The weather is sweltering. I’m bathed in sweat and wishing I had managed to get this written when I bounced out of bed at 5 o’clock this morning rather than waiting until the impossible midday heat to get my brain into gear.
It’s been an interesting 24 hours as I watched myself swing between buoyant optimism in the presence of an inspirational crowd and nervous approval-seeking from the comfort of my living room. It’s an addiction cycle I’m trying to break.
I’m a very feeling-oriented person.
I used to beat myself up for not being able to make rational decisions (I still tie myself in knots trying to choose between lots of ideas) but now I understand that it’s the way I work and I’m learning to use it well.
With the help of Danielle LaPorte (here’s my affiliate link if you want to be nice) I have a list of the feelings I want to feel and these are motivators 100x stronger than any prize you’d care to dangle under my nose.
Money and things rarely keep me excited for long. I remember lusting after an ipod. I mean I really wanted one – they were so sleek and shiny and beautiful and oh-so-simple to use – I’m a sucker for great design. I was so totally and utterly convinced I was going to get one (despite an impossibly strict saving regime) that when I won one in a competition it didn’t even come as a surprise.
The love affair with this ipod lasted a week; then I sold it to a friend.
This wasn’t the first time this has happened and it won’t be the last. I know I need money, for example (I’m certainly sick of going without) but I find it hard to keep my eye on the end goal. I’m learning that it’s the way I want to feel that will make me go for it in the end. I want to feel generous, capable, autonomous, free. Having money – and going the extra mile it takes to earn more than a subsistence wage – helps me achieve the feelings I crave.
But I digress.
Imagine, for example, meeting a person who makes you feel like the most special person in the world. It doesn’t have to be love at first sight; I’m just talking about a person you’ve never met before who is genuinely pleased to see you. Absolutely, authentically, delighted: they don’t just see you, they see inside you and seem to love what they see. This is an awesome feeling; I highly recommend it. You get to bask in a glow of appreciation for the time their attention is turned your way, and you expand.
You Expand: that’s really the only way I can use to describe it.
Then the look ends and you go back to being ordinary, uninteresting, plain old You and you shrink back to your normal size.
Looks like that can hook you, suck you in. They make you feel pretty special; they make you believe you can do anything at all. It’s addictive, that feeling. It’ll leave you wanting more.
The biggest danger is thinking that you can’t do it alone.
I had an absolutely awesome evening yesterday. I woke up inspired by the talks I’d seen and inflated by the conversations I’d had. I’d remembered myself; I could see where I fit; I knew what I wanted to say (I often forget.) Then I spent the morning searching for connections, approval, signs it’s still all OK. I started worrying that the people I met will read my last post and think I’m a nutter.
In other words, I blew it.
Whatever – or whoever – makes you feel amazing has just given you a glimpse of the best of yourself. It’s a powerful gift, but thinking that the person who ignited that feeling is the source of that feeling is the same as thinking money is the thing that will finally set you free. ‘Tain’t true.
Following money for its own sake is a trap. There are too many unhappy millionaires out there for money to be a true source of happiness. But it is highly likely you’ll find happiness when you tap into your natural resources to offer value to the world.
The person who gave you that look may never glance your way again. Waiting to be seen as special (which says you don’t think you’re special) can be a very long wait indeed. Recognizing what is special about yourself and going out of your way to bring that alive can inspire that look from everyone you meet.
The feelings you crave are what make you You. They’re yours.
They don’t come from money any more than they come from other people – you can make them happen at any time.
You never need to look further than you.
In the comments, tell me about your experiences with this. What feelings do you crave and how do you go about getting to feel them?