

If I may make a book suggestion (and I will):

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteradnan.

I've heard that journey bit before, and I think what stopped me from really "getting" it was that the idea of a journey is bigger than "right now", and so it's hard to hold on to when "right now" sucks.

One thing I've found myself saying a lot lately is that the best we can do is focus on the next right step. It occurs to me on reading this that it is steps that make up a journey.

Maybe I just needed to think even smaller.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

"If you were who you needed to be in order to have what you want, you would already have what you want."

Oh my.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFinn

When it comes to getting compliments, there are 2 reasons for what seems like a brush off. Either the person gets so many of them they don't fully appreciate the compliment. The other is more like myself, they come so infrequently that it is unknown how to handle it. The sentiment for someone that gets few means more than you could know at that moment and how to express that gratitude is not fully understood.

Growth that you speak of is very difficult. The rewards though, are wonderful.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

While I agree with what you've said (and it is a great post, btw), I have to challenge your assertion that the cursory "thank you" to a compliment is rooted in a lack of self-love. Instead, I think it is based - at least in part - on society's insistence that we are all equals and that pride is something to be ashamed of: that humility cannot share the stage with self-worth.

But maybe that's just me.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

I have this weird mixture of confidence and complete untrust of any compliment I get from pretty much anyone. I hate being told I'm cute or smart, because I usually think, "They just don't know me well enough", and yet - I absolutely like (most of the time) who I am as a person.
But you're right, as usual.
Damn you, Miss Rightypants! :)

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

Yup. I am who I need to be in order to get what I want. I just never put it in words till just now. Thanks sister. That was really awesome.

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Sugarpants

Holy crap! Faiqa, seriously, this is some of the best writing I've ever seen here.

I'll have what you're having!!!!

Also? One of the best parts of getting a little older is that you finally GET that the journey is the point of it all, and you kind of relax a little more, look around a little more, and enjoy the scenery.

Um. Usually. :)

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNanna

I tell C almost every time she is frustrated that we aren't yet where she wants us to be, "I have learned to be content in wherever I find myself."

Part of this is my 'fake it, til you make it' mode, but the other part is real. After everything in the last year, if I were not content, I would just lay down and cry every day. I never imagined I'd be 35 and without my Daddy. I never imagined there would be so much left unsaid after he was gone, but there is. And so...I will keep plodding along, sometimes slowly and I will enjoy my journey. Because without that, I would be miserable every day.Thank you for your words, they mean the world sometimes!

January 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Yes well, someone in this comment box sure needed to read this post. Ahem. Who me?

I am really good at accepting compliments but that was a journey in itself. Despite my many flaws, when someone praises a positive attribute of mine, be it physical or internal, I smile bit and say "THANKS!". I mean that too. I like compliments and you will never see me shy away from them, haha.

That being said, I am terrible and remembering the journey and have to force that way of thinking down my throat over and over again. My problem is that I compare my journey with others when I should fully remember that I've always danced to a different drummer and that it's OKAY to be where I am even though it may not be perfect.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHilly

I read this last night on my phone, so I couldn't comment...but it was definitely something I needed to hear (or rather, read). Thank you for writing it!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastica

@adnan., I've read a lot of books that were informed by Fromm, but haven't read anything actually by him. I think now is the time... added to my reading list, thank you!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Miss Britt, Maybe. I also meant somewhere in the subtext of this post that we assign meaning to each moment, each step, as well.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Finn, See. That's why I wrote it twice.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Hockeymandad, They are. And my assumptions about why people don't accept compliments are most likely rooted in my own experiences and outlook, so there's that.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@SciFi Dad, I shouldn't presume as to why a person isn't accepting of a compliment, everyone has their own reasons, I guess. I do concede that there probably are a number of people who do the brush off for the reasons that you've mentioned, but I think a large number of people also do it out of an intrinsic disbelief, as well. But, you bring up a good point, which leads me to believe that I shouldn't assume why people do what they do unless they've blatantly stated it.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Sybil Law, I think I'm going to change my name to Miss Rightypants Khan. I like the sound of that.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Karen Sugarpants, You're welcome, and it is so good to see these words, "I am who I need to be in order to get what I want."

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Nanna,Sometimes, the best we can do is "usually"... I'm wary of people who say "always" and "never" anyway.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Becca, You're welcome. I don't know if we can always enjoy the journey. Sometimes, there's solace in realizing that life is a collection of moments and that if we're in a horrible moment, we know that it will pass. I'm glad that you choose to be happy and content throughout your trials, this is a truly admirable and courageous thing.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Hilly, When I think of how a person should behave when they're complimented, you're one of the first people that come to mind. You are very gracious about it, as people should be. As for the journey, I think it's hard to accept for many people that their emotional state is a natural consequence of the choices that they make. This gets clouded because there is so much that we cannot control in our lives, actions that others take that affect us, but that we had nothing to do with. But, we have to remember that our true power lies in our reaction.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Sarcastica, You're very welcome.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

So true! It is all about the journey! I often forget to stop and celebrate goals because the completion of them is not the part that is important to me. Like you said, it is often very important to others.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlecia

@Faiqa, Good thinking.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFinn

@SciFi Dad, You know what? I think you're right. At least that's how it is for me. I feel like I should be saying, "You're just saying that," but instead I just say "thank you."

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFinn

@Faiqa, Yeah me too

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNanna

i linked you
with no props to myself
this is just important for everyone to read
i think of it as a public service

thank you for sharing it

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjustsomethoughts

Great written piece, but WHAT? No pictures?! (LOL! Just funning!)

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSparkleFarkle

@Alecia, Hmm, that is food for thought... I think I do the same. I've never been one for graduation parties or the like, and I think it's for the reason you've addressed here. But, those moments of accomplishment probably deserve their due, as well.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@justsomethoughts, You're welcome, and thank you for passing it along.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa
January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Over from Just Some Thoughts and WOW. Glad I was referred.

I've added you to my blog roll.


January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPearl

omg, thank you for posting this. i started reading this thinking "wow this person really gets it" and ended up learning something new by the end. again, thank you.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentervencora

That was a great post.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaptain Dumbass

great post. growth hurts, but so does staying where we are at.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbrian miller

@Pearl, Well, thank you!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@vencora, That's exactly what I was hoping the reaction would be, thank you for letting me know.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Captain Dumbass, Thanks!

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@brian miller, Well said.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

Here from justsomethoughts, glad I followed the link...

Yes, exactly.

I have had a problem accepting genuine compliments for years, because I was defining myself too much by the expectations of others as to what I was meant to be. However, life is a dynamic reality...and love from the right source can radically alter one's self perception.

Love is what happened to me. I am blessed, and I am getting better at taking compliments in the Now.

Great post.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Gumbo

I'm looking forward to my next few steps, and many times I've let the idea of the goal eclipse the rewards of getting there in the first place. No longer.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

@Irish Gumbo, Yes, I think that, like you, I was blessed to experience "love from the right source," as well. It's amazing how that experience can heal almost anything and push us forward in awareness.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Avitable, This is best news I've heard in weeks. Months, maybe. I'm really excited for you.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

“If you were who you needed to be in order to have what you want, you would already have what you want.”

I had to read that several times, because it is so big and so amazing and so true.

When I set goals for myself, I expect myself to get there. Sometimes, when I don't get where I wanted to be, I feel as if I have failed. But lately I've come to realize that it's not about completing the goal, it's about trying. That action, the trying, has made me grow in so many ways, so many times.

This was a beautiful post.

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Kaylene

So much to think about after reading this. Thank you ~

January 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarla Hansen

I occasionally feel that I should start a campaign to build a temple devoted to your wisdom, and beauty. :)
I can't get over how many of your posts speak to me on such a profound level.

Thank you for this - so much to think about here.

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPrincess of the Universe

Oof. Well said.

I'm a total brusher-offer. But I'm working on it.

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKarl

"This is our human condition. We know the truth but we forget to live it."
That is as profound as “If you were who you needed to be in order to have what you want, you would already have what you want.” They are both being etch-a-sketched onto my heart right now. Careful, don't shake me...I don't want to lose it.

February 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSue

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