Much of life is about avoiding trying to have your cake and eat it. Trying to reconcile things that cannot be reconciled, or trying to separate things that cannot be separated. In other words, trying do the impossible.
More common that you might think
And, life is full of such situations where you feel the urge to have your cake and eat it. Where you want to have a certain desirable thing, without another undesirable thing. Only, that the latter is inherent. It is automatically present within the former, such that to have one, is to have the other.
For example, you cannot have the freedom to be your own boss, without the risks of being independent. People may complain about their jobs and not having control over their time, but few are willing to embrace self-employment.
The same goes for wanting high quality without paying for it. Wanting responsibility without accountability, wisdom without self-exploration, pleasure without pain, positive without negative, or life without death. All this is trying to have your cake and eat it. It is like wanting to have ‘up’ without ‘down’ or ‘in’ without ‘out’. It simply cannot be done, so why tie yourself up in knots?
Noticing when you are trying to have your cake and eat it
By recognising the nature of reality and what is at play, you then empower yourself to live better. By clearly seeing the contradictions in your own desires, you can begin to explore if there is a contradiction in how you relate to other matters and to life itself.
For, if you do not see the contradictions within what you want, how will you ever find contentment? How can you avoid an endless struggle that arises out of simply trying to do the impossible?
The first step is in simply becoming awake to yourself and if you are trying to have your cake and eat it. This is the path of self-knowledge.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.