Feeling Good, Despite It All

Hi, I’m Ian.


I’m a massage therapist and educator, and sometimes I talk and think about other stuff too. Today, I’d like to talk about the topic of human frailty, and how you might want to take the things I say with a grain of salt.

You see, despite my training in mindfulness, holistic health, and psychology, I’m still not… well. I’ve got chronic anxiety, my back “goes out” more than I’d like, and I’m not anywhere near as successful as I’d like to be. I give in to my base animal desires on a regular basis (hitting my snooze alarm, going to McDonald’s), and I procrastinate like you wouldn’t believe. When I write, I use far too many parenthetical asides.

I divulge all of this for two reasons:

  1. All of my advice should be viewed in context. Viewing me as a role model would be folly.
  2. I think that my flaws might make me more useful to you.

You see, I’m frail, but I’m unbroken. I have some really rough days, but I’m doing things that I would have thought impossible a few short years ago. In this spirit, I have a goal for this blog:

I want to help you deal with shit.

Notice there’s nothing there about fixing, or transforming, or changing your life. What I want for you is not transcendence but perspective; not perfection but a humble measure of happiness. This is the first step on that journey, and it means lowering the bar a bit and settling.

Lord, those are some unpleasant words, and I didn’t like writing them, but it’s what this all comes down to. I’m all for the idea of shooting for the stars, but I’m not a big fan of the heaping helping of self-flagellation that comes along with it. Not at your ideal weight? Better feel like a sack of crap. Didn’t get into your first choice school, or get that promotion? Time to drown your dreams entirely and feel like hell for a few months!


Do you see the problem there? Much of the anguish that we deal with on a daily basis comes from not meeting this ever-receding ideal, this set of goals that exists in your head, seemingly of their own volition. What would it be like to love the body that you currently have? What would it mean to give up on the idea of the perfect job, and wring a little extra satisfaction from your current circumstances?

No, don’t look at me like that. Don’t give up on your dreams, just stop using them to bludgeon your current accomplishments and little victories. You’ll do great stuff. Now, what have you achieved recently that could use a little recognition?

I’m not sure if I’ll ever be king of the world, as I feel is my right, but I’m constantly making strides. I’m getting a little better every year, and my set-backs are never as big as I perceive them to be at the time. I’m doing okay, and that’s no small deal.


5 thoughts on “Feeling Good, Despite It All

  1. “Don’t give up on your dreams, just stop using them to bludgeon your current accomplishments and little victories.” This one got me right in the heart. Thanks for this post– I’m sure there are other people out there who needed this right now, too. 🙂

  2. Recently I read somewhere about the difference between happiness and contenment. Happiness will always be a fleeting feeling. Contentment is more like what you are reffering to as settling, being satisfied with where you are, or allowing yourself to feel accomplished after a small victory. Being content really does help with keeping a consistent feeling of happiness.

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