I desire…to feel good: Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

I’m going to share with you how I want to feel. All my goals and dreams I make because I’m hoping they will make me feel a certain way. I’m going to share those desired feelings. And I’m going to share why I want to feel that way, and how I can do it. I like action plans. I get all giddy thinking about them.

This isn’t my first Desire Map. But this one I did right before I moved home and in the midst of crippling anxiety; it felt much more needed. It felt like a cool breath on my fevered brain.

If you haven’t checked the book out, do so. Now. Whether you like her style or not, you can’t argue with the technique. We all make goals. We all make resolutions. And we know they mostly don’t stick.

Danielle knew this too, and realized where we were all going wrong. We all make goals to feel a certain way, but most of our goals are results-oriented, not feeling-oriented.

If we can figure out how we want to feel (good = confident, safe, understood, heard, vital, driven, blooming, etc.), we can tailor goals and New Year’s resolutions to aim for that. Instead of “host a dinner party every week,” you turn that into “feel hospitable,” and realize you can get that feeling by taking food to a sick friend or inviting a small group over once a month. That way, you won’t look at your goal and see how you missed it, or see how it isn’t quite right but, hey, you wrote it, so you have to follow it…

Of course, there’s much more to it than that, but hopefully, you get the idea.

This has been life-changing for me – a perpetually happy and failure stricken goal-maker.

My Desired Feelings

Serene – calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil. an expanse of clear sky or calm sea.”

Why? I chose this word over peaceful, over tranquil, because the idea of serenity runs deeper. Like joy that is deeper and steadier than happiness or bliss, serenity, to me, would be the ocean of my soul having a clear and free depth, no matter what troubles pass over. It does not mean I don’t get angry in the face of problems or don’t get boundlessly excited. It means that I can feel those things without them taking hold, and that no matter where I am in my day, in my feeling, in my energy, I can reach the clear blue sky overhead, the dark soothing depths below, and return whenever I need to. It’s an outlook, more than a feeling, but it’s an outlook I need to reach down to my soul.

How can I feel this way? Since I’m not there, I don’t know. The closest I’ve come to it is in certain moments in meditation or prayer, or certain times when everything in my life has been going right, and just for a moment, I look out the window at the sky and feel it. But I don’t have it in my grasp. It’s a fleeting thing, so I’m not sure if that’s really serenity or just peace.

Creative – “relating to or involving the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”

Why? I am always creating, but while I was a teacher, most of my creative energy went to where it was needed in my job; lesson planning, teaching when I had no lesson plan, fixing lesson plans in the middle of them when it wasn’t going the way I’d hoped, solving tiny, huge fights between students, figuring out how to deal with admin issues and coworker issues that crop up from moment to moment, and balancing all that with a life outside of teaching. Teachers don’t get paid enough for all the work we do. It’s utterly and completely exhausting, even on the best days.

I’m home now. I probably won’t be a teacher anymore. Multipod strikes again. Now my creative juices are flowing so much it’s all I can do to think of projects. I want to feel that I have time and energy for these ideas. I want to feel that I am making what I want, when I want, in the way I want. I want to feel that I’m writing all the time, and going somewhere with it.

How can I feel this way? Knitting. Writing. Planning in my bullet journal. Making my office pretty. Organizing my parents’ home. Paper crafting. Playing D&D.

Radiant – “sending out light; shining or glowing brightly. Emanating clearly, powerfully from someone or something; very intense or conspicuous.”

Why? This is one of my long-term feelings/goals. I want to be comfortable in myself. I want to be healed, so I can start helping others. I’ve tried helping others so much before without working on me at all, and that’s what this journey of healing is all about. But after the healing, I hope to share my story so that others can find hope. I want to be a light for hope, for inspiration, for living authentically and holistically. I want to share the Good News, the Best News, of my faith, my beliefs, and share love. I want people to look at me and feel happy. I want them to be around me and think I’m a comfortable person, a good listener, an honest soul. I want to emit that. I believe people do. I’ve met people who do – like an aroma, they exude positivity, or warmth, or joy, or even not so nice things. I want to be one of the good ones.

How can I feel this way? Start with me. Help me. Put on my oxygen mask first before helping others. It isn’t selfish. It’s the most selfless thing I can do in the long run if I want to help people.

Authentic – “of undisputed origin; genuine. (sincere) free from pretense or deceit; proceeding from genuine feelings.”

Why? Part of my stress and anxiety problem has always been living inauthentically. Living the way other people want me to, living the way I think I should. Dressing how my friends do, or how work says I must, or how so and so says is most flattering for my figure. Believing and having a faith that doesn’t offend, that is in line with my family’s, that doesn’t make me stick out, but doesn’t make me doubt (but, oh, it has). Thinking how others think, in books or on TV.

I’m an empath. I know how people feel, and can guess what they’re thinking. About me. And I’m an INFJ/HSP, so I care. Deeply. I would like to go through life making no waves, no one uncomfortable. The flipside is that I’m uncomfortable all the time. So no more. NO MORE, wrote the Doctor, and saved my soul.

I’ve lived wondering and caring what other people think for so long I barely know what I really like anymore. I doubt my choices, even ones I think I’m making in freedom. Do I really like this outfit, or does it just fit the image of what I think I want to be (free, cool, comfortable, hipster, edgy, whatever girl)? Do I really like this pattern, or does it just reinforce the idea people have of me that I like? Are these dumb questions? Like Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching, I have First Thoughts, Second Thoughts (watching those first thoughts), and Third Thoughts (watching the second thoughts think about the first thoughts). It’s terribly confusing. I would like to not feel that way.

I would like, very much, to live in a cabin in the woods for a month with no media, no people, no internet, no books, and get to know me for a while.

How can I feel this way? Maybe do the cabin thing. For a couple days though. I can’t bring enough food for a month. Make decisions without worrying so much. Just make it. If it’s the wrong outfit, buy another one. Make clear boundaries. This is me, mine. That is you, yours. You are not me. Your ideas are valid and great, and they are not mine. That’s okay.

Present – “existing or occurring now. (here) in, at, or to this place or position.”

Why? In high school, in college, I always lived for the future. After Korea, I was really present for a while figuring out how to live and teach. But then once it got old and I started a new dream of being a writer, again with the future living. It’s not comfortable. It creates tension, living in the present and being dissatisfied with it. Many people have this problem. I don’t think I’ve ever really lived in the moment. Not fully. Always one foot forward.

I want to be okay with my everyday. I want to feel that I’m living how I want RIGHT NOW and don’t have to look forward to tomorrow because I’m enjoying today.

I want to eat and taste my food without watching TV. I want to drink a cup of coffee and savor it, staring out the window, not chugging it to get through the morning. I want to do everything mindfully. Now I am journaling. Now I am with this friend. Now I am waiting.

How can I feel this way? Meditation has helped. Focusing on sensations or the breath really keeps the mind from jumping around all the various plans. Also, making the choice to do things mindfully has helped. Making the choice to eat sitting down at the table, instead of wherever.

Nourishment* – “provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. (cherish) protect and care for (someone) lovingly.”

Why? I want to feel cared for. By myself first, and by others. I’ve let people walk all over me, including myself. I’ve never invested in honesty about what hurts me or helps me. I’ve never been intentional with friendships or boundaries. I’ve never eaten well for longer than a few days. I’ve never exercised for longer than a few months since college. I’ve never cared about my mental health because I always thought I was fine. I’ve never known what it’s like to be cherished in a dating relationship. I’ve never fought for anyone, or against anyone. I want to be fought for, I want to fight, I want to live out my emotions.

I want to eat good food that comes from the earth, not a lab, and the closer it’s grown the better. I want to grow my own food so I see where it comes from. I want to connect with our earth in that way. I want to raise animals, to see the cycle of life. I want to stay away from toxicity; in media, in work, in politics, in friendships, in thoughts, in feelings, in desires, in absent-mindedness.

How can I feel this way? Eat local, visit farmer’s markets. Have clear boundaries with people. Date better. Accept better. Accept no mistreatment. State clearly what I need. Give others what they need, when I can give it freely.

(A note on this one – I originally had “nourished” on here, but that was too other-driven, meaning it sounded too dependent on others to give it to me. LaPorte makes a point of saying not to pick words or feelings that you can’t give yourself. Not “loved,” but “love” or “loving.” So I picked nourishment. I want to feel that that’s what I’m giving myself and that’s the state I’m in.)

For 2018, in my Season of Healing, these six words encompass how I want to feel. Six is a lot, but I worked through a lot of words and feelings before picking those, and those are what fit me right now. Those are the ones that make me say YES. Desired feelings can and should change. In six months I may have six new words, or just three old ones.

Either way, Desired Feelings give me, and could give you, a better direction to aim for this New Year’s season.

Happy New Season!


*Definitions in quotes from Dictionary.com

4 thoughts on “I desire…to feel good: Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte”

  1. I love the reminder of LaPorte’s Desire Map. I have my words somewhere buried in a journal that I hauled back home.Recently I looked through goals that I had set at the end of last year. I feel like the point of all these things is to re-read and re-visit our ideas, intentions, goals, etc. Maybe it’s time to see what I wrote for feelings because it’s definitely where I’m at right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. I fully hope and intend to have new words at least every year, if not every season or six months. I think that’s the best part of life – realizing you’ve grown, changed, and need/are looking for something new.


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