You Don’t Always Get What You Want But You Get What You Need

“You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need” ~Lyrics from “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (by the Rolling Stones)

“Some people come in our life as blessings. Some come in your life as lessons” ~Mother Teresa

“Sometimes the most important lessons are the ones we end up learning the hard way” ~Kweenzcee

“Always the wrong person gives you the right lesson in life” ~William Shakespeare

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson” ~Tom Bodett

what you need
The Rolling Stones were certainly on to something when they wrote the lyrics to their song. I wonder if they knew they were singing about a Spiritual paradox.

Essential life is driven by wants, so even though we can work really hard to get something we want, we still don’t get it?

The answer is simple really: life is not always about getting what we want. It is really about getting what we need—that is, getting what we need in order to become the person we were meant to be.

This is a really tough concept for many to grasp, to believe or even to trust. It means having to accept what life delivers to us and then figure out what it means with respect to our own personal growth. If we find we keep getting the same things delivered, then it means we haven’t yet learned the lesson.

Let’s look at a few areas in life for example.


No matter how hard you try to get ahead you can‘t seem to get that promotion or raise you have been wanting. Maybe you haven’t learned to speak up for yourself, stand up for yourself, promote yourself, believe in yourself, apply yourself, or trust in yourself. So as much as you say you want the promotion on the outside, on the inside you are full of self-doubt and have a different desire and that is the desire to remain small. This can be a tough lesson in building self-esteem.


You try and try to attract the right person and time and time again you end up with someone who is emotionally unavailable, abusive, disrespectful, disloyal, or even all of these things.

Maybe you don’t truly feel worthy of any more than this. You come from an abusive background and have not healed from your past. So even though you claim you want someone to love you and treat you with kindness, deep down inside you don’t believe you can truly have it and you don’t even give it to yourself. Your lesson may be in learning to love yourself the way you want to be loved.


Year after year you can’t seem to get out of debt, no matter how much you try. There always seems to be something you need to have and you can’t control yourself. Maybe you are trying to fill a void in your heart with shopping.

Maybe you haven’t learned how to manage your money and need help but are too proud to ask for it. Maybe you are too afraid to look at your finances and create a budget for yourself. The lessons around money can be many; there is no shortage of them. Very few people escape money lessons.


This is a tough one for many people. No one needs to get sick or get a disease, and I do not wish ill health on anyone. Sometimes however the lessons with respect to health can be very tough. Our bodies are constantly trying to teach us to clean up our act; eat better, get more exercise, sleep more, or even heal our emotional wounds. Yet, these messages get ignored again and again until they can no longer be ignored because a serious health issue arises.

Try shifting your perspective on life to see whatever is happening to you is actually happening for you. This is a shift from being a victim to being empowered. There is no power in ignoring the lessons life has to teach us but there is incredible power in learning them. Next time you feel you are not getting what you want, ask yourself what it is you need to learn.

See if you can look at your life with respect to your wants. See if you are getting what you want out of life in all areas: health, relationships, career, finances, family, friends, social life, and home environment. If you are not getting what you want, then take the time to see what you are getting and ask yourself what it is you need to learn from your current circumstance. The lesson is there and you may have to dig for it by journaling, seeking support, or meditating. Keep asking, and the answer will come.

These are some of the ingredients in life’s lessons that make for a great person and a great life:

  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Forgiveness
  • Self-love
  • Generosity
  • Unconditional love
  • Courage
  • Tolerance
  • Kindness
  • Respect
  • Trust
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