In relationships, when should you trust your gut instincts?
For that matter, HOW do you turn off those feelings?
What we’re talking about here are those nagging thoughts that won’t go away–the feeling that something bad is about to happen (or already has happened)–and you’re constantly on the look out for evidence to prove it!
Here’s a question from a guy who is struggling with trusting his gut instincts and our take on it…
***QUESTION FROM A READER:
“Well I feel like I am always trying to prove my gut instincts right. It makes me feel unloved when I get this way. Yet I have never had any reason to prove my partner is doing anything wrong.”
This is a problem we’ve heard over and over, especially when there are jealousy and trust issues.
Before we get into some practical tips, we want to help you get really clear where your “gut instincts” are coming from–because they may or may not be reliable information to pay attention to.
According to a study from the journal “Nature Neuroscience,” when we have gut instincts, we may be accessing memories we’re not even aware of.
So if you have been cheated on in the past or found out that your parent cheated, you may have absorbed those memories into your subconscious mind and probably your conscious mind as well.
You might not even be aware of where these “memories” came from.
When a situation comes up that triggers a recognition of something from a past memory that may not even be
conscious–maybe your partner working late or even talking with someone in a quiet voice on the phone, your gut instincts kick in and you get that old, familiar feeling of fear and dread.
You feel like you have to be hyper-vigilant because it’s just happening again.
You feel like you’ll be cheated on and left–again.
So if your gut instincts draw on memories, conscious and subconscious ones, when do you act on them and trust them and when do you disregard them?
The truth is that sometimes your gut instincts really do serve you and you need to pay attention to them–but how do you know the difference?
When do you know when to listen and when not to?
What do you do with your gut feelings if you choose to ignore them?
Here are some ways to help you decide whether to listen to what your gut instincts are telling you…
1. Your feelings come from your thoughts even though you may not be aware of them–and thoughts come and go.
Knowing that your thoughts come and go is the first step to discerning whether to pay attention to them or not. Also knowing that you have a certain pattern of thinking that you fall into can be helpful as well and if that pattern is full of fearful thinking, give yourself a break from it.
2. Recognize what “knowing” feels like to you.
In the past, there has probably been a time when you just knew to do something or not do something and it turned out to be the “right” course of action for you. There is a difference between your inner knowing and your mind chatter. Start noticing what that difference is.
3. Identify if maybe what you are calling your “gut instincts” might really be voices of the ghosts of the past that you may be hearing in your head.
We’re not talking about mental illness here, we’re talking about what we call our “self-talk” (we all do it).
Sometimes this “self-talk” can be pretty negative about our ability to find and keep love.
Because of experiences of the past, you might tell yourself that you aren’t lovable, everyone cheats, you have to be constantly on the look out for signs of cheating–and if you let down your guard, it will happen.
So, take a moment and listen to whether you’re hearing negative, head-based self-talk or something else.
That’s not to say that you aren’t feeling real sensations of probably fear in your “gut” but it is saying that these
sensations may come from what’s going on in your head.
If you’re listening to negative self-talk and you know this talk to be unfounded in the reality of your current situation, you can change it–and you do it by challenging one thought at a time.
4. Listen to your gut instincts when you can see some signs to substantiate it, especially if you have a history of allowing unfounded fear to rule your life.
If you actually see signs like these, then pay attention:
–your partner is avoiding you, is choosing other activities rather than being with you
–criticizes you or fights with you more frequently
–talks a lot about a co-worker or a friend of the opposite sex and you’re not feeling close and connected
If you see signs like these, it’s time to talk with your partner about your relationship and what you’d like it to be–and some ways to improve it.
If you don’t see these signs and know that you are creating the turmoil inside you, know that when you settle down it will pass.
It really comes down to if you want to keep re-creating false fears in your body and then acting on them–or if you want to choose freedom and to change.
Change can happen–and it can happen one moment at a time.
So what about your gut instincts?
Your “gut instincts” can your best friend or they can be your worst enemy–and they can change from moment to moment and day to day.
We suggest that you pay attention to your gut instincts through a filter of whether there’s any evidence whatsoever to back up your feelings or not–and whether they have led you down the wrong path time and time again.
These gut feelings might be showing you what to pay more attention to or they could be the places that need to be healed inside you so that you can enjoy the love that you want and deserve.