I went hiking with my friend Heidi yesterday. We decided to do a shorter hike so we could sit and talk at the top while enjoying some amazing views and catching up with each other because I hadn’t seen her since Christmas time. The pictures are from the hike where we sat – not too shabby! I’ve met a few strong, intelligent, down-to-earth women in my life, but Heidi is right up there at the top. I admire her so much for her wisdom, and she said something yesterday that stuck with me and is the topic of today’s blog…trust your gut. She’d been looking to buy a house, and learned the hard way the first time by not trusting her gut about a certain house, which ended up infested with termites soon after she purchased it. Now she’s looking again and suddenly said to me, “You know what? I really just need to trust my gut, because I already know what it’s saying, and the house I looked at this morning is not the right one for me.”
The more I thought about her words, the more I realized that I’d stopped listening to my gut, let alone trusting it, a while ago. I often find myself doing and saying what I feel like I should, not necessarily what I know or feel is right for me. According to one study, intuition is the result of the way our brains store, process and retrieve information on a subconscious level and so is a real psychological phenomenon. Researchers conclude that intuition is the brain drawing on past experiences and external cues to make a decision – but one that happens so fast the reaction is at a non-conscious level. All we’re aware of is a general feeling that something is right or wrong. You hear stories all the time about a girl who had a bad feeling about a man, and then later discovered he was a serial rapist. Or doctors who make a surgery decision based on their gut and save lives.
When we face a fork in the road of Life and have to choose one way or the other, our gut often knows what we want or what’s best for us. I’ve looked back on tough decisions I made that I took a long time to deliberate, and I see that I really knew what I wanted all along, I just didn’t listen to my gut. So how to hone this important little skill? I definitely know what not to do. Don’t shush yourself up, don’t live on the should train, don’t cram your life with so much noise that you can’t hear yourself think, and don’t continually go to others asking what they would do. Thus the to-do list is relatively straightforward. Listen to yourself, and give yourself the space in your life to hear your own thoughts. Don’t drown out your own voice through tv and movies and social events. Trust in yourself. It’s always good to get another perspective on your life when you share with friends and family, but you can’t lean entirely on their suggestions or opinions…because Lord knows there’s plenty of those out there! Your opinion for your own life is the one you should listen to first and foremost. Of course your friends and family are there for you and (hopefully) want the best for you, but they are not in your head, and they are not you. What do you think? Write it down. Come back to it and see if it’s changed…I’ll bet it hasn’t if you were honest with yourself. This is my goal – to start listening to my gut, and then to take action with what I know to be right for me.