You know, that deep-seated centrally located area that creates a little voice in your head saying, “No, don’t do that.” or “Yes, you must.”
It’s important to distinguish when your gut is speaking versus your heart or your brain… because heart and brain are pretty loud. The gut is like the quiet, reserved Grandpapa who usually keeps quiet unless it’s something pretty darn important. Think of your heart as your emotional grandmother that Grandpa is trying to hush, and your brain is your chatty mother who can’t stop telling you want to do, trying to interpret what Grandpapa and Grandma are saying.
Anyway, back to dear old gut. Gut is the guy who rarely makes an appearance. He speaks only when necessary. He tells you the truth and just cuts to the chase. Your role, is to weed out the chatter from the rest of the group and really listen to him- because he actually knows best.
So how do you weed out the emotional chatter from your heart and the logical chatter of your brain?
You listen. Feel. Ask. Here are some ways you might use your gut.
You take a bite of chicken salad/oyster/etc. The first thing that pops into your head/out your mouth is “this tastes funny.” Instead of taking another bite and shrugging that feeling off- no matter how hungry you are- STOP and put the sandwich down. Your body will thank you for it. If your gut is telling you there is something wrong with this, don’t ignore it, just stop. How many of you would keep eating anyway, only to find yourself with a whole bevy of digestive/puking issues later in the day? (You can read about my adventures with that here).
This experience can also come in a situation with a person, place, thing… not just food… if your gut is feeling uneasy and is giving you hints of trouble… about someone, about the place you’re in. Listen to it. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember, the gut speaks loudly when it is a very important situation.
This is a little trickier because heart loves to be involved in all these decisions, and brain has to put in her two cents. Oh yes, heart and brain LOVE meddling with your gut on this topic.
I wouldn’t wholly discount heart and brain. They have some points. The place where I’d listen to the gut most?
1) Is this the right guy/girl/situation?
2) Is this the wrong guy/girl/situation?
2) My person is being unfaithful/something is up?
I think a lot of these situations start out like the food situation… the voice. The voice says, “this seems funny.” But we don’t put down the sandwich. Then, since unlike food poisoning, there is no physical reaction… our gut creates one. We have that ‘sinking’ feeling in that area. A dull pain. Something physical indicating that the gut is really trying to tell us something. If you ignore that feeling, I don’t know what to tell you. If you listen- you may save yourself some time, heartache, etc. Your brain can rationalize with your gut all day, but that ache’s not going to go away until you listen to it. Match.com/yahoo wrote a short little article on this. Listen to dear old gut. He knows!
Whether it’s something you want to go for/change up/buy, but something seems off… in making a business decision, changing jobs, buying an investment… the gut likes to talk in these circumstances, so be ready for him. And once you hear him, fight for his voice because again, he’s usually spot on.
Here’s an article about the producer of Seinfeld listening to his gut and sticking to it.
I recall looking for condos in Seattle and finding one I really liked, but my gut was holding me back on it. I decided against it – finding out later that the building was on an earthquake fault line (uh, not good) and insurance wouldn’t cover it. I also remember having a gut feel about my current job- that I had to go for it- and so I did, and never looked back. Listen to your gut!!
Other areas to go with your gut:
1) Telling you to do something- like help someone. Do you see someone injured, stranded, having a problem? Your gut is going to tell you to go help that person if you are meant to do so.
2) Telling you to run- now. I remember as a crossing guard in fourth grade, I was walking back alone up the steep quarter-mile driveway to our school and just feeling a car slowly driving behind me. My gut kicked in – and I ran. I ran to the nearest house I could find and rang the door bell. The car drove off (and to creep you out more it was a man in an old green station wagon). I just knew I had to get away. And I listened.
3) Your gut is good at telling you something is wrong- whether it is a food, person, or place. Traveling alone, I once got into a train station at 3am in Nice, France, and opted to wait in the station until my train arrived at 5am. Sitting in the corridor, my gut began telling me I shouldn’t be in that place at this time of day. I immediately got up in a bit of a panic wondering what my ‘better’ alternatives were, and I as I emerged the station, I found the most delightful hotel across the street. I checked in and ended up taking a later train, having a wonderful night’s sleep… and as a result of the later train, ended up meeting my travel mates for the next week.
Strengthen that gut.
Of course there’s a yoga plus here. Your gut coincidentally falls in your Manipura Chakra/Solar Plexus. Guess what manipura controls? Self-confidence, bliss, self-assurance, knowledge, career, wisdom and the ability to make correct decisions. Gaining self-confidence and strength in this core area, strengthens the gut voice- making it clearer and stronger. See my blog post on core, if you are interested in developing this area.
The moral of this story? The next time your dear old gut speaks, just take a listen. He’s probably right.