Young And Afraid
The reason I felt the need to write this article, is merely a feeling. I feel like I’m in quite a good place in life, mentally & physically in life. I’ve come a long way since I was younger, 16 or 17 years old.
Growing up, I was loud-mouthed but afraid. Confident-looking but knees-trembling behind the mask of a ‘tough’ and ‘cool’ guy. Years and years went by like this, I guess something had to give. And at age 16, it did. One night, I woke up in the middle of the night just completely covered in sweat. A feeling of complete discomfort rolled over me in waves of heavy thoughts and emotions. I thought I was going to die. I was sure I was going to die. That was my first of many panic attacks. Days went by not even wanting to go outside, afraid of life in general.
Heavy stuff, I know. And I could hide this pretty easily, still trying to be the cool guy. Afraid of being judged, rejected and so on. Years went by after this incident, with many challenges to be faced. If I could give some advice to this little version of me, this is what I would tell him.
Other People’s Opinions = Waste Of Time
Growing up, I was parallyzed by the opinion other people could have or had of me. Everything I did, thought and said was with this fact in mind. This wasn’t genuine or real. Not being myself, but the person I thought other people would agree with or accept. Sounds absurd, right? That’s because it is. The funny thing is that I noticed, is that even if you try to behave at people’s expectations and opinions, it still isn’t enough and doomed to fail eventually.
Think about this: every single one of us is living in our own world, with own values and ideas about life. We see the world through a different ‘lens’. So to expect that everyone is going to agree with you way of living, with the words that you speak and the actions you take, is just plain ignorant. We all live in a kind of delusion, as you will. This is not spoken negatively, but everyone just sees the world from their perspective. There is no right or wrong like this. Just different options.
In every social interaction, every action having second thoughts about what reaction you want in people. LIKING you, thinking the best of you. That shit is so stupid. But I totally get it, we all want to be loved and accepted and therefore you catch yourself slipping and people-pleasing. You win some, you lose some, just like with people. Being crippled by other people’s opinions is utterly unnecessary and only keeps you afraid, average, boring and superficial. Please stop.
Don’t Try To Figure It All Out
One of the things that I liked doing the most was thinking about life and all its perks, mysteries and problems. This is a good thing, unless you expect to get real answers. Then you shouldn’t even bother, actually. Deeper and deeper in the wormhole you sink, when you dig deeper on the meaning of life or why there is so much suffering in the world.
Now I like to think about life, but embrace the insecurities and the not-knowingness. After all, remember:
“If you ever start taking things too seriously, just remember that we are talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe.“
Yeah, that’s wassup. Don’t take it all too seriously. Don’t try to figure it all out.
Follow Your Gut, Not Your Thoughts
Whenever there is a decision to make, of greater importance then I encourage to really follow your gut. More of a feeling than a thought or an idea. The internal, hidden intelligence that we have in us is underestimated by all. Maybe we still have our ‘instincts’ in us, just like so many animals use deliberately today. I don’t know, but this is what I do know: I’ll gladly follow my heart, my feeling, my gut instinct over all mind-stuff. Period.
Of course I aknowledge the importance of logical thinking in our lives, but only when necessary. When building bridges or thinking of chemical reactions, for example. As a student of Bio-Engineering, the switch is sometimes hard to make between logical thinking and presence and no-mind. But as for now, I’m definitely better in making that switch. I just wished that I was more aware of this phenomenon earlier.
Dare to take your own path, your own way. No need for answering to society’s rules, so many others are already doing that.
Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the road less travelled, or something like that.