Should you listen to your gut? Second guessing ourselves seems to be built into our DNA. But when your gut is telling you something, you should listen.
It is human nature to overthink things. We all do it. Should we have said something else? Should we not have said anything? We constantly replay things over and over in our heads. We also fret about what’s to come in the future. But more often than not, our first thought was the best one. It’s time to listen to your gut. Believe in you!
What does listen to your gut even mean?
Think about it. When you are nervous or hesitant about something you get butterflies in your stomach. As some would call it, a nervous stomach. When something feels wrong, your gut has a way of telling you. And when you feel calm and comfortable, your gut makes you feel okay.
And no, it may not be your literal gut. It is a mixture of your brain, your mind, your heart, and your subconscious. Things you may not even actively think about or consider when making a decision go into your gut feeling. It makes sense to trust a part of you that knows it all, even when you don’t. [Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 ways to realize you’re worth it]
Why should you listen to your gut?
Do you remember when you were in school taking a test? You would mark your answer then second guess yourself and change your original answer. Then weeks later, you got your results and that is the question you got wrong. If only you kept your original answer, you would have gotten 100%.
Have you ever woken up and your first initial feeling was to stop at a coffee shop and get an indulgent latte to start your day? But you second guess that choice because there are too many calories, you might be late to work, and you’re saving money? So, you just make coffee at home.
Then as you’re getting in your car you spill your coffee all over. Now you have to make more, change your outfit, and clean your car which makes you even more late. If you only went with your gut feeling, you could be sipping your latte in peace on the way to work.
Listen to your gut even when you think you shouldn’t
When it comes to a college choice, taking a new job, or entering into a new relationship you might think listening to your gut is too flaky or not practical. And that may be true.
There are always pros and cons and other factors to take into account, but amongst the practical, when you go with your gut, things tend to work out.
Listen to your gut at work
I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing an email or submitting something to a boss I am constantly editing and rewriting what I wrote to make sure it sounds perfect. But then I send it and there are three typos that wouldn’t have been there if I went with what I first wrote. [Read: How to become the best leader at work]
Listen to your gut in fashion
How many times have you tried on a bunch of outfits before heading out just to go back to your original one? A billion? That is because listening to your gut may not be foolproof, but it is likely to be the right choice.
Even when shopping, you might pick up something that drew you in, a few basics, something trendy, and something boring. But more often than not the item you walk away with is the one you saw and knew you just needed. Thank you, gut!
Listen to your gut when dating
Overthinking when dating is almost impossible not to do. But your gut feeling tends to run the show. You may be out on a date with someone that seems perfect on paper, but when you are with them something just doesn’t feel quite right.
That is your gut feeling calling and warning you. Some people may be able to brush that feeling aside as nerves or fears, but usually it will catch up with you. And when you listen to your gut from the beginning you will thank yourself later. Especially when you find out weeks later the person was married and recently arrested for embezzlement. [Read: 13 warning signs to look out for on the first few dates]
Listen to your gut with big decisions
There is absolutely nothing wrong with analyzing, especially when it comes to making a huge decision. Should you move across country for a job? Should you tell your best friend you love them?
These sort of things come with consequences for sure. And part of being an adult is weighing those consequences against the benefits. But when something was a gut feeling from the start, you will likely end up sticking with it, or regretting that you didn’t.
If you went on a job interview that you were so pumped about and your potential boss clicked with you and your high school best friend lives in the town you would have to move to, you may still question leaving a stable position, breaking out of your routine, and moving away from comfort. But your gut was telling you what to do from the start.
There are certainly times when listening to your gut is not the best decision. If you have a loyal girlfriend and your gut feeling is telling you to hit on your waitress, you may want to take a step back and rethink that.
Your gut feeling is not an exact science. And no, you cannot say sorry for cheating on your partner by blaming it on your gut feeling. That is not how it works.
Your gut is not there to tell you right from wrong. It is there to tell you what will make you happy and what feels right to you. It is not a moral compass, a life coach, or a way of thinking. Listening to your gut does not mean you can act irrationally or make sudden decisions based on nothing more than a feeling in your tummy.
Your gut is what you look to for guidance once you have weighed the pros and cons. It is the voice inside your head that you have turned on mute until you are looking for advice. It might be what helps you say yes to a marriage proposal or accept an invitation for dinner, but it is not the end all be all.
Your gut is there for you to turn to in times of need. Not to answer every life question and contemplation you have. Your gut is not your conscience, but it is there for you to rely on to be happy, to trust when you can’t help but wonder, and to listen to when things are unclear.