A few years back, I owned a house I loved. It was old Victorian that I had restored to its natural beauty. I’d sunk everything I had into that house, being as careful as I could. And yet, in the end, I was forced to sell it because I let what turned out to be a scammer talk me into doing some major work for me.
I was wooed – partly – by his competitive rates. Also by an engineer who I thought was truthful, and who recommended him. Both turned out to be untrue. Someone reading this might think I didn’t do the thing we’re all told to do: get a number of estimates and references. I did all of that. What I didn’t do was listen to my gut, which was screaming at me big time.
So I lost my beautiful house, thankfully to a young couple who loved it and weren’t planning on gutting it.
I may have saved a little up front, but paid much more in the end. Because I ignored my gut.
Attending to what you really know deep inside is tricky – is what I’m feeling some fear that isn’t real or even useful (an emotional reaction), or is it my inner knowing that this isn’t right? There is a way to find out.
- Find the feeling. Do a scan of your body to see what sensations are coming up for you. A sick feeling in your stomach? A quivering and tightness in your chest? A tension between your shoulder blades? Whatever it is, identify it in visceral terms. For me, it was a sense of nausea and a desire to move back out of harm’s way.
- Compare it: To a time you felt fear and knew it. When you were safely behind glass on the 50th floor of a tower, looking down. Or up in a plane contemplating jumping with an experienced skydiver. Or on a ladder cleaning the gutters (yes, I’m afraid of heights). What did that fee like? For me it feels like I can barely breathe; that my lungs have ceased to function. Not at all like nausea.
- Take action. If it’s fear, I take another look at my choices and then make a decision. If it’s my gut, then I’ve learned to trust what it’s telling me. Always. And act accordingly.
You can learn the difference between gut knowing and fear reactions. It is so worth it because it will save you a lot of emotional pain, time, and even possibly money.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .