Should you trust your gut?

Lady holding tea lights for guidance, Finding the path, Decision making

So I have decided to put pen to paper and write my first Medium piece. My topic of choice, trusting your gut! This is not a scientific or psychological piece but it is based on my experiences and what I have read and learnt.

‘Trust your gut’ sounds like one of those fluffy sayings people like to say when they are encouraging you. I am sure I have rolled my eyes once or twice when someone has said it to me. But be assured, when people advise you to trust your gut, listen to them, they are not completely mad! I am here to tell you to trust your gut as well. Sometimes the gut feeling is indicative of a good situation. Sometimes the gut is warning us of danger. And if it smells like a rat, sounds like a hyena, moves like a gorilla, its a monster, run! Or at least, tread very carefully.

Now, this piece might lean towards dating and relationships, however, this can be applied to multiple situations. In the workplace, with our friendships or in business. I watched an interview with the physician and author, Gabor Mate where he talked about trusting your gut. He said it was there to protect you in life and I believe it is true.

Here why I think it is hard to trust your gut, why we should listen to the gut and how we can use it as guide.

1. Trusting your gut is not based on hard evidence.

However, it is led by small bits of information we come across or the non-verbal cues we get from people. When something is off, it is usually based off little bits of information that your mind has gathered or behaviours you will have observed. I remember watching a scene from the BBC programme Dr Foster whereby she finds a blonde strand of hair on her husband’s scarf. I must point out she had dark coloured hair. Immediately, she knew something was wrong. Now I know this is a fictional story, but it helps to convey my point. The small fact was that there was a hair on his coat. But it was not evidence that her husband was cheating. Have you had an experience whereby someone was acting a little shifty and you knew in your gut something was not quite right? Well, you picked up on this shifty behaviour and your gut told you something was off. You should take note. The gut is not necessarily a mystical feeling, but you will have observed something and you feel your stomach drop.

2. Tread carefully and do your research.

Now that you have gathered these small bits of information because trusting the gut is not based on hard evidence that satisfies us, you can indulge yourself in some research. Ask direct questions to the parties in question. If you do not ask you will never know.

Someone holding a magnifying glass with a laptop open (research, investigation)

If you are dating someone ask those questions. Please go and perform your research on the person too, research the business, find your own answers. I am not joking here. The internet will give you answers. I think we all secretly do it anyway. That is why companies perform credit searches and due diligence checks before going into business. As an individual, you should too. Go through social media profiles if you must. Google their name if you can. However, within reason, so that you do not know their full life story (particularly if you are in the early stages of dating). If you are dating someone, and you felt something was not quite right, is it worth snooping to find answers? It is completely up to you, however if you go looking you will find. Now is it not better to find the truth and answers rather than living in darkness. Some would say if you are having to find answers is it worth dating them? No is the obvious answer. We do not have to stay in situations that actually make us anxious. However, in reality, it is not that simple because we do not always cut people off because we felt ‘something was off’. Unless they are treating you badly or there are clear signs that something is wrong, we simply never just leave. I think we are human and often want to give people the benefit of the doubt. So this applies to anything, do your due diligence on people, potential business partners or at least tread carefully if something feels off.

3. Act on the evidence you have found.

Now you can act on the evidence you have found. If it’s a good gut feeling, you can rest, you do not have to do anything. But if it’s a bad gut feeling, you deal with it. Confront the person or cut off ties if you are dating. This applies to any situation.

Here’s the part where trusting your gut will help you. Let’s say you have asked the questions and done the research; however, you still feel like you are being lied to or manipulated, you may need to blindly trust your gut to protect yourself. People have no problem lying to your face or omitting information. You can stay there and allow the situation to reveal itself. However, someone correctly put it this way, ‘You may never know the ending when you act on trusting your gut, but it will protect you.’ So use this gut feeling to protect yourself. Ask, seek and you will find, or at least be hopefully led to the truth.

Please note that if you are an overthinker or a naturally anxious person, you might be prone to other behaviours that can make you question the intentions of everyone. The anxious thoughts may potentially be confused with gut feelings. There are ways in which someone can learn to distinguish between anxious thoughts and actual gut feelings. I have linked an article here which can help navigate between the two.

In conclusion, should we trust our gut, definitely. But should we make rash decisions solely based on it, absolutely not. We move carefully with it. We should discern between the good and the bad gut feelings. We should simply (or rather not so simply) use the gut feeling to help navigate and steer through whatever situation we are facing whether it’s a good gut feeling or a bad gut feeling. But above all, pay attention to it! I leave you with 2 quotes I came across my readings.

‘Always trust your gut, it knows what your head hasn’t figured out.’

‘Always trust your gut feelings as they never lie as people do.’

Someone standing on top of a hill / mountain with a path they have walked behind them

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Starting afresh with new concepts and ideas that I have been working on. I have archived some stories and heading in a new direction.

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Brenda M

Brenda M

Starting afresh with new concepts and ideas that I have been working on. I have archived some stories and heading in a new direction.