“If it makes you happy…it can’t be that bad.” or so Sheryl Crow says.
Am I calling forth my inner hedonist? Steak dinners with my favorite Malbec. Massages. Chilling out by the beach. Celebrating with friends. Being lazy. Doing what I feel like.
“If it makes you happy…then why are you so sad?” the song continues.
Do you know what makes you feel good–really? Maybe you should find out. I can guarantee that it has very little to do with unbridled self-indulgence–as Ms. Crow also seems to grasp. And it will never be realized by being lazy and just catering to my whims at any given moment. I’m not talking about what I feel like doing. I’m talking about doing what makes me feel good.
What I am talking about is spending more of my time doing those things that lead to personal balance, peace, happiness, and fulfillment. I think it is easy in our grueling world to get completely carried along by the rivers of necessity–the things that I must do to survive–that it takes a great amount of purpose and effort to go in any other direction. I realized that I have been doing a lot of that–just being overwhelmed by life and trying to keep my head above water. I have been doing relatively little of what makes me feel good.
Now, I want to take this whole concept out of the ethereal and bring it down to the real world. I am going to talk about what makes me personally feel good.
I love to create. My artistic skills are limited (or pretty much non-existent). I have family members–wife, daughters, mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law, even my own brother–who have talents in fine arts that completely elude me. Drawing a line with a ruler is about as far as I go.
I have had the pleasure of partnering with my wife and daughters to build things with wood. We have made a huge island in our kitchen. We built an extraordinary deck in our backyard to accommodate our daughter’s wedding. These projects have given me much satisfaction and accomplishment–even though I could have never created them myself. By teaming with those more talented than myself, I got to be a part of something beautiful. This is a big lesson for me, because I have never been much of a team player. “I can do it myself!”
My creative talents are more verbal. I can write. And when I do, it is like parts of my mind open up and I feel alive. There is something healing and invigorating about getting something our of my soul and expressed with the written word. Composing, however, does not always come easily for me. I am a bit ADD, and sometimes my mind gets impatient with the level of work it takes to create with the written word. Nevertheless, when I take the time to express myself in writing, I do not regret it.
(As an aside, I am experiencing this whole partnership thing with writing as well. My wife, Shonnie, who is also a very capable writer, and I are collaborating on a book. We have talked about it for years, but never pulled ourselves together to do it. Now, we are. I am very excited about this project, and more than a little nervous, but I believe we are going to get there. This and the other creative things we have done together has opened my eyes to something that REALLY makes me feel good–creating something beautiful as a partner with my wife!)
As another verbal talent–I love public speaking. It is what I studied in college. Oratory is my drug of choice. While most people would rather have a root canal than have to deliver a speech, I would rather give that speech than do almost anything else. I think it excites a high level of focus for me. Not to mention that I am a ham who loves attention. By the responses I get, I think my audiences enjoy themselves too. If you have an event you could use a motivational speaker for…I am your man!
I am going to hit on a couple more really quickly.
I love selling for my business–it makes my thinking come alive about what I do. I think I really like the fact that every sales call can possibly lead to something life-changing, and I never really know which one it will be.
I love bike-riding, weight-lifting, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, and all manner of physical activity. It makes me feel good physically and calms my inner turmoil.
I love reading. (Yes, I am aware that I redundantly keep saying “I love,” but I do, and I want you to see the point. Do you see it?) Self-help, devotional, business management and development, sales, and good fiction. I love to read. I love to learn. I love a good story. I love to expand my thinking. Reading gives these things to me.
Ok, so you get the idea. The things that make me feel good are not hedonistic. Rather, they tap into gifts that I have and the deep need to give expression to them. These tasks are not easy, and definitely do not come about by giving in to hedonism or laziness. But they actually make me feel good–all over.
So…what makes YOU feel good, really?