This summer I moved into a charming little house outside of Paris, nestled in a valley surrounded by fields, woods, and more castles than I have weekends to visit.
But: for all it’s potential charm, this little house had been for too long in the hands of a self declared builder whose ideas of correct electrical installation and whose taste in interior design were – well, let’s just say that the house needs a complete overhaul before I can call it home…
Now, why am I telling you this? Because for the last weeks and months, as the preparations and the planning for renovation progressed, I have been facing a dilemma via a question asked countless times by the interior designer, the builder, the electrician, the plumber, the painter, you name it:
“What do you want?”
If you’ve known me longer than ten minutes, you’ll also know that this one question has the potential to tank my entire savings faster than I could say say “I have an idea.” For someone who a) loves interior design, b) loves luxury, c) has an entire house to play with, this created a situation….
A situation which, I am sure, you are familiar with: whether it’s your holidays or your salary, the relationship with your parents or your partner, the number on the scale or the number in your savings account, the way your butt or your eyebrows are shaped – in life we regularly do NOT get what we want.
When (not if!) this happens, you have the choice:
you may ignore or suppress what it is you really want (best way to make that ulcer happy)
you may whine, complain or throw a tantrum (extremely sexy)
you may decide that you are a victim and since you don’t get things EXACTLY as you want, you don’t want anything at all (and spend the rest of your life on perfecting this martyr expression, boring everyone around you to tears)
Now, we all have done all of this at one time or another, because it is the easiest way to react, because it means we don’t have to get into action or make an effort, and because it’s so tempting to blame the others or the circumstances rather than taking responsibility and owning our reactions!
But of course it’s not the road that leads to an elegant and inspiring life.
Here are three things to get you back on track when life seems to give you lemons.
1.) Explore, truly explore what you want. Of course, I don’t mean for you to act on your first whim. But think about it, explore it, take the time to delve into your wishes and desires.
Getting crystal clear about what it is you really want is a major ingredient of an elegant life.
This is why I lead all my clients through a powerful exercise to unearth exactly that, and you should see the (tears of) joy, the shining eyes and how deeply they are moved when, sometimes for the first time in years, they get in contact and listen to their innermost voice. And it all starts with things as simple as them wishing for a new sofa in the living room or being three dress sizes thinner! Too many people refuse their wanting as superficial or unrealistic, if not downright materialistic, and thus never find out if what they pine for is really what they want! Don’t miss an important message from your inner core!
2.) Your wishes are such a fascinating resource for getting to know the very fabric you are made of. Why do you want and wish for this thing and not another? When you dig deeper, you’ll find that inevitably we all want things because they make us feel a certain way. So how do you want to feel? Feminine, loved, luxurious, acknowledged, uplifted, full of energy, peaceful, inspired, entertained? What is the feeling your soul longs for? How would you feel different if you were 20 pounds lighter/had a million in the bank/were to dine with George Clooney tonight?
The fast road to living intentionally is to know what you want and to know why you want it!
3.) You might say that this all very good, but that doesn’t get George Clooney taking up permanent residency with you at the Ritz (let’ s say, that’s what you want :). Why do you want it? To feel luxurious? Great! What other things/people/ways make you experience this feeling? It is highly unlikely that the only way to make you feel luxurious aret the Ritz in company of a Hollywood actor. If feeling luxurious is what you desire, then look out for all the occasions and people that made you feel luxurious, create a bouquet of all your luxurious experiences. Yes, the Ritz is nice, but it’s just one possibility. Luxury comes in multiple forms and many are compatible even with a not-so-luxurious budget. All you have to do is to go out and make your pick – voilà!
Do these three things as often as you can and you can be sure of sauntering through your days with joy and satisfaction!