Why we should encourage young people to feel more and think less
“Why do you feel that is happening?” I ask my client.
“I think it’s because…” Her voice trails off as I watch her mind pick up then discard possible answers. I ask her to pause, redirect her to what she “feels” and the answer comes clearly and promptly.
It’s another reminder of how connecting to the feeling of something will always get you to someone’s truth far more quickly than any reasoning activity.
Our minds are powerful tools that can construct a hundred well-reasoned arguments, positions, interpretations and case scenarios about any event – this is why psychology and psychiatry flourish as necessary professions. But, relying on the mind and reason alone is doing the human race at best a disservice and at worst, for our young people in particular, making people feel more disconnected than ever before.
Those who know me well will say I loathe the word “mindfulness” because for me it misses the point. I am far more interested in helping people connect to their truth than reason their way through a mind-constructed quagmire. Focusing solely on the mind, watching the mind, being mindful is quite frankly a waste of time if what you really want is to connect to the truth of who you are and what is right for you.
I feel the same sense of irritation when I hear people say they need to control themselves better when it comes to their emotions. Let’s be clear, control is a construct that isn’t serving you because you’re not a machine with an on/off switch. You are a human being and if, like me and my clients, you are a sensitive person, trying to ‘control yourself’ in a way that suits others will put you on a winning streak to nowhere.
On the other hand, learning how to manage how you feel, how you connect with others and how you connect to yourself will benefit you far more than any solely mindful or control constructed approach.
I sometimes strike resistance when I suggest to parents that we should teach children to check in with themselves about what feels right when it comes to decision-making. Some feel very uncomfortable and respond with comments like, “But they’re not mature enough to make their own decisions. I need to help them with that because I am their parent and that’s my job.”
To a point, they are right. However, they are also not right. If we show young people how to connect into what is right for them from an early age and to trust that instinctive knowledge we all hold inside us, they are likely to make better decisions when the parent is not around later for guidance.
The ability to connect to your truth can also help young people hugely when it comes to managing anxiety.
For example, choosing subjects for school or deciding on a university degree is a big anxiety-inducing activity for a lot of young people. Their minds over-think with questions like, “Will I get a job out of this? What do my parents think I should do? Will I know anyone else in the course? Will I be any good at it? Will I get in?”
The pressure of their choices feels overwhelming and can result in incredible amounts of stress, anxiety, tears, anger, frustration, despair and other roller-coaster emotions.
What if it didn’t have to be that way?
Would this help young people to avoid scenarios where they say, after the fact, “I knew I shouldn’t go with them or do that thing but…”?
If they had trusted that “knowing”, even if on the surface everyone else said a situation was perfectly fine, would they achieve a different outcome?
I believe they would.
Many sensitive young people struggle with decision-making, anxiety and over-thinking because they have never been shown how to connect to themselves. Instead they are told to reason things through, do a pros and cons list, ask for advice and so on. There are numerous examples of how this approach is not working well for sensitive young people.
Our reasoning mind does not have all the answers. It never did.
Lucretia helps people to understand, manage and channel their sensitivity as a super power in their lives. She has a particular interest in helping young people and women to trust themselves and live their purpose on the planet. Please get in touch if you would like to chat about Lucretia’s services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’d like to learn more about sensitivity and its impacts for young people, you might also like my recent post We need to stop telling young people sensitivity is a bad thing.