The Intricacies of Human Desires and Aspirations: A Psychological Exploration

Understanding the Complexity of Human Aspirations

How, Where, and What is the intricate interplay between desires, aspirations, and intentions? The multifaceted nature of these terms often leads to a diverse array of meanings, each holding a unique significance for individuals. Some remain as mere figments of imagination, while others evolve into plans and objectives that, once achieved, have the power to reshape both our reality and ourselves.

The Psychology of Dreams: A Gestalt Perspective

Renowned gestalt therapist, Andrey Ryzhov, emphasizes the ethereal nature of dreams. “Dreams can exist on the level of ideas, concepts, fantasies, earning them the labels of ‘beautiful’ or ‘unattainable,'” he notes. On the other hand, desires possess a higher potential for realism. However, their realization is not guaranteed unless they stem from an internal need rather than external pressures.

At times, desires manifest in response to external events, aiding us in adapting to new circumstances.

Personal Narratives: The Driving Force Behind Desires

“I hesitated for a long time to get my driver’s license, although I often fantasized about driving myself,” reflects Alina, a 42-year-old mother. “My husband used to be the one behind the wheel. However, after my son was born, I realized the necessity of having a car, especially with the daycare a few bus stops away. Every morning, the instructor and I would drive my son to daycare in a car with the letter ‘U.'”

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For Alina, this experience was a double stress—her fear of driving coupled with the added responsibility of having her son in the car. Yet, through the process of learning to drive, she gained a newfound sense of freedom. Over the past 15 years, she has been driving across Russia and renting cars abroad, deriving immense pleasure from it. Alina acknowledges her son’s daycare as the catalyst that transformed her from a pedestrian into a confident driver.

Desires as Precursors to the Future: The Transformation into Goals

We often fantasize about various aspects of life—possessions, skills, and even envisioning alternative versions of ourselves. However, for these aspirations to materialize, there must be that essential “personal desire,” as referenced in folklore.

“Desires become precursors to the future when they transform into goals,” asserts cognitive-behavioral therapist Denis Dmitriev. “Following this transformation, we require an action plan, the motivation to execute the plan, and the necessary resources.”

Achieving these elements often leads to a sense of satisfaction and positive change, as witnessed in Alina’s story. However, not every success story culminates in happiness.

The Pitfalls of Pursuing External Expectations

“In the modern era of ‘achievementism,’ many set goals, achieve results, yet some, particularly during the midlife crisis, find themselves lacking happiness despite having it all—spouse, business, career, children, wealth,” observes Andrey Ryzhov.

One reason for this dissatisfaction lies in misdirected desires. The sentiment of “living someone else’s life” is a common theme brought to therapists’ offices.

A Legacy of Dreams: Fulfilling a Father’s Wish

“We were very close with my father,” shares Ilya, a 41-year-old man. “We often traveled to the Tver region, where there were many forested rivers. We fished, camped, lived in tents, and sometimes stayed at his friends’ houses in the countryside. My father would talk about how, one day, we would have our own house by the Tver river.”

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When I was 19, my father unexpectedly passed away. I decided that I needed to fulfill his dream, even in his absence. I began saving for a dacha, our place of memories. It was more than just a desire; it was a commitment to my father’s legacy.”

The Transformative Power of Personal History

Desires rooted in personal experiences and family history often become driving forces for goal attainment. Ilya’s aspiration transcended a mere wish for a house; it became a profound connection between past and present, linking generations within his family.

In understanding the intricate dynamics of dreams, desires, and aspirations, it becomes evident that their realization goes beyond a mere checklist of achievements. It involves the alignment of personal values, motivations, and the fulfillment of one’s truest self.


Navigating the realms of desires and dreams requires a nuanced approach, recognizing the power they hold in shaping our lives. Whether stemming from personal experiences or responding to external circumstances, aspirations become transformative when they evolve into meaningful goals. The key lies in fostering a genuine connection between our desires, actions, and the narratives that define us.


How do dreams differ from desires?

Dreams often exist on the level of ideas, concepts, and fantasies, characterized by their ethereal and imaginative nature. Desires, on the other hand, possess a higher potential for realism and may manifest as responses to internal needs or external events.

Where can external pressures influence our desires?

External pressures can shape desires when they become responses to societal expectations or norms. In Alina’s case, the need for a driver’s license arose not only from personal desire but also from the external demand to adapt to the responsibilities of motherhood and societal expectations.

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What is the transformative power of personal history in shaping desires?

Personal history, especially family experiences, can serve as a powerful motivator for goal attainment. Ilya’s commitment to fulfilling his father’s dream of owning a house by the Tver river showcases how desires rooted in personal history can become a driving force for meaningful objectives.

When does a desire become a precursor to the future?

A desire transforms into a precursor to the future when it evolves into a concrete goal. Cognitive-behavioral therapist Denis Dmitriev emphasizes that this transformation requires a well-defined action plan, motivation, and necessary resources for successful realization.

To what extent can misdirected desires lead to dissatisfaction?

Misdirected desires, driven by external expectations rather than genuine internal needs, can result in dissatisfaction. Andrey Ryzhov notes that the pursuit of goals that align with societal norms but not with personal values may lead to a sense of “living someone else’s life.”

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1 Comment

  1. I always wondered about the connection between desires and goals. This article nailed it.

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