A few years ago, I went on a first date. We’d met on a popular dating website and he steadily and fervently woo’d me with daily sweet texts, emails and marathon phone calls before we decided to meet in person 2 weeks later. I was excited and nervous – and also apprehensive. Things seemed to “click” in all of our previous communication, but I wondered if that would carry over in-person. Not to mention, he seemed SO into me without ever meeting me in person. And when the meeting day came, and I rounded the corner to see him, something in my body softly whispered NO.
YES, he was attractive and charming and looked like his pictures. But something was off. I didn’t have any logical reason or hard evidence to back my feelings up, but something was askew and my BODY was telling me. Instead of listening however, and heeding what my body already knew, I brushed it away as first date jitters and chose to go forward. And as time progressed and more and more negative patterns surfaced (and escalated), I realized my body had been right from Day 1.
It didn’t end well with this person (as you may have guessed). I sometimes wonder if I’d walked away after that first day and chalked it up to another awkward, first-date story, if I could’ve saved myself the hardship of an unhealthy relationship. My belief however, and experience in life, is that the most important lessons are learned the hard way.
Here are some reasons to listen to and – more importantly – TRUST YOUR BODY:
YOUR GUT INSTINCT is a REAL THING
Scientists have researched and discovered that emotions can and do occur in your stomach – not just your brain. That sinking feeling you get when you’re expecting some bad news? Those butterflies when you’re about to walk out on stage and give a speech? That’s your vagus nerve – a thick cable of nerves running from the brain connecting to the heart, stomach and major organs. Biologically, in times of perceived danger or heightened anxiety, the vagus nerve triggers our fight or flight response, communicating signals between the brain and organs: our stomach tightens, our heart races, our palms sweat. In caveman days, this signaled us to run for our lives from a threatening situation. While life these days might not be as threatening as it was back then (that could be argued), the same biological wiring is still in place. The next time your gut is firing about a person or situation – it doesn’t mean you need to high-tail it to the nearest exit, but do listen and….
I often witness students in class practicing yoga at the speed of light. Likely disconnected from their breath, pounding through poses and chaturanga’s like it’s no big deal. And while I ultimately have no control over how someone will inevitably practice during class, I heavily emphasize slowing down when I teach. From the moment a student steps on the mat, I gear them toward slowing down the breath. We live in a SUPER busy world with information at our fingertips 24/7. Daily stress of work, paying the bills, finding a partner or working to be a better one, trying to do what we love and live happily ever after, can get us all gummed up in our heads worrying about how well we’re measuring up. Laying awake at night mulling over some problem or checking FB to see how well someone else is living their life compared to ours leaves us with shallow, quick, disconnected breath. Disconnected from our bodies and disconnected from our intuition and gut instincts. When we allow ourselves to slow down, close our eyes, get in tune with our breath and still the thoughts running through our heads, we give ourselves the beautiful opportunity to listen. Everything we ever needed to know is already in there.
Sometimes our gut instincts fire off a message that we don’t want to hear. You know the one – that quiet, strong (often inconvenient) wisdom that tells you: this relationship is over; I’m being lied to; I’m about to get fired. Things that will definitely sting and disrupt the “perfect” stable ride you were on, but due to attachment, our own abandonment issues, disbelief and ultimately – mistrust in our-Selves, we ignore and continue to subject ourselves to situations that are less than what we deserve. We sabotage when we turn away from our instincts. It takes major bravery to act on and follow our instincts – even when logically, there’s not a lot there backing you up. Some people call this inner warning / navigation system, your guide, God, a guardian angel. However it best resonates with you, the message is the same: sometimes – whether you like it or not – you just KNOW. In fact, you ALWAYS KNOW. Give yourself the gift of courage (believe me, sometimes you gotta DIG DEEP) and trust what your body is telling you.
Does your body tell you intuitive “hits” about someone or a situation? More importantly, do you listen – or do you ignore only to realize your instincts were right all along? Tell me below in the comments!