The Number One Reason you Need to Listen to Yourself

I remember when I had to make some big decisions. As I reflect back on pivotal moments when I’m at a crossroads in my life and could clearly see the two choices in front of me. Do I go one way or another? I’ve always been someone who above all else follows my gut. I follow my intuition and have found it to be the better judge of character for the big decisions, it looks after me, which makes sense when you look behind it and see how your mind works.

I remember the first really big decision that I had to make when I was 15. I used to blackout a lot when I was younger, my heart raced when I was sitting still and I when I exercised my heart would go faster than I could breathe. After a while I was tested for what might be the cause and after the results came in it was found that I had a heart condition. I remember sitting in the outpatient waiting room for meeting after meeting to discuss what the next step might be. Every time I’d be the youngest person there by 40 years or so, the other patients filtered in and out, looking at me quizzically in the corner of the waiting room. Then that day came when I was sat in the office with the doctor opposite me. Flicking through my chart, cross referencing the results with other notes. There was a low hum of the florescent light and the squeaky shuffling of the other outpatients’ feet outside the door. He glanced up at me and explained the particulars, the gist of which was that it could either get worse over time or settle down as I came out of the other side of my teenage years, there was no other way to tell. They could operate, or leave it and see if it remedied itself, the choice was ours. When we left, I talked to my folks at length and at the end of the day they agreed the decision was mine to make. It was a 50/50, take the gamble and see if the episodes get worse or take the plunge? What would you do?

Since making that decision and a handful of other decisions in my life that would have impacted my future, that pang from the back of my head has come to the fore when I need it to. When it’s crunch time and it’s all on the line, the true colours of what I really want take hold and make themselves known.

I don’t know if you’ve had this? I know some people that regularly get these feelings and trust them blindly, I know others that have no idea what I’m talking about. Then I find a lot of people in this middle ground where they feel their gut telling them something, but they block it out, mask it or just plain ignore it. They don’t trust what their mind and body are telling them, maybe it’s been wrong before. Maybe they are scared that it’s not what they really want, or that if it is what they want, what other people might think.

Well allow me to delve a little deeper into this mysterious phenomenon and what’s happening here. We all have two parts of our mind, we have the conscious and the unconscious mind. Our conscious mind is the waking part of our brain, it’s the bit we use when we are conscious and awake. Our unconscious mind is the part of our brain that runs our body, breathing, digestion, emotions, etc. It does this without us having to try at all and does it at lightning speed. When we experience the world around us and it enters our mind through our five senses it is sorted and processed by our unconscious mind and the important information is forwarded to our conscious mind. This stops our conscious mind from being overloaded by too many things at once as we take in all these new experiences.

When we are presented with a decision that we need to make that decision goes through the same process. Our unconscious mind deals with it and processes that decision and forwards what is right for you to the conscious mind. This is often interpreted as a ‘gut feeling’ or ‘feeling right’ to us. Now, this is where the battle of the heart and brain comes in. If our conscious mind gets that information from the unconscious mind that option A is the right one and the conscious mind thinks about it and thinks option B is the right option then we get the classic heart vs head conundrum.

So why should you go with your unconscious mind over your conscious mind? Well your unconscious mind stores all your memories, beliefs, attitudes, values, personality and your perception of time, space, energy and matter to mention a few. When that experience is processed, it goes through all of those filters to give you the course of action it recommends which will be the best outcome for you. I don’t know about you but I would rather take that answer than trying to do the same thing consciously, whilst agonising over it, pulling my hair out and spend a lot more time doing it! This of course doesn’t mean that whatever your unconscious mind sends to you is going to be the easiest thing, but it’s going to be the option that is the most congruent with what you believe.

Like I said, some people have a really hard time accepting what their unconscious mind kicks up for them and they maybe don’t like that option. It might not be what they want or take them in a completely different direction from where they think they want to go. Some people are great at justifying other options or running away from what they have to decide. In my experience the people that have a harmony between their unconscious and conscious mind are the people that will follow that instinct more easily because there is no friction! There isn’t that battle of wills competing for what to do. Another observation that I’ve found is that the unconscious mind always wins in the end, it is constantly working to get that outcome which is the best thing for you. It could be a week, a month, a year, even 5 years or more but at some point, it will prevail. Why fight a part of you that is working to help you succeed?

My suggestion is simple.

Trust your gut, follow your heart, do what feels right.

It’s you looking after you after all.

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