There’s good times, bad times and every kind of time between. The road of life goes this way and that, so how do you know which way to go?
Last year Kathy Ireland, an American supermodel, actress, author, entrepreneur and one of Forbes’ top 50 most successful American women, was interviewed by Tatyana Ali. During that interview Kathy said, “I think trusting your instinct is critical and I think often times in our culture we condition our kids to not listen to their gut.”
Teaching children to believe in their gut instinct is one thing, but helping them recognize what that inner voice sounds like takes a bit of practice. When Alyssa was young, we practiced listening to the still small voice inside our head. Instead of providing Alyssa with an immediate answer to every question, I asked her what SHE thought and felt was the right answer.
You can FEEL and sometimes HEAR the right answer to a situation if you stop and be still.
So what exactly is a gut feeling? Other words that mean basically the same thing include:
- inner voice
- inner guide
VISCERAL: an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior; characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect; coming from strong emotions and not from logic or reason
I have deep visceral convictions about many subjects not because I am close-minded, but because I’ve lived long enough to see both sides of the situation. Long ago I remember being taught one of the most important lessons I ever learned in Sunday School…
Sit down and think about as many conflict situations as you could possibly be in during some point of your life. Then decide what you will do if you are ever in that situation based on the direction you want your life to go and your sense of right or wrong. If you ever find yourself in that situation, you won’t have to “decide” what to do. You will simply follow through with the decision you made years previously.
Being the plan-ahead-obsessive-person that I once was, I was constantly thinking of new scenarios of things that “might” happen to me and then making up my mind what I would do if I actually found myself in that situation.
I’ll share one of the situations with you even though to most people it will seem a bit ridiculous, but I don’t really care if you laugh or not. If you understand the spirit of the story, then you will get something out of it.
Growing up, my family and extended family didn’t drink alcohol. There were many different reasons why, but that is really irrelevant. The only person I knew that drank alcohol was my “not blood related” grandfather. However, I didn’t learn that piece of information or that he was an alcoholic until I was in my teens.
Like other teenagers, I wanted to have friends and fit in. Since I was a super nerd when being nerdy was NOT cool, I probably wanted to fit in more than most kids my age. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Not only was I albino white, but I had flaming red hair, freckles, never wore makeup or jeans, carried all my books home to study everyday AND I was extremely shy.
Just so you understand…..I was shy to the EXTREME.
During my high school years I was in honors classes, so the kids I spent my school day with were smart, but they also would party. Many times I was invited to parties, but I knew it was going to be all my friends drinking and drugging, so I declined. I wanted to be accepted, but my gut instinct totally rejected the idea of being in that environment.
Years earlier I decided that I wouldn’t ever drink alcohol, so there really wasn’t a reason to go to parties since the choice had already been made.
Not once or twice, but every single party invitation was met with my refusal to go.
Believe me, I wanted to fit in, but I was scared of myself and scared to go against that inner voice. How would I act if I was under the influence of anything? I would lose control of myself and that just wasn’t an option that I felt I could chance.
So I made it all the way through my school years without drinking or taking any drugs. Actually, I made it all the way to around the beginning of 2011 when my PTSD was so bad that I just wished that I would die. It was at that time I thought if I drank alcohol it would knock me out so that I could sleep and the flashbacks would end.
The therapists told me NOT to drink if I wanted to have a chance at healing, but that familiar voice wasn’t so soft when it told me not to drink. At times it was shouting at me.
Besides fighting the flashbacks and the haunting thoughts of killing myself, I also had to struggle against drinking myself into oblivion.
PTSD IS HELL ON EARTH.
If you don’t already know it, people with PTSD can’t heal if they choose to drink alcohol. The alcohol makes the PTSD symptoms worse and it scrambles up an already scrambled up brain. Nothing good comes from a PTSD drinker.
I wanted to heal more than anything in the world, so obviously I fought hard to suppress the urge to kill myself, drink alcohol or take drugs so that I could pass out. It was a hard battle and that voice inside my head often screamed in order to keep me going on the right path, but eventually I won. Because I didn’t drink or do drugs of any kind, I was able to follow the counsel of my therapists and heal from my PTSD Hell.
To date, I still haven’t drank alcohol or taken drugs. With my obsessive personality and PTSD history, I fear that I would be hooked immediately and end up a drunk in the gutter or a drug addict in a dark alley. There’s no way it would end happily. That is something my gut instinct and inner voice have repeatedly told me.
Today I’m thankful that I’m “cured” of PTSD and somehow I kept listening to that inner voice that told me not to give up in a bottle or at the end of a needle in my arm or rope around my neck.
Kathy Ireland hit the nail on the head during her interview. It IS CRITICAL to trust your gut instinct. Only YOU know where you have been and what YOU feel. No one can walk your path for you. They can walk with you, but not for you. Listening to the voice when it fills the inside of your head or trusting that gut instinct is what can transform your life from a catastrophic moment to a moment of peace. The ordinary can become extraordinary. Miracles happen. You may have to stand completely alone with only the comfort of your inner voice, but stand alone anyway.
Your inner voice will guide you to the path that enables you to accomplish your dreams. The key is being humble and quiet enough to recognize your gut instinct and then acting on it. Sometimes I don’t know which is hardest…being humble enough to recognize the inner voice in your head or doing what the inner voice suggests for you to do. I do know, however, when you act against what you know and feel that you should do, regret is always the end result.
Live to your potential.
Obtain your dreams.
Trust and follow your gut instinct.