Anna Kloots On The Importance Of Listening To Your Inner Voice In Relationships - Exclusive

Travel influencer and author Anna Kloots has had the good fortune to travel the world, from her native Ohio to homes in London and Paris to luxury cruises around the world. From the public image she conveyed to her many social media followers as she toured with her magician husband, she seemed to be having an amazing time.

But during her years of travels with her husband, she was hiding a secret that was hard to admit even to herself: She was miserable. While she loved the travel and exploration and discovery of her lifestyle, she was feeling increasingly isolated and unseen in her marriage. She found she couldn't even seek companionship from the many people accompanying them on their travels, who were all colleagues and fans of her husband and saw her as little more than an extension of him.

In her book "My Own Magic," Kloots shares the difficult but inspiring story of how she struggled to save her marriage before ultimately discovering how to carve her own path in the world. In an exclusive interview with The List, she shared the relationship advice she would have given her younger self.

Her first mistake was not prioritizing her own values

During her relationship and marriage, Anna Kloots made the same mistake many of us do: ignoring all the red flags emerging in the relationship and continuing to plow forward, either out of infatuation or a misplaced sense of obligation. It was her first serious relationship, she explained, so she didn't know any better.

"I was 19 when I met my ex-husband, and in so many ways, I was still completely a kid," she said. "I wasn't fully aware yet of how important some of the things were to me that I ended up very willingly trading away to please someone else or to fit in with someone else's lifestyle. We do this in relationships, especially our first couple relationships, our young relationships."

She added that the excitement of a new romance made it easy to lose touch with her own values and priorities. "I was so inebriated with this person I had met that I was willing to be what he wanted in someone more than what I knew I needed to be, to be me."

Her top relationship advice: Don't ignore your gut instincts

Looking back now, Anna Kloots has plenty of advice for her teenage self. "Boy, there's a lot I would tell myself. Mostly, it would be to not be afraid to set those boundaries and to not invalidate your own feelings," she said. "I spent so many years feeling something and instantly finding a way to talk myself out of it or dismissing it as not valid for whatever reason, rather than listening to what was very clearly my deep self talking to me."

Thus, a related piece of advice for her younger self would be to listen to that inner voice. "I tuned that out so easily, and that's how I eventually realized I had completely lost sight of myself — because I had stopped listening to my inner voice and what I knew was right for me and was what I wanted," she said. "I would say, 'When that girl starts talking, you listen. You don't invalidate those feelings. Don't cast those needs aside for anybody else. Those things are what make you shine, they're what make you grow, and you need to honor and feed and listen to that voice.'"

"My Own Magic" will be available from HarperCollins on May 16.