Tell Me, How Does it Feel?

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How do you want to feel?

Living in a society so focused on WHAT you have or WHAT you experience, it is so hard to realize some of my greatest memories are of feelings, not things. When my daughter was born I didn’t think “Yay, I now possess a human of my very own.” I felt awe mixed with a bit of shock and a pinch of fear. It was the feeling in that moment I remember, not the acquisition of the infant.

When it comes to my personal workspace it is not what I physically have hanging on the walls or my big monitor but rather the experience that brings me joy to work in. For some reason unknown to my conscious mind, I really enjoy industrial/steampunk aesthetic. I can sit at my desk for hours and enjoy the experience of my environment. I could write these same words at the dining room table however my level of joy would not be the same. I have curated my personal space to elicit a specific feeling, far different than what my daughter or wife would want in their personal space.

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For the past few years I have been more drawn to experiences over things. I would rather spend my limited number of monetary units on theater tickets to see Hamilton than the same amount of money for a Canada Goose jacket–which is nice, but living in Cleveland is a bit over the top when it comes to winter weather protection.

My memory of a potential experience (dinner, theater show, night in a downtown hotel) with my wife holds more value to me than a select few people knowing how much my winter coat cost, and in turn giving me a false sense of superiority over my Columbia wearing counterparts. I know how it is I want to feel.

The same holds true with people. I am drawn to people who are naturally positive and are patient enough with me to let me open up slowly. I get very uncomfortable around conflict and chronic complaining. Low self-esteem mixed with social anxiety prevents me from immediately putting myself out there in new social situations. It is safer to feel awkward than to feel disliked, at least in my own mind.

My problem in dealing with perfectionism is that I never feel good enough. Good enough for who? Well, myself of course. I don’t want to feel unworthy, isolated, etc. so I isolate myself a good portion of the time instead.

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So what do I do?

I start by setting realistic expectations rather than holding myself to unrealistic standards.

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