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Fact or Feeling?

We've all felt it, that undeniable tug in our stomachs, the whisper of "maybe not" amid a chorus of "go for it!" It's our intuition, that compass honed by experience and attuned to subtle currents that logic often misses. But here's the rub: this gut wisdom, while crucial, can morph into a double-edged sword, leaving us stranded in a land of misinterpretations and self-doubt.

How, you ask? It all boils down to our tendency to over-rely on this inner oracle, neglecting the role of logic in navigating life's labyrinth. Imagine navigating a dark forest with only our gut flashlight – we might miss the crucial path hidden just beyond the beam, lured by shadows woven from our anxieties and overthinking.

Let me give you a simple example, imagine you are walking down the street and you notice your friend passing by on their bike. Naturally, you’ll wave at them but what happens when they don’t wave back at you?

You might feel ignored by your friend, you might then think that your friend ignored you intentionally because they don’t like you and then you’ll start recalling how your friend hasn’t reached out to you in the last month and start thinking that your friend has started avoiding you because they don’t like you and maybe they are angry at your or what if they hate you, maybe they hate you because you are a bad person, right?

Wrong! A very simple and logical answer is that your friend might not have seen you or maybe they couldn’t recognise you as they were driving.

This daily dance with doubt isn't just stressful; it's inefficient. We become lost in a labyrinth of "maybes" and "what ifs," while the clock ticks and opportunities pass us by. We miss promotions because we overthink our qualifications, let friendships fade because we dissect every conversation, and ultimately, sabotage our own happiness by constantly questioning it.

The culprit behind this self-inflicted torment often lies in our deeply ingrained negative thinking patterns. We default to the worst-case scenario, magnifying flaws and filtering experiences through a pessimistic lens. A friendly email becomes a passive-aggressive jab, a colleague's silence morphs into simmering resentment, and a missed call triggers a storm of self-doubt. These knee-jerk reactions, fuelled by negativity, make us jump to conclusions and build narratives fuelled by anxieties instead of facts.

Challenging these patterns can be tricky. But with conscious effort and self-compassion, we can slay this emotional beast. Start by catching yourself in the act of overthinking. Notice the negative narratives spinning in your head and gently question their validity. Ask yourself, "Is this thought based on evidence, or am I projecting my fears onto the situation?" This pause, this space for skepticism, allows logic to infiltrate the emotional stronghold and shed light on the reality of the situation.

Remember, our feelings are valid, but they shouldn't be the sole arbiters of our decisions. They are colourful brushstrokes on the canvas of reality, not the entire picture. By nurturing a healthy skepticism towards our negativity and fostering a dialogue between emotion and reason, we can transform our daily choices from a battlefield of doubt into a dance of informed, confident action. It's a journey, not a destination, but every step away from overthinking and towards clear-headed decision-making brings us closer to a life guided by wisdom, not fear.

Imagine Mr. "Love-at-First-Glance," who ignored red flags in his new relationship, trusting a gut feeling fuelled by infatuation. This emotional hijack is a classic trap. Intense feelings, be it fear, anger, or excitement, can warp our perception and turn our intuition into a fickle passenger demanding reckless detours.

Remember, your gut and logic are partners, not rivals. When they work together, they become a formidable duo, guiding you towards clarity, confidence, and ultimately, towards fulfilling your true potential. So, listen to your gut, but don't forget to engage your brain. Together, they'll lead you through life's labyrinth, helping you avoid the perilous shadows and arrive at your sunlit destination.

So, the next time a thought is bothering you, just take a moment to pause and ask yourself: Is it fact or feeling?

-Muskan Santwani

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