Smokin’ Hot Cowboy Love
For three years now, I have wanted a pair of cowboy boots.
At first I didn’t have the money. Then I couldn’t find the right pair. Then I found the right pair, but the toes were so pointy and narrow that my extra-wide toes were smushed into a big pile of numb.
I still wanted cowboy boots.
This year, I finally asked myself why. What’s the big deal with cowboy boots? How would having—wearing—cowboy boots make me feel?
And that’s when it hit me. Cowboy boots would make me feel autonomous, strong, healthy. Cowboy boots would make me feel flirty and sexy. Just the sound of those heels clicking against the pavement would make me feel happy.
Are cowboy boots the only route to those feelings?
When I practice yoga, I feel strong and healthy. When I pay my bills with money I earned all by myself, I feel autonomous. When I am with my boyfriend—and sometimes even when I am not—I feel flirty and sexy. Walking down the street in bare feet makes me feel equally, though differently, happy.
We don’t want things because we want stuff. We want the way we think having that stuff would make us feel.
Just as an experiment, take a couple of minutes—longer and you’re thinking too hard—and brainstorm a list of twenty or thirty things you want. Then go back, and next to each item, write out the way having that thing would make you feel. (This works with experiences and circumstances, too, by the way. Some people want a partner because they believe it will make them feel loved and secure. Some people want to bungee jump because they hope to feel exhilarated, brave, more alive.)
Now take a look at your list of feelings, and challenge yourself: how many alternative ways, things, and circumstances can you come up with that would give you the same feelings?
Example: I want to be a professional dancer. It would make me feel strong, graceful, admired, and energized. Off the top of my head, I’m betting working out, eating healthfully, going out to a club, or maybe even singing a song on YouTube would get me to the same place.
Do you get it? Stuff is just stuff. Circumstances are, well, circumstantial. But how you feel, inside your body, your head, your heart, your soul—that’s the brass ring, baby.
How do you want to feel today?