Wanting What We Don’t Have—Part I

It’s very late, and I can’t sleep.

Memorial Candle

Memorial Candle

I’ve spent hours today counseling others who are clinically depressed and anxious at a skilled nursing facility.

One man in his 90’s is in denial, believing he can still fly planes—and drive—and soon he expects to travel the country on his own in a new RV. He yells at his family, “Don’t tell me that I can’t!”

Another woman just wants to go home. “When can I go home?” Her home was sold many years ago.

I’m no different when it comes to wanting what I can’t have. Are you?

It hurts

  • When we can’t have what we want
  • When we can’t do the things we dream of doing
  • When we can’t be who we want to be

Yes, it hurts. And it’s exactly the hurt that we must embrace. There’s no simple way to move to the other side of pain without feeling it.


  1. What specifically do you want that you can’t have today? (e.g., a different career, relationship, lifestyle, etc.)
  2. How do you negatively cope with the hurt of not having what you want? (e.g., overeat, abuse drugs/alcohol, take your pain out on others, etc.)