My Life Rules #1: Listen to Your Gut

by phoenixortheflame

If you read my previous My Life Rules post, this post will probably make sense. If not, you’re probably wondering, “Where’s the damn food?!” I know, right? I ask myself the same thing every day …

But to answer your question, the damn food is here, here, and even here. It’s just not here-here. See over the next couple of months, I’m going to be sporadically posting My Life Rules, a blog series sharing with you, my lovely readers, about the rules I’ve been attempting to follow in order to live (and love) more consciously.

The Rules are all mine, and they’ve helped me immensely over the past few months. Maybe they’ll help you, too. Maybe not. At the very least you’ll get a glimpse into my life and my journey.

Rule #1: Follow Your Gut
Intuition, animal instinct, gut feeling–whatever you want to call it–it’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach that tells you when something is just not working, or is working really well.

For years I thought I was missing it. Really, though, I just didn’t trust it, nor did I value it. See, it’s a scary thing to make life decisions–big and small–based on something so abstract that often defies logic and rationale.

On paper, the last relationship I was in made sense. He had a good job, a great family, and was handsome and generally a good person.

But for the greater part of the four-and-a-half years we spent together, I knew it wasn’t right. I knew it in my gut.

You might be thinking, “Wow, that’s a long time to stick with something that didn’t feel right.” And you’d be right. But as an often logic-driven person, I found many good reasons why I should keep going. Essentially, I rationalized away four years of my life. And I have a sneaking suspicion I’m not the only one who’s done this.

Now, to be clear, I have no regrets. As I mentioned in my first post, I was merely doing the best I could, as I know he was. But as someone told me after my split, two good people together don’t necessarily make a good couple. This is what my gut had been trying to tell me all along.

Toward the end of our relationship, I began hearing my intuition, and giving it a bit more credit. When my mom suggested I move in with her, I went with my gut and did it. Everything snowballed from there. Within a month my ex and I had split, and, although it was hard at first, I finally felt like myself again.

This was a huge Aha! moment for me. My gut was right. I thought, holy shit, you mean I had this all along, I just refused to exercise it up until now? I felt like I’d struck gold. I felt like Aladdin when he finds that underground palace full of treasure–except the dessert didn’t try to swallow me, and I got to keep all the treasure. Best. Day. Ever.

After this I began looking for other opportunities to exercise my gut decision-making skills. It was especially handy when looking for a roommate, which is a nerve-wracking task when a) you live in the suburbs and b) you resort to Craigslist.

I had a few people look at the place, one of which wanted to take the room I was renting out. But my gut said no. Actually, my gut yelled, “Hell the eff no!” But, like habit, I spent some time rationalizing why I should accept: I was on a time constraint, it was slim pickings in the suburbs, and I couldn’t afford the rent on my own.

Rather than letting my brain decide this time, I let my gut take control once more. I said, “No thanks, and good luck.” I had to trust that something else, something better, something that felt right would come along. Sure enough, just a few days later I was contacted by my now roommate. She was just what I was looking for. And if I hadn’t trusted my gut I would have never found her, or I would have, but I’d have already made other commitments.

So, these are two examples in my life where my gut really came into play. Have you had a similar experience with your gut? When has listening to your gut paid off? I’d love to hear your stories!

And keep posted for Rule #2: If You Don’t Know What to Do, Do Nothing.