10 Things I Wish I Knew
When I Was Younger

By Katey Brooks

Don’t Rush
Rushing is the most counterproductive way of being, and yet we all do it. We think it saves us time, when in actual fact, on most occasions it slows us down because we have accidents, make mistakes or get sick from the stress. I’ve learned (and still sometimes forget) that slow and steady wins the race.

Do what you love, AND take care of business
I was irresponsible when I was younger. I confused doing what I loved with forgetting about paying bills and expecting the universe to abundantly provide without any accountability from me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realised there’s no magic genie who’s going to give me exactly what I want whenever I rub the lamp. Instead I have to get down to business, plan, graft, get humble, whilst doing what I love.

Trust people, but protect yourself always
By and large, I’ve always been very trusting and faithful in the human race. It’s a trait I inherited from my mother, and lovely as it is, can be dangerous at times.  Sometimes it’s the perfect balance, but often times, I’ve put faith in the wrong humans. What I’ve finally taken to heart after many years and burns, is to put my trust in actions not just words. Actions tell you pretty much everything you need to know about someone’s intentions, where words are too easy. If you’re wondering about someone’s intentions right at this very moment, be it personally or in business, take a scan of their behaviours. Look at their consistencies, and believe what they show you, be it good or bad. That has helped me no end.

Don’t be afraid to say NO
Big one for me. I don’t like hurting peoples’ feelings. In fact I spent much of my younger life doing the most crazy things trying to avoid that inevitability (it has to happen sometimes) What happens when I neglect the word ‘no’ when I need to use it, is that I’m saying no to myself, and I take a hit. Over the years I’ve done all kinds of abusive things to myself, just for fear of using that word. I can tell you now it wasn’t worth it just to avoid an uncomfortable moment or feeling. Learn to use it when your instincts tell you so.

Never fight the current
Growing up in the way that I did, I learned to be a fighter. I learned to survive. Now as much as I’m proud of my ability to do that, I’m also aware that in later life I took that ability and started refusing the status quo.  I began believing that if I only fought hard enough, I could have anything and do anything I wanted. The truth is, we’re told that a lot by motivational speakers etc, but it’s not always true, and that really is okay. My experience has been that fighting too hard (struggling) has exhausted me, and pushed away the good. On the other hand, letting go into the flow has brought towards me that which was truly intended for me. Things that were better for me, better than what I thought was best for me, and better than my wildest dreams. Don’t be afraid to let go into the abyss and see what comes your way.

ALWAYS listen to your body’s signals/intuition
My body ALWAYS, without fail, tells me what I need to know.  We’re animals. If we tune in, we go back to our animal instincts.  When something isn’t right, something in my body will tell me, it’s just up to me to listen.  I’m learning to listen, because when I do, magic happens. When I don’t, chaos, pain and struggle happens.  Listen to that amazing body of yours.

Feel
There have been a lot of things to feel in my life so far.  A lot of pain. No no, there are no tiny violins, just the honest truth.  But for the most part, I’ve kept away from the feelings. They were too much.  I think somewhere in my mind I thought painful feelings might kill me, that I might sink into the abyss and never come back.  I’ve suffered more in my life because of that. The saying “the only way out is through” is a cheesy sounding cliche for a reason – it’s true.  The fasttrack way through pain is to feel it. I’ve started to go there, I mean really go there when it comes up, and not only am I a happier person for it, I’m softer, gentler, more compassionate, and more real.  I’m thawing out. Do it. Feel it all, it turns out (contrary to what I used to believe!) it doesn’t kill you.

Don’t compare your insides to other peoples’ outsides
BIGGGG one.  We all do it don’t we?  Especially with this new era of social media. It’s everywhere – “look how great my life is!” Comparison in that way is the death of happiness.  Even if you have to detox from SM, do it, stop comparing. Your life is yours, you are you, focus on that. I’m telling myself that as much as I am to you the reader.  We all need to be reminded of this.

Love yourself – it makes for a much happier life
So loving yourself.  We’re all told it’s important, but many of us have no idea how to do it.  Well, I can only speak for myself, but I really think if this was something the human race did then we wouldn’t have half of the problems we do in the world.  For years I had zero idea of what that meant. Like “okay cool, but what does loving myself actually look like, and why?!! HOW?!! I hate myself” That was me for years.  Then I realised that if I didn’t learn to, I’d be unhappy forever. Literally forever. Depressing thought isn’t it. And I was unhappy, until I started to implement the actions of a person who loved themselves.  That was the thing, it had to start with actions. They say you have to “act your way into better thinking not think your way into better acting”, well this has definitely been true for me.  I started by using positive affirmations (Jason Stephenson – check his meditations out, they’re simple and powerful) and not only have they been changing my thoughts, but the simple action of doing them, is an act of loving myself. Everytime I take a hot bath, moisturise my skin, make myself a good meal, go for walk in nature, brush my hair even (!) that is an act of love.  The more I do (and it’s alway the simple stuff) the better I feel. And the better I feel about myself, the more I want to love myself. The two feed one another. Try it.

Practice the power of walking away when something doesn’t bring you joy on a regular basis
The word goodbye has never come easily to me.  Even when leaving a party I prefer to just disappear rather than officially leave.  Walking away feels painful.  It feels like an admittance that something wasn’t right even when at the time it was.  Change can feel gut wrenching.  Nostalgia can be hideously painful.  However, I’ve learned none of these things will kill me.  None of them will sap my soul.  Staying in a situation that is bad for me will.  Too many times I’ve stayed longer than I should, because I learned never to give up, to just keep going.  Resilience, what a wonderful thing, but no longer can I use that resilience to beat and damage myself with.  I’m learning the power of walking away, and wow does it feel good when you do it.  The strength you gain is a new kind, it’s a quiet, gentle strength.  Try it. 

katey brooks

Katey Brooks grew up in a cult and found refuge in song as a child. She is a singer-songwriter whose music details her romantic turbulence and the struggle to come to terms with her sexuality.

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