Have you ever felt uncomfortable in your skin? Like you’re a tourist in your own body, fidgety and uncomfortable in your clothes? Dissatisfied with what you’re doing but unsure why? Have you ever felt like you suddenly realised you don’t even know who you are or what you’re doing? Yep, that was me too.
For the longest time, I felt like a foreigner on my own turf. I was incredibly self-conscious and easily embarrassed, if someone said something to me that wasn’t positive, encouraging or nice, I would take it to heart and get really down on myself about it. I’d spend hours replaying old conversations and interactions in my head, criticising myself, trying to work out what I could have said to be better or do better.
I would buy clothes I was told suited my body shape or were similar to other outfits I’d received compliments on. But when I was wearing them, I would feel incredibly uncomfortable and out-of-place. They were too tight, too itchy, too… bleaugh. I constantly felt like I didn’t know myself, as though I couldn’t be satisfied or still. It was horrible and made me feel really out-of-place, constantly wondering what was wrong with me. How could I not even know what I wanted from my own life?
I used to look at people who were incredibly confident and self-assured, unfazed by what anyone said about them or thought of them, and envy them. One day I asked a very close friend how he did it and he told me he just stopped caring. That was it, as simple as, “I stopped caring.” He made it sound so easy, but if it was that easy, why hadn’t I been doing it already?
It took a few days of mulling it over until I began to work out what I had been doing wrong. You see, I had been waiting for someone else to make me stop caring or ‘fix’ me. What I hadn’t realised is this; if I’m the one who cares, I’m the one with the power to decide whether or not I care. I also realised a big part of why I cared so much was because I was lacking self-confidence, brought on by years of trying to be someone I wasn’t.
There is a little voice inside us, something we can’t see or touch, that guides us. Some of us know it as our ‘gut instinct,’ over the past 2 years I’ve come to know mine as my intuition. It’s the part of you that goes beyond logical reason, facts and figures, it’s the part of you that can’t be explained. Even writing this, trying to explain it to you, is difficult for me to do, but it’s something so important and something that has had such a huge impact on me, I just have to share it with you.
After years of ignoring my intuition, I received a big wake up call to start listening to it. It’s hard to know what you should be listening to or changing when you don’t know what the heck it is. But, as I said, it starts with finding that gut instinct and giving in to what it (YOU) really wants.
My gut instinct (I’ll refer to it as my intuition from here on in) had been telling me I wasn’t on the right path for the longest time, by popping up as an ‘uncomfortable’ feeling every time I was doing something that wasn’t really ‘me’. Like a good little sheep, I had ignored it completely. Idiot. Rather than listening to myself, I’d listened to what I thought other people wanted and made myself feel uncomfortable for what? …. A perceived idea of what I thought others wanted. It sounds ridiculous now, but it made a lot of sense at the time and I’m sure lots of you have done the same thing.
But I finally gave in to my intuition and wonderful things happened. I had to start small to begin with, just tuning into my gut instinct and have the courage to listen to it and act on it. Saying no to things I didn’t want to do and saying yes to things I did want to do. Being completely honest with myself about what made me happy and what made me feel bad. Essentially, you have to learn to trust yourself and your instincts again.
It seems crazy not to tune into your own instincts and listen to your mind, body and heart. They’re the key to who you are so it’s essential you listen to them because nobody else knows what you need more than you do. It’s information coming straight from your inner self and it’s invaluable!
As I started to listen to my intuition more, my self-confidence began to grow. I started to believe and trust in myself again, knowing I was always making decisions that were best for me and would benefit me. After all, it’s not like you’re going to try to undercut yourself, right? You’ve got your own best interests at heart.
Listening to my intuition also spread to taking notice of what was happening around me and realising everything meant something. It could be small things like a favourite or significant song popping up on the radio repeatedly, seeing my favourite colour everywhere, constantly encountering the same challenging situation (like slow service or long queues). Once you start noticing these things, it’s hard to stop. I came to realise they all mean something and they’re meaning is something my intuition can help me decipher. Working that out can be as simple as asking yourself a question, like ‘How does this make me feel?’
As my trust and self-confidence continued to grow, I felt like I had settled into a new skin. It felt like I was finally seeing things how I was supposed to this entire time. I had finally given in to myself and let it flow and every day I felt more and more comfortable. I started wearing the clothes and (minimal) make-up I wanted to wear and it felt like I was meeting the other half of myself, finally feeling complete.
Now, every day, I continue to feel more and more like myself. I feel more in tune with my heart and happier, stronger and more ‘still’ each day. Finally comfortable in my own skin and mind.
Without even realising it, I stopped caring what other’s thought of me because I finally had enough self-confidence to know how I feel is more important. My happiness is key. It has been a long journey to get to this point, a two-year one, but it was worth every second of it.
Now I’ve tapped into my intuition I rely on it in every aspect of my life. When I’m planning my business, deciding what to write each day, choosing a place to travel, weighing up business offers or even picking a place to have breakfast, I always trust my intuition. I know if I do that, I’ll always make the right decision.
If you’re like me and are in that uncomfortable phase, don’t get discouraged. The fact you recognise you feel uncomfortable is important, it means you know deep down that you don’t feel right and need to change. That’s a fantastic thing! All you have to do is know something feels ‘off’ and decide to start, decide to listen to yourself and change.
When I was starting to work out what my intuition felt like and how to listen to it, I followed the advice of Helen from The Little Sage. I started keeping an art diary which I drew and scribbled in, but also kept notes of thoughts, feelings, dreams or ideas – good and bad. I made sure to date each of them and as time passed, I’d match up things that occurred with the things I had felt. After a few months, I saw a pattern emerge: my intuition was always right.
As long as you know it will be safe from prying eyes, I really recommend keeping an art journal, or similar (not a teenage girl ‘dear diary’ type thing), to keep track of things and get thoughts/ideas out of your mind. If you’re visual like I am, this is a huge help – especially at night when you can’t sleep because your mind’s eye is replaying hours of conversations with people.
Over the past few months my intuition has been squeaking at me. Then it started knocking. Then it started yelling loudly. I ignored it and, this week, it started screaming at me and sending me lots of signs that I need to listen to it, so I am. When I started writing these personal posts each Wednesday, I had no idea they would have such a beautiful, positive impact on so many people. But a number of you have been kind enough to tell me how they’ve affected you and that has inspired and encouraged me more than you realise.I love writing these personal posts and sharing my journey to intuitive living.
My intuition has been trying to tell me I need to put more of this part of myself into the rest of Little Grey Box. So, thanks to your support and the wisdom of my intuition, I’m going to start doing just that! It feels so right! My aim is to be more open, honest and true to myself in my other Little Grey Box posts and, in doing so, carve out a little niche for myself. I want to show people how to live a life full of happiness and love, by sharing mine with them.
Have you seen our latest 12 months in 60 seconds video?
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.