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Reflections February 2017

Leslie Goes Boom

Using Intuition and Facing Fear

By Leslie Handler

As I look back at my younger self and compare it to my older self, I found that there are two major things in my life that seem to have guided me in the right direction: One is following my intuition. The other is walking through fear.

Now into another new year, I reflect back on my past experiences. I wonder what I might have changed. What could I have done differently to make life better for myself and those around me? When I answered myself, I found that I was rather happy with the decisions I made and the path I followed in 2016. Then I began to wonder if the younger people in my life could say the same.

When I was younger, I never seemed quite satisfied with anything. I always wanted something more, or something different. I didn’t know what I wanted more of or what I wanted different – I only knew that I wasn’t happy with the status quo.

As I look back at my younger self and compare it to my older self, I found that there are two major things in my life that seem to have guided me in the right direction: One is following my intuition. The other is walking through fear. Please allow me to explain.

There’s a sixth sense that we all have. I don’t mean we’re all psychic. I mean we all have an inner voice, a gut feeling, an intuition that tells us which direction we should follow. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. If I go to the doctor and feel uncomfortable with him/her, I seek another doctor. If I meet someone new who befriends me and I feel uncomfortable around them, I avoid growing the relationship. If I think about working with someone and something just tells me that I shouldn’t, I don’t take the job.

However, I wasn’t always like this. When I was younger, I would get these same feelings, but I would often ignore them. Once I went to get a haircut at a new salon. Something told me to ask how much the haircut would be before they cut my hair, but I didn’t listen to my intuition. When I went to pay, the haircut was over $100, and this was 25 years ago! Another time I hired a nanny for my kids. Upon her interview, I liked her. She seemed like a good fit for us, yet there was something in the back of my mind that bothered me about her. As it turns out, she was great with my kids, thank goodness, but she stole from us. At first, I didn’t want to believe my own suspicions, but then we caught her in the act of stealing.

The older I get, the more I rely on that intuition. There are numerous occasions now in which I look back at things and am grateful that I listened to myself.

Then there’s that second thing that has guided me well through life: walking through fear. No matter what age we are, we are all fearful of certain things. Some of us fear heights; some of us fear public speaking. Others fear talking to the boss, and some of us fear trying new things. Believe it or not, some of us even fear success.

As I’ve aged, I’ve tried to face many of my fears. I’ve received a huge sense of pride every time I’ve faced my fears. I was severely obese, I was actually afraid to start new diets because I feared another failure. It was only when I faced this fear that I was able to finally lose the weight and keep it off. I was afraid to try to publish my essays. One day, I simply walked through that fear and submitted a story to a publication. The next day, I not only received an acceptance for my essay, but I was also offered a contract to write more!

As we age, we become comfortable with what we know. We surround ourselves with the familiar and tend to follow the same routines we have for years. This year, I plan on continuing to listen to my own intuition and to face new fears. I want to continue to leave the familiar now and then and to change my routine. My hope is that I can pass this advice on to the younger generation, and that it will help guide them to better years ahead.   

 

"I’ve fallen and I CAN get up are the words I live by because when I fall and go BOOM, I always get back up."

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