How Do You Want to Feel?
If you stick around the AWE blog long enough, you'll notice that we use the phrase "feel the way you want to feel" or "dress the way you want to feel" quite a bit. When we are describing an outfit or an item in complimentary terms, beautiful isn't necessarily our go-to descriptor. Rather than the end goal being "feel gorgeous" or "makes you feel beautiful," we often opt for "makes you feel the way you want to feel."
Because "beautiful" isn't everyone's core desired feeling and certainly, the goal of every outfit isn't to feel "beautiful." Sure, sometimes we want to feel beautiful and elegant. But that's not women's one and only job in this life. Sometimes we want to feel powerful. Sometimes we want to feel like an action hero. Sometimes we want to feel masculine. Sometimes we want to feel cozy. Sometimes we want to go unnoticed, and read our book quietly on the train on the way home from work. The end goal of style isn't to be beautiful-- it's to express how you want to feel. It's an action step you take towards feeling the way you want to feel.
Let's pause for a second to talk about a writer named Danielle Laporte. Danielle Laporte is a writer, speaker, and spirituality guru, most known for her book White Hot Truth and her Desire Map workbook and planners. Laporte's Desire Map products grew out of a widely-discussed chapter from her first book, the Fire Starter Sessions.
In chapter three of the Fire Starter Sessions, "the Strategy of Desire," Laporte posits that we have goal-setting backward. Usually when we set a goal, we don't actually want the attainment of the goal itself-- we want how we think achieving that goal will make us feel. And sometimes when we reach goals, they don't make us feel the way we want to feel. So what if, instead, we spent some time articulating how we want to feel, and then work backwards from there. How can we plan our lives and arrange our goals so we spend as much time as possible feeling the way we want to feel?
She illustrates her point with the visual of a wealthy person on a yacht, wearing white and sipping champagne alongside with beautiful, bikinied women. But in reality, we don't actually want the money, the boat, or the babes: we want how we thing those things are going to make us feel. So we could save ourselves a lot of unnecessary striving (and striving towards goals that may not feel satisfying once we reach them), by first deciding how we want to feel and then doing things that make us feel that way.
We have the procedures of achievement upsode down. We set our sights on the babe, the boat, the bucks. We get them. Sometimes. They make us happy. Sometimes. We set a goal, we reach it, we feel great. Unless, of course, we feel empty or flustered or anxious that what we're doing isn't working to fill the hole in our soul. Let me say it another way: typically we come up with our to-do lists, our bucket lists, and our strategic plans--all the stuff we want to have, get and experience outside of ourselves. All of those aspirations are being driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way. What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel within ourselves, and then we designed our to-do lists?... First, get clear on how you want to feel. Then, do stuff that makes you feel that way.
This can absolutely, 100% be applied to style. There are lots of words that women can use to describe how they want to feel and how they want to look: pretty, beautiful, attractive, lovely, gorgeous, radiant, magnetic, full-figured, curvacious, compact, fierce, bold, striking, chic, powerful, lean, androgynous, masculine, angular, erect, jaunty, understated, bad-ass motherfucker.
Hence, you'll notice at the AWE blog that sometimes it takes us a little longer to describe an outfit or describe liking one's outfit ("it's beautiful!" vs. "it makes you feel the way you want to feel") because the way we want to feel varies by the individual. It changes by the day, and it changes depending on the season of our life. Certainly, "beautiful" isn't the be all end all.
So, the truly important topic is, how do you want to feel? And what will you do (and wear!) to help you feel the way you want to feel?