Make a List

If you made up a list of all the adjectives that described how you like to feel, what would you write down? Would your list be long? Could most of the words be placed into categories? Could you put the list in order of importance? How many of those words would require other people? Can you think of examples for each of them from the past? Do you know how to access them in the present?

I’m not so much talking about long term goals like “content with my life” or detailed things like “tired from skiing.” I’m referring to specific (though often complex) feelings like “intelligent,” “energized,” “funny,” or even “attractive” and “loved.” Whatever it is that that makes you happy…can you list these?

Never before have I made such a list, but I recommend at least thinking about it. Life isn’t just about degrees of happiness or levels of achievement. It’s a product of specific feelings that are ever-present, resulting from particular causes in the here-and-now. These are some applications of my questions to the adjectives above:

intelligent – feeling like I know what’s going on, perhaps because people are listening to me or because my writing is coming out how want. I feel intelligent when I debate philosophy (sometimes ;)) or when I post things to this site.energized – feeling like I have energy to act, with muscle or with words. I feel energized in the middle of a basketball game or in a heated discussion.funny – feeling like I’m humorous, and in a good way. I feel funny when I tell a joke or make a sarcastic remark.

attractive – this speaks for itself. I feel attractive when people compliment me, either with words or on the dance floor…and I can also feel this way when I dress up.

loved – this is a tricky one, but I feel like this when people greatly appreciate my actions, say so, and reciprocate. It’s more than just appreciation, it’s about trust and confidence. I have someone that makes me feel this way a lot…

These are just a few examples from a hypothetical list. With these descriptions in mind, it should be clear that I don’t want just lots of the same. I need to have discussions, to work out, to be around Kim, to dress up, and to place myself in settings conducive to all these feelings. Certainly there are other ways I want to feel, and of course there are ways to access them, as well.

There are other things some want to feel that aren’t so obvious, like being depended on, being challenged, or having freedom. I can’t tell you what your list should contain, but I’m sure there are things you desire that aren’t in your life as much as they should. And this can apply to other, more specific settings: what do you want to feel from relationships? jobs? relatives?

If you feel like there’s something missing, maybe you should give it a try. We don’t need to be Renaissance men, but we do need to recognize the emotions that will make ourselves happy, so that we can access them…What do you have to lose? It’s important to feel sexy every once in a while : ).

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