Listening to Our Instincts

The best part of where I am working is getting to have conversations with my co-workers. I get to work with a wide range of people from different stages of life and backgrounds.

A few days ago I was talking with a woman who was much older than me and has already walked through more life than I have.

We were talking about how each of us came to work where we are and she began to tell me her decision to change careers after ten years. Just coming from working as a hair stylist for a decade, she decided to go back to school in the medical field. She then told me that this new job was “like a breath of fresh air” for her. How her former job was wearing her out and she wanted to try a new direction with her life, so she did.

I long for the feeling she is talking about, the feeling of a breath of fresh air in my lungs. I have felt suffocated by my environment for the majority of the past decade and continue to look for new opportunities that will bring me into a new environment.

One concept I have been taught my whole life is to push through every uncomfortable situation. To avoid and push through anxious or fearful feelings. In some situations I believe pushing through is important because we can learn immensely from living in uncomfortable situations or acting when we might be fearful. However, I do not believe pushing through is the answer to every situation. When my mind cannot stop racing, my appetite lessens, my heart races, and I can’t form my thoughts into words – I know I am not where I am supposed to be.

I was never taught to listen to what my mind and body were telling me, but instead ignore this and do what seems to be the correct course based off of those around me. Yet, my body often knows more about my feelings before I recognize them myself.

Whether it is a job, a place I am living, or people in my life, my instincts, my gut, and my physical body let me know when I am where I am supposed to be and when I am not.

It took me years of being in a place I did not love for me to realize this and to have the ability to choose something different.

Our physical bodies tell us great amounts about ourselves and how we go through our day to day lives, yet they are the aspect of ourselves that most often get ignored. But, what if this was the part of us that we paid the most attention to?

When the signs of anxiety, depression, insecurity, and fear come up and I feel it physically, if I listened and did not ignore, I would more easily know myself and the direction I want to head in.

For me, this has taken years’ worth of trial and error.

First moving from a private school to a public school, investing in a Christian organization, going to a school a few hours from where I grew up, and now moving across the country. I have had periods of rest, but still have yet to catch that breathe of air.

Some might say I just need to learn to be more content with where I am, but I disagree. It is up to me to know myself, listen to my physical body, listen to my instincts, and move forward in areas that bring out who I am. Moving around, trying new things, and looking for that breath of fresh air is less about discontentment and more about learning about myself and the world around me. As I grow, I change, and as I change, my life around me cannot stay the same.

Our physical bodies and our instincts tell us immensely about our surroundings. It is not always best to push through, because sometimes what is best for us is a complete change and experiencing a new aspect of life.