Following Our Guts Is Hard, But Not That Hard

An animated gif video of a woman saying "I've just got a feeling I can't shake."

“Don’t do what you know on a gut level to be the wrong thing to do. Don’t stay when you know you should go or go when you know you should stay. Don’t fight when you should hold steady or hold steady when you should fight. Don’t focus on the short-term fun instead of the long-term fall out. Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. Don’t seek joy at all costs.

I know it’s hard to know what to do when you have a conflicting set of emotions and desires, but it’s not as hard as we pretend it is. Saying it’s hard is ultimately a justification to do whatever seems like the easiest thing to do—have the affair, stay at that horrible job, end a friendship over a slight, keep loving someone who treats you terribly. I don’t think there’s a single dumbass thing I’ve done in my adult life that I didn’t know was a dumbass thing to do while I was doing it. Even when I justified it to myself—as I did every damn time—the truest part of me knew I was doing the wrong thing. Always."

-Cheryl Strayed

Things I love about this quote:

First, the obvious: listening to our guts. This is the trick of life, isn't it? To not shut out the part of us that knows when something is right or wrong.

Next, the joy. Don't give up all your joy, don't prioritize joy above all else. This combination is as perfect as a sunrise. Oooooh, and the idea of holding onto an old idea about ourselves and letting that steal our joy??? It's just so real I want to hug it! But like a tough love hug where it gets set straight.

Then, being hard. Have you noticed that the hardest part of doing something you know is right is usually the part where you decide to commit to it?

It's like there's a path over there and your gut knows you should follow it, but you can't even see it because there's a giant Monument of Impossibility and Dread blocking it that makes you feel a pit in your stomach just to look at it.

For me, the monument's plaque says, "Other People." There are always people who are invested in us following whatever path we've been on so far who will be hurt or upset by us making a change. Just the idea of telling them I am going a different direction makes my insides feel all twisted up in a knot.

Once we commit, though, and start walking towards that monument, it blips out of existence because it wasn't even real in the first place, it was an illusion our brains created just to make things harder. We are rewarded with massive elation and relief. We are doing it!!! 

The process of getting there is all very hard. But as Cheryl says, it's not as hard as we act like it is. Definitely not hard enough to justify ignoring what we know to be right.

The Receptionist Delivers!
Sign up for my email newsletter for a bi-weekly digest and bonus content!

No comments:

Post a Comment