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Separating your Wants from your Wants (And how to feel good about your choices)

August 5, 2015

One day this blog wasn’t here and the next it was; and although an abrupt happening, behind the scenes it was a very natural next step for me. Interested in design, art, cooking, and crafts means I do a lot of Pinterest-ing, magazine clipping, book reading, and coming up with ideas, and I needed a place to digest it all. A place for me to try out those projects and document them, a place to hold onto the lessons learned along the way, and since it’s a blog, I might as well share it all, too. The best part about the blog idea to me was that the space could be completely mine. I didn’t have to see advertisements or be boxed in by a platform brand, and most importantly I could control the content…and I wanted it to be GOOOOOOOD. I wanted it to have structure (regular posting, editorial calendar, main categories), I wanted it to be beautiful (clean, big pictures, serif body copy), and I wanted it to be meaningful.

And for four posts I was on top of it. Then last week happened, which happened to be full of things going on: a stressful deadline at work, my sewing machine going into the shop, a death in the family, etc etc, you all know those weeks just as much as I do. Normally I try to photograph for my blog post the Sunday before it’s out, and then write the content between Sunday and Wednesday, but last week Wednesday sprang up before I even realized it. I had lots of half ideas in my head of what to write about, but nothing flowing like it usually does. I felt the anxiety of Wednesday evening rolling near with nothing concrete to share. I was irritable and angry as I stewed thinking about what to do. If I didn’t write the post then I was letting myself down. After all I had put so much time into building the site, getting clear about my point-of-view, and planning and writing the first month of posts. And now after four posts I was already stumped? Would this just be another project that has a vigorous beginning only to come to a weak end? Would this be another thing I just quit?

Well, no. Not this time because I learned something really valuable recently: Sometimes things that you want will contradict each other. Examine them closely and proceed. For years I would drop a diet in the heat of a hamburger moment, or drop a budgeting goal because of fabric that I just “had to have.” And then I’d be on the scale or looking at my savings account wondering why I couldn’t just stick to my goals. After all (at the time) I wanted to lose weight and I wanted to be smarter with my money: so what gives? I’ll tell you what gives, I wanted to lose some weight and then was hungry and wanted a hamburger. I wanted to save some money and then wanted to buy something. I wanted to do the work to start a blog and then I wanted some rest. But worse than our wants contradicting each other is how skewed our perspective gets in the moment of wanting. Instead of me seeing my options as “I can write a blog post or get some much needed rest”, I saw them as “I can push through and write this post or I can skip it and not write it.” But if you take a look at that example you’ll see that I’m deciding between getting something and not getting something, and when you don’t choose the “getting” you probably feel short changed.

So what’s the solution? Simple. The solution is to a) honestly look at your options and b) give yourself permission to pick what you truly want. In the example of budgeting and finances, instead of saying “I can buy this or not buy this” try telling yourself something like “I can buy this or I can breathe easily when rent is due next month knowing I’ve got some padding in the bank.” Uh hello, puts it right into perspective doesn’t it? And once it’s in perspective you can handle the second part of picking which one you want. Not the one you think you should pick, not the one you feel guilty about, the one you truly want.

Last week, after I did the old song and dance of berating myself for not following through, I thought about my options. I can either write this blog post and contribute to a project that’s important to my heart, or I can enjoy some downtime and feel ready to take on next week’s blog post when it comes around.

By giving myself a chance to look at my real options I was able to turn my win-lose, black and white, guilt-ridden situation into a win-win, and that made the decision making process feel good. And lo and behold, here I am following through. Was it my ideal to skip a post? Nope. But life happens and you’ve gotta take care of yourself.

signoffNow go see what other options you’ve been keeping from yourself. See you next Wednesday
(P.S. I welcome (nice, kind, sweet, gentle, funny) punctuation advice)

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