I'm not quite sure when I decided my own instincts weren't good enough to protect me. I suppose when you grow up in a household where you need to control your emotions, you learn to do just that so you can survive another day.
Now as an adult, I struggle with knowing whether those twinges, those gut feelings (sometimes literally), are to be acknowledged and listened to, or quashed and excused as defenses.
Well, here's how I finally figured out my instincts are always right.
It's important to note that listening to and believing in your instincts takes a fair amount of self-awareness.
I've found that when it comes to physical health matters like childbirth, we're all much more apt to trust ourselves.
Our mental health is another story. Not all of us have such strong physical reactions, though I tend to think that we do and just don't acknowledge them.
I must be coming down with a cold! I forgot to have coffee this morning -- no wonder I have this terrible headache.
As it turns out, most of us (well, probably all) have physical symptoms related to our emotions. But for whatever reason, we push them aside. There are explanations for why we do it, but that's getting into some deep psychoanalysis right there.
But growing up in my home, I really lost a sense of myself and my own needs. It took a really long time for me to get back to a place where I was listening to myself.
I'll be honest: I'm still not that good at it. Part of it is being a parent when you're so used to putting others' needs before your own.
And part of it is just how I'm wired.
But as I've worked very hard at being more self-aware, more in tune with my own needs and what I think is happening vs. what is really happening, my instincts have grown stronger.
Or maybe I can just hear them better.
Either way, I'm taking note. I'm holding them up to a loudspeaker because they generally aren't wrong.
When I don't feel well, I take a step back to see what's going on in my life. Are there things that need changing? Are there situations that need my attention that I've been putting off?
When I get that twinge, I stop and think about what it might mean before I shoo it away as me being too needy or sensitive or overreactive.
Trust me on this: Your instincts can really save you, as they pretty much did me, from a lot of hurt and heartache in the long run. And they can make you a stronger, more well-rounded person.
Do you trust your own instincts?
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