Gut feelings. I wish they had a better name referencing to some organ that could be associated with something more delightful. Probably its named after where we feel we notice the feeling the most. The soft feeling we are biased towards one direction or have a feeling something is wrong. We often don’t know where the feeling comes from, yet it is present. Gut feelings can up in various forms – some people call it intuition. It doesn’t always have to be in a negative such as twinging or tension in your gut or chest but also in the sense that you are able to breathe easier, or feel your shoulders relax. Or even perhaps you hear yourself say “this doesn’t feel right” or “I don’t know why but I like this”.
Research says that often we know things in the back of our mind – our brain is like a sponge, it picks up on all kinds of information yet to not overwhelm us, it filters out a lot of information as well. It’s like a google search, that only shows us the top results but actually there are 500 other pages you could click through for information. It is believed that the gut feeling is an aggregation of these pages. As it is hard to summarize, sometimes it is not clear. But a feeling is there.
I believe that not having a clear message is the main reason why we question our gut feelings – they don’t speak to us clearly “Don’t do this because XYZ has happened before”. We just get a feeling: Something is wrong or something doesn’t feel right. As we have no logical explanation why we feel this way – we disregard it. We question why it’s even there and if we should listen to it. Instead to consider it a valid guidance, we instead enforce self-doubt. It also makes it hard to also justify to other people why you made certain decisions. Telling people we quit a job because you didn’t like the vibe or decided to pursue a big investment due to a good feeling will make people think you are reckless. Can you imagine making all your decisions about your life based on your gut? Providing no rational explanation for any of them?
I haven’t yet explored living a life just following my gut. I wonder if I could – a tax paying, law abiding citizen. But one thing I do know for sure, we should all stop doubting our gut feeling. It is there for a reason and it doesn’t need to be interrogated as if it did something wrong. It is your mind, your body telling you some information that you already know, but can’t recall. Give it an ear, don’t ignore it. Perhaps don’t let it make a decision on its own but let it guide you as you would be guided by a trusting friend. At the end of the day, the only person that has lived our whole life, knows our experiences and how we handle them is only us. Remember to be your own best friend, trust yourself as you do others.