Trusting Your Gut

This blog was written by Recovery Help Now’s Leslie Kolb, MSW, ASW

They say that hindsight is 20/20, but have you ever looked back at a failed relationship and wondered how you didn’t see the warning signs? Maybe you’ve wondered why you missed all the red flags about that person that should have been one big warning to run in the other direction.

Sometimes it’s easy to be blinded by love, or more often, by lust. You’re only human—being sexually and spiritually attracted to someone can be a powerful force. And that force can sometimes be so powerful that you don’t clearly see the person for who they truly are, or whether that person can be a positive addition to your life. It’s very easy to get caught up in the rush of excitement and desire and overlook one of your most important tools as a human—your gut instinct.

But how can you better pay attention to your gut amidst the tornado of feelings and pheromones that is new love? Initially, it may be a deliberate exercise to sit down, quiet your mind, and pay attention. Maybe it’s a little voice inside your head, or maybe it’s truly a feeling deep down in your gut (they don’t call it a gut instinct for nothing). No matter how you sense it, your instinct is exactly that—a sense—and can be developed and honed over time to benefit you.

Practicing mindfulness can be a great way to become more in touch with your instinct. Our daily lives are fraught with tasks, chores, appointments, obligations. It can be hard to escape from the intense modern lifestyle unless you purposely take a break, like twenty minutes alone each day. If your household is chaotic, sit in backyard or even in the car (not while driving). Even if you have to wear noise-cancelling headphones, find a way to take some quiet time to yourself.

Once you’ve found that quiet time, focus on your breathing, and let the obligations of the day fall away. They’ll be there when you return. Breathe and be present. As you feel yourself relax and re-center, notice if you feel pulled in one direction or another. (This can really be used for any decisions, not just romantic ones.) This isn’t about weighing the facts, and it’s not about pros and cons. It’s simply about what feels best for you. What feels right, in that moment, without the world buzzing all around you?

RHN_Trusting Your GutThe more you can exercise mindfulness, the more natural it will feel to you, and the more evident your instinct will feel. Practice, and you will hone your ability to pay attention to your deepest self. You might be surprised at how wise you truly are.

Elana Clark-Faler
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