The danger of believing that we can have it all

By Nina Steele 

I love my life and I am immensely grateful for it. I am originally from the Ivory Coast and moving to the UK has changed my life in a way that I never anticipated. Not only have I met the love of my life but also, this country has given me the chance to better myself and become somebody.

For example, I was able to do a degree in business with International Development as a mature student and graduated last year. I have a roof above my head, I am able to eat anything I want and my husband and I are blessed with good health.

I remember the time when I was still in the Ivory Coast and living on the university campus. I was so hard up one time that the only thing I could afford to eat was a pack of crisps. How things have changed! This is why I love this country so much, for it has saved me from a life of constant hardship and worry, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

I became aware of the notion that you can have it all once I moved to this country. It is a concept that is obviously alien to the majority of people living in the developing World, except of course for those at the very top of society.

Having it all is the perfect life that we often see in the movies. The perfect house, the children, the husband/wife, the car, the holidays to name but these few. Having children is obviously a big part if not the central part of this picture perfect ideal, and so imagine the panic of many couples when they find out that they are unable to have children. And this is how it felt at first for me.

I am quite keen on personal development and growth and believe strongly that we make our own life and as far as I am concerned, I can manifest anything that I want. And so, I believed strongly at the time that as I wanted children, I was bound to have them, at least one. What I did not realise then was that we each have a path and that for some, that path will include children while for others it will not. The idea that you can have it all blinded me to that reality.

The notion that you could be happy and fulfilled without children was very alien to me. It is now looking back that I can see clearly that I was just buying into that ideal. Living in a child centric world, the idea that all paths should include children, is quite ingrained in most of us and it takes a lot of soul searching to finally realise that this ideal is actually flawed. We cannot all have children and it is perfectly fine.

Having it all I have come to realise, is just a fantasy life that the majority of people do not live. We all have different purposes in life and the universe will ensure that we take whatever path that is necessary for us to grow into the people that we are meant to grow into. Which is why the notion that we can have it all is so dangerous.

It is dangerous because it implies that all human lives follow one path when the reality points to the contrary. It also dictates what people are meant to have in their lives in order for them to be happy, thus implying that we are not in charge of our own lives, when in reality we are.

The reason why it took me 9 years to realise that I already had everything that life could offer, was in great part because I did buy into that notion. Fortunately, I was able to realise this and make adjustments to my life accordingly. But not everyone is so lucky, and society is full of people still trying to have it all.

Our life is what we make of it, not what we are told we should look for in order to be happy. Having it all is a fallacy and the sooner people realise this the better.


  1. Having it all is a media creation, unfortunately many people have bought into it. Is there such thing as the perfect life? I don’t believe that there is. We were made to believe that rich and famous people had the perfect life, until stories of their dysfunctional lives started to come out.

  2. What saddens me the most is to see people who on paper should be grateful for the life they have, yet are deeply unhappy because they think they should have more than they already have. Yes it is a media construct, however, what about personal responsibility? After all, we are responsible for our own lives, not the media.

  3. moonaj10 says

    I suppose that when you are born in the West your expectations of life become greater and often we forget how lucky we are compared to people in other parts of the world. We expect to have it all and don’t see anything wrong with it until we realise that actually we cannot have it all. I have learnt to be grateful for what I have and travelling abroad has definitely helped.

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