The Problem with Intuition...
I have always had a good gut check. I usually know what I am getting myself into, before I get myself into it. But my persistent and ever lasting problem is that I doubt myself. I don’t trust the feelings, the instincts, the gut level awareness that there is something wrong despite all evidence to the contrary...again, still.
So for me, the problem with intuition is that you have to act without proof. Which as an attorney, flies completely in the face of everything I have been taught. I have this tendency to stay in things way longer than I should because I am waiting for court level proof, that this gut level feeling I have, is correct. I want proof beyond reasonable doubt...and do you know how often in life we get that kind of proof? Ummm, almost never.
So the only way to get rid of the doubt is to remain in a situation that all of your intuitive bells and whistles are sounding off, to wait and see. Staying is the only thing that removes all doubt..
But staying is what delivers the blows repeatedly. This blind faith that the feelings going off inside you are wrong, and staying to prove that to be true is what leads so many of us to remain in untenable situations...for a very long time. And then to do it again the next time.
For me it comes down to a lack of faith and trust. Faith has come easier to me in this life which was actually hard won and long fought but somehow I arrived there. Trust is a whole other matter. Thinking about it now, there is only one person that I trust implicitly...my mom. That is pretty much it. There are lots of other people I trust to varying degrees but if I am honest, there is a part of me that holds back, that refrains from engaging in a more authentic way with others because of this fundamental lack of trust I have for humans.
Well, I guess I could add animals to my absolute trust list. I trust them. They are not duplicitous. They are who they are...what you see is pretty much what you get. I like that about animals a lot.
I didn’t realize that I wasn’t trusting because I always seemed to give you another chance. But what I have realized lately is that it isn’t that I trust, it is that I fail to honor my own intuition repeatedly. I remain because I seem to be the kind of person that needs absolute proof before taking action. Which I can see now is total folly.
Most people when in emotional or physical peril would take swift and immediate action when they felt threatened, not stick around to see if their feeling were accurate.
Not me. I am the opposite. I stay because what if I was wrong and misjudged you and your intentions...that has somehow landed in me as a bigger deal than me actually protecting me. Pretty fucked up that I just realized this now.
Somehow I have allowed others and their feelings to be paramount to my own. The fact that I couldn’t prove you were a snake meant that I allowed you and all your snakiness to remain in my life so that I could prove that you were in fact a snake at some point in time in the future...
I never, and this is embarrassing, realized until now, that living life this way means that I have allowed a lot of people who were less than stellar to remain in my life for protracted periods of time because I was trying to build a case against them. When I could have just gone with my gut, protected myself and life and moved on. So much energy, time and heartache spared in the later manner than in the way I have been doing life thus far.
Somehow me getting you wrong meant...well, I don’t even know what. It meant that I wasn’t being fair or kind or trusting. And so I adopted a way and manner of living that required that I put you first, I gave you all the benefit of the doubt and just came to warehouse my own doubt, forever to my own detriment.
I have been living with this amazing gut check which in hindsight (and let me tell you I have done all the footwork to gain fantastic hindsight) was correct about pretty much everything from the word go. I KNEW the person, job, situation, whatever was not right for me in the very beginning. I just couldn’t trust myself enough to take definitive action on what I saw until I was mangled badly enough to come to the conclusion that I warranted removal from whatever bad situation I was in this time.
So my problem with intuition is that I don’t trust it...and I don’t trust it because I have a lifetime of behavior that proves that I am not all that trustworthy when it comes to taking care of myself. I am so much better at taking care of you...to everyone’s detriment.
I think I finally see that whatever that gut check thing is throwing off is there for my benefit and I don’t have to mount a case or gather heaps of evidence to prove I am right, I can just go with it...which will always be incredibly hard for me because I hate being unfair and I hate having that niggly feeling that I missed something.
But I can see now that I have largely landed in the places I have because of my inability to trust that this feeling I have about the person, place or thing is correct. I see that my behavior in this way has been like trying to be the defense and prosecutor at the same time. I am defending the person like mad, while I am also building a case against them. Which is unethical as hell and also very time consuming.
A dear friend said to me a little while ago, “you know, why don’t you just give yourself permission to go with your gut...if you are proved wrong later on, we will deal with that. In the meantime, just give yourself permission to listen to that gut feeling and get the fuck out...”
I think I stammered something like, “sure, ok, of course...” But it never really landed at what I was doing to me until this morning. I see it now. I do. And I don’t think because I see it, it will be any easier for me to listen to than it was before...but I do believe that I can begin to stop staying in situations that are bad for me, so that I prove that they are bad for me. I can just take the first hint of something being off and just decide that I no longer want to investigate this particular person or thing more.
I can resign from the defense and the offense straightaway and get on with whatever life brings next...because life always brings more next...it is just what life does. And perhaps I will be better prepared to deal with whatever life has in mind, because I will not be over here desperately knowing that whatever I am involved with isn’t good for me, but I am spending all my time trying to prove that that feeling isn’t true.
It has become high time to just trust myself and that amazing gut instinct I have even though I perhaps may not like what it is telling me. Truth, thus far in life, has been my gut level feeling has been right every time and the only one who ends up battered and bruised on the other side of a fight with reality, is me. Again, still.