What I Learned This Year

15 December 2020

By Lauren E. White

Disclaimer: I am not here to talk about the pandemic. Even though everyone wants to talk about it, we don’t need to. Instead, I’m here to share with you a nugget of wisdom that I learned this year. It is this: you know yourself better than anyone else – and don’t be convinced otherwise.

As an individual who, for the whole of my adolescence, was told that I am too worried, anxious, nervous, terrified and anticipating of the end of the world, I generally assume that when something doesn’t feel right it’s because I’m being ‘too anxious’. Most of the time, it’s because something isn’t right.

Related reading: Coping with Anxiety

I imagine this kind of thing resonates with a lot of people. We look back at decisions we’ve made, or situations we’ve been in, and think: why? Why did I let myself do that, or why did I even do it in the first place, when every instinct in my body said ‘no’? It could be you feel this because people tell you that you should be pleased with something, instead of being pessimistic, or it could be that people tell you that you should be excited about something, instead of being depressive.

When you ask people (it could be your friends, family or counsellor) why something doesn’t feel right, they often try to reassure you, and can, as people did with me, tell you it’s because you’re ‘too X or Y’. Breaking news: it’s because it’s just not right.

So, going back to what this year taught me. It taught me that absolutely nobody on this planet knows yourself better than you, and they never will. If your gut screams anything at you, listen to it. Do not listen to others who will encourage you to ignore your gut instinct because they think you’re overthinking, over-depressing, or over-whatever. You know in yourself what you think and how you feel, and you just need the confidence to believe that your feelings and thoughts are valid.

Believing in such a thing as your own thoughts and feelings is tricky when, for years, well-meaning people have told you that your thoughts and feelings are ‘just thoughts and feelings’ and don’t reflect the truth. Sometimes they do – and that’s OK.

So, just remember this: you’re not a child. You know what’s right, generally, and what’s wrong, generally. Your gut will tell you that and it most likely bears no resemblance to your character predispositions. Just go with what you think is right and I guarantee that the ‘you’ in ten months’ time will thank you for it.

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