Don't Trust Your Gut
Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Its synonyms include words like a “hunch,” a “feeling in one’s bones,” or a suspicion or notion. Another way to describe intuition is that “going with your gut feeling.”
You’ll just know, they tell you.
Follow your heart, they say.
You just have to trust your gut, they mime.
As if any of those are easy to figure out. Our entire lives we’ve been told to go with our gut and in one flashing Eureka moment last week, I realized that sometimes our gut is wrong.
I remember being so certain once about a decision. My intuition told me I was making the right choice. My head and my heart synced up for their joint seal of approval. Every part of my physical body told me I was on the right track. But I wasn’t.
I wasn’t making a good decision. But the warning signs weren’t there. I had no doubts. I had no uneasy concerns. I was trusting my gut and boy was my gut on board.
Then, I can think of another time when I was scared out of my mind. Every part of me wondered if I was about to do something terrible. I couldn’t help but feel like I was walking into a mistake. That “mistake” turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
All of this has made me reevaluate the way we view our intuition and decision making process. Trusting your gut sounds like a good thing, in theory, but it isn’t an accurate end all/be all for who we are. The world is only black and white in old western movies. And even then, real life was in color.
Think of where you are in your life right now. Think of all the seemingly harmless decisions it took to get you there. Can you imagine if you had grown up in a different public school system? Can you imagine if you had attended a different college or not gone to college at all? What if you quit that job? What if you took that job? What if you spent less time doing this and more time doing that? What if you hadn’t met that one person who flipped your entire world upside down?
I think sometimes we get so concerned about making these really big decisions that we become paralyzed and anxious. We want a sign. We want a gut feeling. We want to know with certainty that we’re making the right choice.
Of course, there’s no way to know that. And there isn’t always even one “right choice” to be made. Take the pressure off yourself. Make your decision and be done. State your case and stick to it. And then make the best out of it, out of every single moment.
Maybe we shouldn’t be trusting our gut as much as we should be just asking it for a second opinion. Conferring with the head and the heart and the best friend. But maybe more than anything, we should trust the decision. Trust that when you make a bad one you can get out and that when you make a good one you will savor every second of bliss. And when you’re somewhere in between? Well, keep making the hard choices. Keep exploring.
Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably on the right track.