Remember how when we were in our teens and believed that when we would turn 18, we would have everything figured out. Oh honey… no. It takes ages to figure yourself out and when you hear people in their 30s or 40s saying they finally know themselves and are comfortable with who they are, I realize I still have a long journey ahead. But at 23, I think I’ve come a long way too.
It’s so important to learn what feels right for you, what makes you tick, what bothers you, what matters to you, how you interact with people, what makes you uncomfortable, and very importantly, what brings you joy.
As a people pleaser, I used to say yes to a lot of things I actually didn’t want to do. Stay longer to study on something when I know I can do a better job at home or I’m feeling very tired? Not going to a public place because I fear judgement? Say yes to what someone tells me just because I don’t want to make them feel bad or for them to judge me, even though I don’t really agree? Go to a party because everyone is going and it seems like the normal thing to do (is it really?)?Been there, done that.
The problem with this kind of thinking and actions was that in the end, it never benefited me. I would feel belittled, like an outcast, mentally bad, uncomfortable and never truly myself.
But when you know yourself, it’s so much easier to act accordingly. To say no to going somewhere because really, you are so much better at home watching Netflix with a cup of herbal tea under the duvet with your boyfriend or pet. To say that you can’t stay study because you feel down and would be more efficient at home, but are still reachable through Messenger. To go shopping on your own because actually, you just want to take your time to browse and people won’t care about you, and if they do, they probably won’t remember you in 5 minutes.
Being able to know myself better has taken time and sometimes, courage to act accordingly. But mostly, it has enabled me to get my anxiety under control and to be more self-assured. I no longer do what I know is not right for me and put as a priority what does. It has changed everything.
Another thing I take more and more into consideration when making a decision is the feeling in my guts.
It’s actually how I knew this Master’s degree was the right fit for me, that I would be moving back to Grenoble and that we needed to move into the apartment we are currently living in because it was what we needed at the time – and everything would be okay there.
I trust my guts to let me know when a situation is not right, when something feels odd and I should make a change, get out of a situation or just not go somewhere.
I also use this with people. It helps me determine who they are and how I need to act with them, trust them or stay away. Sometimes, it also means being right about someone who you could feel, deep down, wasn’t right for you but thought it could work.
Even if your mind doesn’t know it yet, your heart does and has a way of letting you know and it’s important to listening to yourself and your guts.