There is nothing like that feeling when you know exactly what decision to make, your gut instinct firing full steam ahead. Unfortunately, it can often be followed by an instant thought of doubt, or the feeling is oh so subtle to begin with. This is usually your conscious brain fighting with your intuition, it can be very quick to jump in and shut down decisions. This counterative thought is usually a safety net and the flight response when something is uncomfortable. For me learning how to trust my gut has been so important for life changing decisions from pursuing my relationship with Chris to saving lives in the hospital.
Throughout this blog I’m going to talk more about what your intuition really is, how to trust it and ‘head vs. gut’ decisions.
What It Really Means to Trust Your Gut
A gut feeling can be scary sometimes but what it really is, is our intuition surfacing and telling us the answer, which we sometimes feel as a somatic (body) feeling. You know when you are taking a multiple choice test and you aren’t 100% sure but you choose one answer, then minutes later you go back and change it and then it ends up being wrong because you had it right originally? That was likely you not trusting your gut. Somewhere your mind knew the answer but because it wasn’t front of mind, or you weren’t able to recall it exactly you started to overanalyze. GUILTY here!
Our subconscious is a very powerful tool but it can be hard to channel. Intuition is not always fight or flight, it is you being in tune with what is going on around you, like thinking about someone and then two minutes later they call you or taking a different way home from work and missing a traffic jam. Intuition guides you through life without you even knowing it and most times you don’t get to know why you made one choice or the other, it just works out. Our subconscious is picking up and processing a million details that our mind isn’t noticing.
Getting Quiet to Tune In Through the Noise
It can be hard to listen to your gut when you have routine or there are outside factors influencing your decision. There is a lot of noise in this world that can make you doubt your choices and direct you to stick to the status quo, or simply make a decision based on what you think someone else would do or want you to do. Let’s be honest though, a lot of us would not be where we are today without listening to ourselves when making big decisions.
At some point you may have chosen a life partner, a house, where to go to college, to quit a job, to invest in something. In all the big decisions we reflect on as ‘good’ we probably also associate them with trusting ourselves and doing what we needed for us! If we feel like we made the wrong decision it’s probably because something else influenced us. Society is influencing us and pushing a specific way of life in our faces creating distractions from what we really want and it can be hard to see through this. That is why I find it so important to get in tune with your mind and body and ask yourself what you are really needing and wanting out of your life and figure out your way to get there! Write. It. Down. Read it. Reread it.
Head vs Gut Decisions
It is funny how physically and mentally your brain and gut are two of the most influential systems in your body. Have you ever heard someone say that death starts in the gut? This is more accurate for the physical side of body degeneration and proves that the brain has a say but the gut has control. Your brain is full of thoughts and projections but the gut is powerful and as we know the heart ‘wants what it wants’.
I think that our gut makes a decision before our brain can think. The brain/mind supports us in reason and logic which is obviously super important! We can logic through pros and cons, the information we know etc. We can’t reason with our gut or review the intuition. Our gut and our brain are often in line, they are not always fighting each other! Your gut says, “yes” and your brain follows with “here’s why”. As you go through life and learn to trust yourself more it will get easier. I promise. It can be easy to always lean towards the safer option but keep that intuition active and go with your gut.
Trusting my Intuition as an ER Doctor
As a doctor being able to listen to my gut is very important. There have been a number of times when I ordered a test or had a tiny sensation that told me to go down a path that I wouldn’t usually choose but ended up finding something very dire to my patient. There are times when I didn’t listen to that voice, and sure enough something undesirable happened. It only takes once or twice to realize you don’t mess around with second guessing, in medicine. Trusting your gut in the medical field is very important and it helps to make quick decisions. It can be easy to get swept up in co-worker or patient family questions and demands but trusting yourself and what you know will get you far better results. It can be hard to go against the obvious steps and protocols upon first examination of the patient but it is important to also consider all possibilities. Use your experience and listen to that little voice inside your head to do your job properly and advocate for your patient.
How Self Trust Helps You Make Big Life Decisions
It’s one thing to practice listening to your intuition to make a decision about which restaurant to go to and another thing to allow it to guide you in big decisions. There will be a time when that feeling is so prominent even when you, yourself, knows it is not the “normal” decision. You know it’s going to be hard, or scary and that’s your mind fighting back. But as long as those consequences aren’t hurting you or someone else intentionally, take the leap! Yes it’s normal to feel nervous, excited, and a bit scared when getting out of our comfort zone. You need to be your own hype girl/guy in these situations, talk yourself up and commit.
Trust me, not following through with something you know you should do can be harder to cope with in the long term than any blow-back you might get for doing what you wanted to do in the first place. Your gut is just as much you as your brain and is there to make the best decision with you in mind.
There is always a path for us, and it’s constantly changing based on every micro-decision we make. I can say for sure that when I trust myself, my decisions play out better. We don’t have to justify our choices, especially the ones we don’t understand, we just know. Trust your gut and keep moving forward in the path you choose, make yourself happy and put yourself first! It may not be tomorrow, or the next day, or even a few months later, but at some point in the future you will understand why you made or didn’t make a specific decision. Keep making the “right” decisions for you, and you will end up in a dreamy place you could have never imagined. It may not be easy getting there, but you can do it!
I’d love to know if this topic resonates. Do you feel like you trust your gut?