About the Author
Kimberly Kirberger is the coauthor of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, Chicken Soup for the College Soul,
and Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul.
In addition, she is the author of the Teen Love series, which includes Teen Love: On Relationships; Teen Love: A Journal on Relationships; Teen Love: On Friendship and Teen Love: A Journal on Friendship.
She is also president of Inspiration And Motivation for Teens, Inc. (I.A.M. for Teens), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and helping teens, and cofounder of the Teen Letter Project, a nonprofit organization developed to handle the overwhelming outpouring from teens in response to the books in the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul series.Jesse Kirberger
is a happy twenty-two-year-old. He plays guitar, sings, writes, and makes people laugh; really laugh. He also flips sausages, cleans buildings, serves a mean Italian ice, and can make the most incredible guitar you have ever seen or heard. Jesse is wise beyond his years and humane to a fault.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
hen we are born and take our first breath, we separate from our mother and from perfect
happiness for the first time. We cry because we are suddenly cast into a world where we feel things like coldness, heat, hunger, and thirst; thus, we feel uncomfortable.
Someone―–usually our mother―–feeds us, holds us, loves us, and releases us from our discomfort. It is one of our earliest experiences of happiness in this new and frightening world. When our needs have been met, we relax and are able to rest peacefully. . . .
Until . . .
We find ourselves uncomfortable again. This time, we want more than food. We want to be dry, we want a comfortable bed, and we want someone to hold us and sing us to sleep.
As time goes by, the list grows longer. As we expand our experience of the world around us, we also expand our list of wants and needs. At some point, we lose touch with what it is we want and what it is that we need. These feelings of discomfort and emptiness become so commonplace that they don't stand out anymore. Most of us begin to accept the yearning and emptiness as just a normal part of being human.
Since we can't find that perfect peace we once felt on the inside, we begin seeking distraction from our yearning on the outside: something, anything, that will hold our attention well enough to keep us from feeling the emptiness. We become so good at distracting ourselves from the pain that we eventually forget that's what we're doing. Before long, we start to feel the pain we have so cleverly hidden from ourselves, and we believe someone else must be causing it. It can't be our pain because we were fine until so and so came along and said this and that. We become quite skilled at placing the blame for our different kinds of pain on other people. We become so skilled that we forget the pain started inside of us.
From this point, there are two potential directions we can go with our lives and how we pursue what we want and need:
- Continue our lives, never noticing that we aren't happy and therefore not really ever asking what we want or what we need to be happy.
- Intuitively knowing something is missing, we dedicate ourselves to finding what it is. We happily assume the responsibility for returning ourselves to the peaceful and joyful person we once were.
It's important to begin thinking about what we want our lives to look like. Up until this point, many of us thought life was something that just happened to us. But once we begin to see how much our thoughts, intentions, and actions play into the outcome of our day, as well as how we feel about our lives in general, it is easy for us to reassume responsibility and participate.
We realize it is up to us to decide what kind of life we want, to set goals, and then do what we need to do to achieve them.
©2009. Kimberly Kirberger, Jesse Kirberger. All rights reserved. Reprinted from I don't know what I want but I want to be happy. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442