Go With Your Gut – What Does It Really Mean?


by Dr. Vicki Handfield~Go with your gut – how many times have you heard that?  What if you can’t find your gut?  It’s so easy to say – go with your gut – but what does it mean and what do you do when you have no way to know what you really feel, what you really want?

We’ve all had times of being torn to shreds over a major choice or decision. Ending a relationship or marriage? Deciding whether to have an abortion? How to act when anticipating seeing the murderer of a loved one? 

Those are really on the high end of the volatility range; there are many others that are still extremely difficult. Knowing you’ll see an ex or your spouse’s ex at a gathering? Or a family member with whom you’ve had a major falling-out.  Then there are choices that are life-changing, like picking a college to attend, deciding about a job offer, a relocation decision, you get the idea.
It’s easy to say – go with your gut – not always easy to do!

We have all experienced listening to others, or listening to other voices inside ourselves rather than our own, true self’s voice. We’ve all had times of saying, “Oh, I really did know, why didn’t I listen to myself?”  So, how can you go about finding your gut answer, gut response, gut knowledge?

Shift from thinking to feeling. Again, sounds easy but for most of us it’s not easy at all. We have been trained to think much more than feel. Some of us are more sensitive, more apt to feel more and to be aware of what we feel. Many are much less tuned in to our senses. I believe that we often overeat because we are hungry to feel more, we want more sensation.

We are taught from early ages to think for ourselves. School teaches us to think, remember, calculate, speculate, etc., etc.  Our society also emphasizes planning for the future, constantly.  We truly have no idea what the future will bring; it’s vital to be in the present moment as often as possible. This is an important aspect of “balance” that is now being talked about a lot, which is a very positive development.

There certainly is nothing wrong with thinking, it’s just a good idea to also feel. Feelings are a major component of intuition and wisdom. There are emotions and physical feeling, sensations, body knowledge. Changes and sensations in our bodies can tell us a lot, can lead us in very useful directions.

So, if you are not feeling a lot, what can you do about it? First, accept that these are habits of a lifetime and change slowly; be kind to yourself about it. One of the most difficult things to deal with is frustration that rises up when we expect too much of ourselves.
Then, begin to spend just a few minutes a day being quiet and just feeling what you feel. Saying it is way easier than doing it.

We are so programmed to think all the time, and that’s what a human brain does. When we first start to sit quietly, we automatically start thinking of tasks that need to be done. Gently bring yourself back to the present moment and just notice what it feels like to make that transition, even for a few seconds. Try doing this, which is one form of meditation, for five minutes. Notice if you start to feel tightness somewhere in your body, which tells you that a part of you is rebelling, frightened, uncomfortable with this new activity. Just pay attention and notice what you feel. Later on you can learn more about what this means. For now, just notice it.

It can take a short time, it can take a long time; there can be a lot of variability, depending on what’s going on with you, physically, mentally, emotionally and what’s happening in your life. Some people are just naturally more sensitive than others, we have different roles in life – they aren’t “good” or “bad”, just different.

Over time, as you become more attuned to your inner self, your true being – you will find that you just “know” what to do more often. You will have a deeper feeling of trust in yourself, you will be more relaxed more often. You may still not always know what your gut says, but you will be learning more about yourself, your “gut” feelings. The learning process continues throughout our lives, as long as you are on your path you will feel better about yourself and about your purpose in life.

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About Dr. Vicki Handfield

Dr. Vicki provides personal development coaching in Health and Wellness and Business Behavior Modification; for more than 25 years, she has been a clinical psychologist in private practice. Dr. Vicki works with people individually, in relationships and families as well as groups, in her office or by phone/webinar/skype. Dr. Vicki deeply enjoys helping people to grow in naturally exciting ways; learning to live passionately and compassionately is a beautiful, challenging and constant process. She often will share her own struggles with clients, as an aid to working together and as a comfort – we all have struggles in life, which can be very difficult as well as very joyous. www.burlingtonclinicalpsychology.com

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