You know one thing I feel it is vital to instil in our children? A belief and trust in their gut instinct. It is a feeling our society doesn't give much credence to anymore - and to our detriment in my humble opinion. Our inner voice, that Jiminy cricket conscience on the shoulder, the stomach gnaw, that sickly feeling, just that KNOWING that really can't be ignored...these are integral aspects of our person-ness that we have lost a connection to. Is it even valued anymore? Are we afraid to listen if it means we are acting against the crowd?
In one of the biggest jobs we ever get - parenting - one major thing I feel I did well was to encourage my daughter to trust herself. Her gut. Nothing clever or explicable really, just a knowing. Whatever the outcome I told her, I will always be on your side if you felt you needed to act on your gut instinct. Trust it. If you're with friends and your inner voice starts to whisper, or shout, listen. Do what needs to be done.
My own experience is that once I began to listen (once it was shouting so loudly I couldn't ignore any longer), we, my gut and me, have become sensitively attuned to one another. I can't act for long against my inner voice anymore because it gets so uncomfortable and loud so quickly. I feel it - all scratchy and in my throat, and pulling me all out of kilter. It s so much easier to listen, then things feel smooth and all my cells kind of simply relax. There is an equilibrium that feels good.
When we don't know to listen, we don't recognise it, or we identify it wrongly, and often as anxiety or illness. I've seen this at the core of much work with various people in art therapy - people who come for all manner of reasons but once they've worked through getting to know their own inner voice, and trusting it, their issues subside.
It takes guts to listen to your gut. But I would start - it has a wisdom beyond words.