“If our hearts and minds are so unreliable, maybe we should be questioning our own intentions and motivations More. If we’re all wrong, all the time, then isn’t self-skepticism and the rigorous challenging of our own beliefs and assumptions the only logical route to progress?” ~Mark Manson
I often hear people encourage others with the following advice: “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.”
Don’t get me wrong: I see where they’re coming from when they say it. We are often dissuaded to listen to our instincts far too often. Too often, we succumb to the pressure of achieving what others want. Our true desires and needs are often overlooked. We talk the inner voice away in favor of what’s expected of us.
But I can see that this wise nugget is able to eliminate grey areas. Even though it may be more simplistic than the reality, this insight can still prove to be useful for people who are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Sometimes, a “maybe” or an “underwhelmed answer is what it means I don’t really want to do this.It can also refer to I’m having complicated feelings that are worth unpacking and investigating.
Sometimes we feel uncomfortable with taking part in activities that may be out of our comfort zone, even though they might help us grow. Activities we enjoy can be affected by our moods and current difficulties.
For instance, back in college, when I was suffering from severe depression, there wasn’t any pull for me to exercise. anything—Not even the hobbies I once loved. Jogging, running and other activities are not for me. It is not my job to prepare nutritious meals. Any experience outside my safety zone is not an opportunity for me.
These are the only things I have ever mentioned Hell Yes to were invitations to go out and get wasted at house parties with friends—which, needless to say, made my depression even worse and perpetuated a vicious cycle.
I wasn’t Hell yes!About healthy things. Only drinking and trying to escape my pain elicited a passionate response.
If I had misapplied the above advice, I might still be drinking in problematic ways and eschewing more mindful activities that align with my values, simply because I don’t always feel Hell yes! You can do them.
Another example is a friend who said that she spends hours reading before going to bed every night for weeks. However, she loses her interest in reading when she is involved with a Netflix series. Reading loses its appeal. Does this mean she doesn’t like reading? Does this mean she prefers television?
I don’t think it is. Then again, I don’t think it is. DoWhat it really means is that those who engage in passive consumption are often prone to addictive behaviors.
As David Foster Wallace wrote: “Television’s biggest minute by minute appeal is that it engages without demanding. You can be stimulated and rest at the same time. Receive without giving.”
Other examples: I’m drawn to sugar. Consuming it “feels right.” Picking up a celery stick feels more difficult. It doesn’t come as naturally.
I hesitated at times in 2012 before moving to Uruguay.
2019 was the year I realized how much planning, work and money would be involved. I felt reluctant to go on vacation to Mexico City. Doubts and conflicting feelings dampened my “hell yes” into a “I don’t know, maybe….” shortly after my friend invited me.
But, did I go? It’s true! Yes! It is also yes. Yes. 100 percent.
My point is this: don’t Please let ambivalence or a lack of “hell yes” convince you that you must just notIt is reallyWant to do something.
For those of us with mental health struggles, it’s important to develop trust in our inner knowing; however, it’s also important to remember that our not always benevolent impulses sometimes masquerade as wise intuition.
We never know the root cause of a negative feeling we feel. What does it mean?It could also be spelled as. You could interpret it to be many things. It is impossible to give clear directions because instincts are not taught.
That’s why it’s so hard to “just listen to them.” Listen to what? What action do we take in response to “this feels bad”?
For those with addictive tendencies or a past history of mental illness, the immediate impulses or strong reactions can sometimes be overwhelming and warrant additional investigation before action is taken or blindly obeyed. It’s just not always true that they unequivocally have our best long-term interests in mind.
A lack of an instant “hell yes” doesn’t necessarily signify that something isn’t right for us. It’s important that we allow room in our lives for the grey area, so as to ultimately act in alignment with our highest selves.
Eleni, a queer bilingual writer was born in San Francisco. Since elementary school, Eleni has been writing. She used to hand out magazines and stories to her classmates. Her writing has appeared in The Mighty Thought Catalogue. Elephant Journal. Uncomfortable Revolution. You can follow her on IG eleni_steph421 and read stories from her time as a rideshare driver at lyfttales.com
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