This week’s Curious case of … asks about instincts.
How well do you trust your own instincts for sensing if something or someone is wrong for you and/or your life? Not well. My anxiety always overshadows my instincts and what might start as an honest twinge of instinct becomes a full-blown drama unfolding in my head in a matter of seconds. Never with a good ending. I have made some awful decisions thinking I was acting on good instinct.
I have been known to sleep on the floor of my parents’ room as a teenager knowing with absolute certainty something awful was about to happen. My mother’s cursing in Icelandic the next morning after she tripped over me was usually the awful reality.
Likewise, I have suppressed my instinct out of fear of change. I have been in situations where I knew, instinctively, that this situation had to end, but rather than trust myself to move on, I stuck it out – much to the detriment of my own physical and mental well-being as well as that of my children.
Do you or can you make the right decisions based upon your gut reactions quickly or do you simply tread more carefully and observe everything before making decisions on your findings, opinions and beliefs? I’m somewhere in-between on this one. I have been known to concoct a soap-opera scenario based on a gut feeling and making dramatic and stupid decisions to, as mentioned above, looking for every excuse NOT to trust my gut instincts and run away.
I would like to say that now, at my age and after many years of counseling, I take a deep breath, research the underlying cause of the gut feeling and base my decision on reason and belief. Like I said, I would “like to say that”.
If you were to sense a change in a friendship but were not sure of the direction in which this was taking, but your instinct told you something was seriously off – how would you choose to react? I walk away. I have been burned too many times in friendships, or rather, so-called friendships. If I sense the friendship is taking a turn, I distance myself. I still think this is unfair to the other person as I know much of that distance is based on personal experience and each person should have the right to explain, but after watching your best friend/babysitter of your children collapse to the floor after using heroin or finding out that your friend was only befriending you to get information, I am afraid the slightest inkling that something is amiss in a friendship ends the friendship. And no, I do not have a lot of friends.
Do you think your instincts are always right and if not, what do you think can alter them to become unreliable? No, I wish I did. I think my anxiety makes my instincts unreliable. I am also a creature of habit and playing devil’s advocate in every situation overrules my instincts. As soon as that gut feeling rolls around, I question every aspect of it, ultimately clouding the gift of natural instinct. I admire those (my husband for one) that act on their instincts and without fail, make the right decisions.