Discovering Your Authentic Desires and Cultivating Personal Growth


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 30, 2023

3 min read


Discovering Your Authentic Desires and Cultivating Personal Growth


Understanding our desires is a complex endeavor that goes beyond mere wants and needs. Desires, unlike needs, are intellectual appetites that stem from a sense of lacking, whether real or perceived. They are a social process influenced by the people and culture around us. This article explores the nature of desires, their origins, and provides actionable advice on how to identify and cultivate authentic desires.

1. The Mimetic Nature of Desire:

Desire, as philosopher RenΓ© Girard observed, is a mimetic process. We are naturally drawn to want what others want. This tendency can lead to unnecessary competition and rivalry, fueling status anxiety. Recognizing the influence of both internal and external models of desire is crucial in understanding our own desires. Internal models include friends, family, and acquaintances, while external models encompass celebrities and media influences. Social media occupies a unique space, blurring the line between the two. Being aware of these influences helps us navigate our desires more consciously.

2. Mapping Out the Systems of Desire:

To gain critical distance from the dominant desires that shape our lives, we must map out the systems of desire we are embedded in. This entails identifying the specific models influencing our desires and considering the systems we have been a part of since childhood. By understanding the history of our desires, we can distinguish between mimetic and un-mimetic desires. While mimetic desires are influenced by external factors, un-mimetic desires arise from personal experiences and deeply rooted values. Taking ownership of our desires allows us to cultivate intentional choices.

3. The Power of Creative Freedom:

While we may not be the sole authors of our desires, we have the ability to put our mark of authorship on them through creative freedom. Italian entrepreneur Ferruccio Lamborghini's desire to compete with Enzo Ferrari showcases the transformative power of rivalry in shaping desires. By recognizing the desires we genuinely want to own and cultivate, irrespective of their mimetic origins, we can become authors of new creations. This anti-mimetic approach frees us from following desires without examining their origins, enabling us to pursue meaningful aspirations.

Actionable Advice:

  • Reflect on the people who influence your desires and consider their impact on your aspirations. Surround yourself with individuals who align with your values and inspire personal growth.
  • Take a critical look at the desires cultivated by the people you follow. Assess whether they align with your authentic aspirations and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Embrace the power of wonder and remain open to surprises. Avoid excessive concern with others and focus on cultivating your own desires based on your underlying values.


Understanding our desires is a multifaceted journey that requires introspection and awareness of external influences. By recognizing the mimetic nature of desire and mapping out the systems that shape our aspirations, we can take ownership of our desires and cultivate intentional choices. Embracing creative freedom and a focus on personal growth allows us to become authors of our own desires, leading to a more fulfilling and authentic life. Remember, true happiness can be found right where you are, right now, if you cultivate your desires with intentionality and align them with your values.

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