Do You Want to FEEL Better or BE Better?

March 23, 2020

This is not a rhetorical question.

And it’s important to know this about yourself.

Are you most concerned with your feelings or your results?

Of course, if you are more concerned with your feelings, it’s likely that you’re going to get slower results.

So you should have a contingency plan to deal with delays and setbacks or you’re likely to have more feelings that need to be managed.

Following this logic, you can see how easy it is to get lost managing your feelings all day and never really getting anything else done.

Except possibly feeling better than you did … or not, if you end up feeling crappy about not having done anything besides focusing on yourself all day.

See how that works?

When you focus on managing your feelings there’s often little time left over for anything else.

Which sucks if you want to feel better and also BE better.

Few of us only want to feel better.

Most of us probably also want to accomplish something .... right?

So that becomes the real challenge—having feelings and acknowledging them and still doing what you need to do to be who you want to be.


I’m all for having feelings—I’ve got plenty of them.

And for those of you who also have lots of feelings and enjoy focusing on them to the exclusion of everything else, please don’t shame the rest of us who don’t experience our feelings in the same ways that you do.

It hurts (see, a feeling) to be called a robot.

I’m not a robot.

I’m just not led around by my feelings all day :)

More to the point are two distinctions we should make:

1) There are lots of ways to change your immediate feeling—you can exercise, eat something, have sex, shop, organize a drawer, take a walk, play with a child or a pet … for starters ...


2) Getting organized and increasing your productivity is not about managing your feelings.

It’s also unclear if making choices based solely on your feelings will get you the results you want.


I just started a demanding organizing project with someone who may be classified as a hoarder.

While I’m no psychologist, after spending a few minutes with this person, it seems clear that they exhibit OCD behaviors.

And the DSM5 says that hoarding is much more likely to be tied to depression and general anxiety disorder than OCD.

This is what the space looked like when I first arrived.

He contacted me because he was ready to make some changes.

As you can see, the scale of this project is not for the faint of heart—but not ONLY because of the amount of stuff.

It’s because this person is VERY attached to the STORY about how his home came to look like this.

And to the STORIES he has for almost every item that makes up these piles.

He wants to FEEL good and he doesn’t right now. His home is a source of discomfort and shame.

And he’s at risk of getting evicted—never a good feeling!

What I tell him as we’re working is that he’ll FEEL better as a result of DOING something that builds his self-esteem.

If he just waited UNTIL he feels better to do something … well, I think the space looks like this because he’s still waiting for his feelings to inspire him to behave differently.

Can you relate?


So, while I definitely want you to FEEL better, I’d rather you BE better and trust that your feelings will come along for the ride.

I always feel better when I take care of myself and remove any obstacles to my well-being.

It’s not always easy but it’s usually pretty simple.

Less mess, literally or figuratively, creates open space for me to feel clear, clean and strong.

I’m betting the same is true for you. 

After only one day on the job, I know it’s true for this client.   

Your home should be your happy place, safe and comfortable and a sanctuary from the craziness outside. If you’re ready to get it there, and NOW is the perfect time to do it, join us for our FREE 5 Day De-Stress Your Mess Challenge. Click here to register!

Declutter Your Life Podcast by Andrew Mellen. Available on iTunes!