Living an Authentic Life, the eternal struggle. Also, what's a design therapist and why don't people get it?Jun 03, 2022
I feel deep in my soul what I want to do. But what do you do if it’s unlike anything anyone understands? Even though it seems so obvious to you? So obvious, in fact, that you doubt its credibility. It seems so simple, but no one seems to understand, I must be wrong. I must be crazy. Why can no one see what I see? Why is it such a struggle to have / be what I want?
Sound familiar? I am literally describing myself and my life struggle but I have heard it from so many clients, family and friends, about so many different issues from material selections to construction issues to romantic partners, jobs, life goals . . . . Every time it’s different yet the same. We are yearning for something, looking for it and not feeling like we are worth the struggle so we settle for close enough, or not even close, we just give up and do something regular. Over and over and I think it’s worth talking about.
We all have a vision for ourselves, what you see when you close your eyes is unique to you. What feels right to me is unique to me.
- Why do we expect anyone else to see it?
- Why do we ask anyone else’s opinion?
- Why do we want other people to design our spaces and tell us what to do? And then get mad when it doesn’t live up to the secret vision in our head. The one we are longing for but are afraid to speak out loud.
Because it’s hard. It’s hard to be different. It’s hard to describe something that only you can imagine. People won’t get it, they will judge you and you will feel alone with your vision. But isn’t that better than being in a space that isn’t you? A job that isn’t you? A life that isn’t you?
It can be unsettling to get quiet with yourself and think about what makes you happy. It can be scary to show the world who you are. It’s a lot easier to rip a page out of a magazine and say build this! But it’s so unfulfilling. Please know this. Copying the McGee & Co. look does not give you that life. Do you even know if that is a life you want to live? Design for YOUR life and the life you want to live, in your unique way.
I will use myself as the first example.
I feel called to run my interior design business differently than a traditional interior design or architecture firm. The concept seems super obvious and absolutely necessary to me, but most people do not understand it.
I don’t design houses. I help people honestly assess themselves, their lifestyle and their home, evaluate how their current space is holding them back, then create an action plan for fixing it and moving forward toward the life you deserve. The life you’ve been dreaming about.
It’s an amazing service that encompasses so much more than a typical interior design studio offers but people don’t get it.
I start to doubt myself. I try to fit the mold of the traditional interior designer, walk a little closer to that line but every project hurts my soul a little more. I don’t want to design another white kitchen that looks like one you found on Pinterest. There is nothing wrong with that kitchen, but if that is exactly what you want to do, you don’t need me.
I’ve been offered jobs that pay great and I could easily do and I am tempted to settle. After every crying session in my closet or looking too hard at my bank account, I think about those jobs.
But then what’s the point? Hide myself away with my consumer comforts, never sharing my brilliance, what makes me different and unique? I firmly believe that we are given our gifts to share with the world, to make a difference. The vision in my head, my talents, they were given to me to use in a way that comes naturally. What’s easy to me was meant to be. Follow your gifts, your joy and there your success will be.
Except it isn’t, not yet anyway. So what do I do instead? How do I break this cycle? I am in the ‘magic dark’ and I want it to be for a reason.
This time I am trying something new, brand new, right here - at this very moment - I am going to speak my truth exactly as I see it, without being scared if people agree, even if people don’t understand - I am going to do what I tell my clients to do. I am going to get honest with myself, strip away all the unnecessary and only do the things that I absolutely love doing, that I am best at and that point me towards the life I see for myself.
I want to be a design therapist. I am a design therapist. I don’t need anyone to be an example before me or peers in my field. I know in my soul that this is where I do the most good. It feels easy to me and like magic to my clients. I have a gift for understanding what people are looking for, seeing your vision and holding space for that dream while we work through the details of what that means.
It’s a process that’s more conceptual and life based vs construction documents and finish selections, although we can get to that when you are ready. There is so much to do before engaging an architect, interior designer or general contractor and if you spend the time upfront you can save yourself time and money when you are finally ready.
You will know more about the scale of the project you are engaging in, the type of team you need to build, the materials you are looking for, the style you are after, have a better understanding of how this process works, realistic expectations for your project and the confidence to make it happen. People need this service! Someday they will understand.
I say all of this and use myself as an example because it’s the same cycle I am seeing everywhere. We are yearning for something, looking for it and not feeling like we are worth the struggle so we settle for close enough, or not even close, we just give up and do something regular.
We are each worth the struggle!
Whether it’s the job you want or design detail you need in your kitchen, we all deserve what we want. We deserve to be the version of ourselves that we see inside, that we feel so deeply.
I don’t mean I deserve a mansion with a pool so I should get one, I mean I do, but that’s not what I am talking about. I deserve to surround myself with what feels like home to ME. No one can tell me what my authentic life looks like, don’t settle for ‘the way it’s always been done’ or someone else’s design. Only you can see the vision. This is your project, your home and your life.
Take the time to think about what makes you happy, be brave enough to go after it and let us all never settle for anything less! I don’t want to see you dim your light for anyone and I will let mine shine too. Here’s to brighter days ahead 🥂
You can find me here, almost every week, talking about interior design, construction, what it means to live an authentic life and the struggle we all go through to get there. Welcome to my new version of the blog and I would expect some exciting conversations to follow. Schedule your design therapy session today!
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