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I see that usually, people focus more on not being unhappy than on actually being happy. Do we really question our happiness? Or do we just tick boxes and assume that’s what happiness feels like? I don’t know. What I do know, is that it didn’t work for me.
So, as I do, I started reading books. Lots of them. But the one that stood out to me was “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte. One of the few books I think that can really change lives.
Because it doesn’t focus on actions or accomplishments. It doesn’t focus on to-do lists and material items. It focuses on our core desired feelings.
How to be happy
“Core desired feelings?” You ask. “Yes,” I say. “Core Desired Feelings.”
The way that you, deep down inside, really want to feel.
Danielle argues (and I agree) that everything we do, we do because we think it will lead us to happiness. We think a donut for breakfast will make us feel good. Living in that neighbourhood will make us feel happy. Running a marathon will make us happy. Getting that promotion, getting the perfect body, having a perfectly clean house with freshly baked treats on the kitchen counter.
You write things on your to-do list that you think will make you happy. We write things down and think that when we check those boxes, then we will be happy. But does it truly work like that? It seems like we’re always trying to achieve the next thing that should make us happy. We got caught up in the rat race, trying to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But what do you know, rainbows are a circle.
What are Core Desired Feelings?
Your core desired feelings are a couple of words (feelings) that represent how you want to feel in your life. For example, you might want to feel powerful, loving, generous, adventurous, free, inspired, energetic, awakened, calm, present, etcetera.
The important thing is that this is how you want to feel on the inside. So you have to focus on what you really want, and not what others want you to feel, nor how you want others to see you. Wanting to be seen as generous is not the same as wanting to feel generous.
So instead of starting with the things we do that will hopefully make us feel a certain way, Danielle argues we should start figuring out how we want to feel, and then take action.
Now before we dive into the core desired feelings, I want to go over the choices we make. Trust me, this is really important and relevant.
Because the truth is….
Almost everything in our lives is the result of a choice you made. And the sooner you realize this is true, the sooner you can use those choices to change your life.
You can then make sure that the choices you make align with the Core Desired Feelings you have established for yourself.
Whenever you have a choice to make, no matter how small, think of the option that is closest aligned to your Core Desired Feelings. Even if you only ask yourself this for only 70% of your decisions, your life can change a lot in only a short amount of time.
Why they change your life
So figuring out your Core Desired Feelings can help you live your life aligned with your values and your purpose. They can influence every single choice you make. And the choices you make today, create your life for tomorrow and the future.
Imagine one of your core desired feelings is to feel fit. This would affect the things you get at the grocery store. What you eat at work for lunch. What you snack on. What time you get up, and whether you work out on any given day. You can see how asking this one question, “Will this make me feel fit” can impact your whole life.
You can see those feelings as easy guidelines for your life. You can keep them with you wherever you go. Put them on a card in your wallet, a sticky note on your mirror or as the background on your phone. And for as many things as possible, ask yourself whether they will help you get aligned with your Core Desired Feelings.
Now, this is not about perfection. You don’t have to act in line with the 100% of the time and realistically, you can’t. Like I said, even if you only manage 70% of the time it can cause a big shift in your thinking pattern and your life.
How to find yours
Finding your Core Desired Feelings is not difficult, but you might need some time. I’m not going to lay down all the details, because I really recommend you get the book. Danielle dives deep into them and provides you with all the information you need, as well as some examples. But here are the main takeaways.
- Ask yourself “How do I want to feel?”
- Write down everything that comes up.
- Consider all of them carefully. Look them up in the dictionary. Are there any that seem similar? Some that maybe don’t feel quite right? Or ones that come from a place of external validation instead of your own heart?
- If one of the words doesn’t feel right but it’s kind of what you want, try a thesaurus to see if there is an alternative that speaks to you.
- See if there are any words that fit together. For example, wanting to feel healthy and energized, can have a correlation. Wanting to feel energized because it makes you feel healthy, or the other way around.
- Work with all the words in this way, and keep scratching and merging words.
At the end of the process, ideally, you’d have 3-4 words that you can use in your everyday life. As I said; write them on your mirror, put them in your wallet or make a background for your phone. Make sure you remind yourself of them often and take them into account for as many decisions as possible.
The way we change our lives isn’t always by flipping it upside down and changing the big things. More often it’s by changing the little things we do every. And by trying to align those small choices with your Core Desired Feelings as much as you can, your life can go through a massive shift.
If you want more information on applying these Core Desired Feelings and living your life with intention, try reading this post I wrote.
You’ll notice that the more choices you make this way, the closer you get to those feelings, and eventually your dream life. You’ll be more satisfied and happy, and life will start flowing much more easily for you. I am sure of it. So give it a try, and let me know what you think in the comments!