November has been rough.
It’s been an anxiety-ridden month filled with uncertainty and confusion.
On a national scale, I was rocked by the outcome of the U.S. election. I walked around on election day convinced, like much of the rest of America, that we would wake up the next morning to the first female president-elect ever. It was going to be historic and beautiful and I would be joyful.
On a personal level, I’ve been experiencing a massive amount of change as well. I’ve had an exhausting few weeks where I’ve been processing not only the change happening around me–in the wake of the election results and the way people have been reacting to them–but also in accepting that there is a great change happening within me.
I see a lot of parallels between the two that I’m going to attempt to articulate here.
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In the aftermath of the election, I simultaneously realized that not only was the projected outcome of this election grounded so much in expectation, but that I live so much of my life grounded in expectation–and how unhappy that makes me.
Lately, I’ve been frequently reminded of a conversation I had with a friend of mine back when I was in Thailand: “You think too much, and that keeps you from actually doing all the things you want to do,” she told me. It’s a truth I’ve been working on changing this entire year–and one that became increasingly apparent to me throughout the course of this month.
It’s a fine balance for me, thinking and doing. As an intuitive introvert, thinking and processing is how I understand the world around me. I love going out into the world and experiencing it. Too many experiences overwhelm and exhaust me, though, so I eventually need to come back into my self to process. That said, when I spend too much time processing, I tend to gravitate towards anxiety. In my anxiety, I worry a lot and expect too much and that’s not healthy. Additionally, in my anxiety, I tend towards excessive self-doubt. When I’m anxious, I find that I doubt my intuition and I doubt my confidence and strength.
Intuition is a funny thing because people talk about it like it’s the magical, unseen thing–a psychic power of sorts. However, as an intuitive, I find that my intuition is extremely logical. My intuitiveness is built upon my ability to read people well. I pick up on people’s emotions pretty effortlessly. I watch their body language and listen to the tone they use while speaking. If I’ve known someone for an extended period of time, I pick up on any patterns they exhibit frequently and notice if they break that pattern. For instance, when a good friend of mine told me that he and his long-time girlfriend were going on a fancy anniversary vacation for their five year anniversary, I intuitively wondered if he was going to propose–and that’s exactly what he did. He didn’t hint to me that this was going to happen–he simply told me he was taking a nice long weekend with his now-fiancee to celebrate their anniversary. That said, the possibility of a proposal made sense to me for two reasons: 1) they’d been dating for ages and 2) this friend rarely travels. I’m pretty sure the last trip he went on prior to this one was the spring break road trip we went on together with another one of our college friends in March 2015. Therefore, it made sense that something significant would happen on the trip–and given the nature of the trip itself (an anniversary vacation) the possibility of him proposing seemed very likely to me. While my speculation that my friend might propose was definitely my intuition at work, I got to that speculation based off of previous knowledge I had about him, making that intuitive feeling very sensible to me.
While a non-intuitive might find this hyper-awareness of others to be slightly creepy, picking up on other people’s body language is something that comes naturally to me. Understanding how other people tick is one of the ways I process the world around me.
This month, I’ve realized how important it is for me to separate my intuition from my expectations. I’ve realized that I need to place more trust in my intuition; after all, if I can’t trust myself how can I ever possibly be fully happy with myself? In the aftermath of the election, I’ve also realized how detrimental relying on expectations can be. I think we can see this across America right now, as people are coming to terms with the outcome of the election. So much of this election was grounded in expectations and I believe that has hurt the American people more than the outcome itself. I also believe that our expectations will continue to divide us–as we look ahead to the future of America. I understand there is fear, I understand there is anxiety. I feel it, too, as a woman who worries about the future of her reproductive rights, as an ally to those out there who fear for their safety because of race or religion or sexuality or citizenship status. That said, neither fear nor anxiety are productive. It won’t change what is and and won’t change what will be.
Fear and anxiety aren’t productive for America and they aren’t productive for me.
November has been rough. Yet, as I emerge from this exhausting month; as I’m pushing myself to cast aside my expectations–both on a personal level and a national level–and actively live in the present; as I learn to balance my thinking and my doing; and as I learn to be kinder to myself and those around me, I’ve been finding that I feel incredibly happy. For the first time in my life, I feel completely happy because of my accomplishments and that’s amazing. Mentally, I still feel off-balance–change is still hard for me and I’m still processing a lot–but good things are happening. I’m trying so hard to embrace this change happening within me, around me. I’m trying to trust myself more. I’m trying to really live one day at a time. It’s hard. Some days I hate it…but most days, I’m so grateful for how far I’ve come.