“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.” Abraham Lincoln
I have a yoga friend, Larry Smith, who runs a website called Six-WordMemoirs, where the challenge is to sum up the philosophy of your life in six words. You can just share your six word memoir on the site or have it emblazoned onto a t-shirt. Clever, right?
It didn’t take me long to figure out my six words.
These six words guide the choices I make.
These six words give my clients permission to live the life they want to live.
My six word memoir is: If it feels good, do it.
If we would just do more of what felt good in our lives we would never go astray.
Sounds simple, but it’s not.
Because no one teaches us how to get in touch with and pay attention to what feels good and what doesn’t.
Think about this for a second:
You know when something feels good and right in your body. It might be a tingly feeling in your arms or an open, expansive feeling in your chest. You know truth because you can feel it.
Likewise, you know when something is off or just isn’t right. You feel a tightness in your neck, shoulders and jaw or you feel like it’s hard to breathe and there’s a heaviness in your chest. Our bodies tell us when we’re in danger or on a painful path.
We can ignore these feelings in our bodies, but when we do, we lose track of the best and most reliable guidance system we have.
We should let our bodies guide us.
We should notice our emotions.
We should trust this inner wisdom.
“That sounds selfish to me.”
It should sound selfish. We need to be selfish.
If you’re not selfish enough to care about how you feel, then you’ll have nothing to give anyone, anyway. You cannot give generously from an empty tank or a tired soul.
“Well if everyone just did what felt good, wouldn’t there be mass chaos?”
No, because hurting other people never feels good. (Unless you’re a psychopath, of course. And if that’s the case, please unsubscribe from my list now.)
People who feel good when they’re being destructive – to people’s property, lives or hearts – have been so disconnected from who they really are for so long, they can no longer distinguish between what feels good and what feels bad.
Next time you’re doing something that makes you happy – pushing child on a swing, petting your dog, or talking with your best friend – notice what sensations you feel in your body. Keep doing those types of things; do more of what feels good.
And next time you’re doing something that feels like an obligation or you’re feeling stuck or lonely, sad or disconnected, notice that physical sensation and pay attention to it. Then, do something to feels good.