Well, I am a big believer in intuition, gut instinct, knowing whether someone (or something – job, school major, etc.) will be compatible – in a friendly/professional/romantic sense – within a very short time after meeting them and getting to know them. This has been proven to me through many painful judgment errors as well as many wonderful long term relationships that last through any horror that is thrown at them. Even when I was a very small child I could sense – almost immediately in some cases – whether someone was worth getting to know better or was someone I would rather keep at arm’s length or simply not know at all.
For example, I distinctly remember an incident when I was about 2 – my mom’s ex-husband had been stalking her, and decided to chase us down El Camino Real in San Jose as we were running errands. My mom is only 5 feet on her tallest days, and she pulled into a parking lot and got out of the car and confronted him – with the doors of the car closed. I couldn’t hear anything – I couldn’t even see his face – I just remember feeling intense hatred and rage radiating from him, and I thought to myself that this was a very bad man. It wasn’t until years later that I finally understood who he actually was, and how much danger we were in that day. But my senses were apparently fine tuned from a very young age.
Of course, as I grew older, it became less socially acceptable to make snap decisions based simply upon instinct. That saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, has been a thorn in my side for decades. If I was perfectly happy with a decision I had made, friends or family members would suddenly decide that they needed to become involved because I obviously hadn’t thought it through thoroughly, or weighed the evidence correctly, or given the person enough chances. So . . . I became less true to myself during my teen years – those lovely years of peace and joy that every girl remembers fondly with affectionate warmth and a far off gaze of pure ecstasy. Wait. No. Teen years – mine were definitely NOT the best years of my life, and I am 99% sure my parents would agree with you. I was labeled different because I didn’t follow the crowd, and even my “good” friends didn’t quite understand exactly how different I was. This led me to retreat into a sort of stasis where I would attempt to make my gut level decision, only to have it thrown back in my face by a friend as cruel or improper, and I would then uncomfortably go with the flow in order to keep the peace, never fully understanding how this was undermining my own self confidence and self awareness.
My intuition became somewhat stagnated; it morphed into an occasional stomach ache that I attributed to stress rather than realizing that deep down I was failing to listen to a part of myself which – had I been more attuned to it – would have prevented me from making many of the poor decisions in my life that followed me through my late teens and throughout my 20’s. I was deeply bitter about this for a very long time – especially after my divorce at 23 from my so-called high school sweetheart. In time, however, I came to realize that going against my nature had helped to shape me just as much as going with my gut instinct had always helped to shape me in the past. I learned to listen to myself again – to the nuances of my body, the little nervous twinges of butterflies in my stomach, the pangs of horrible discomfort – and to trust myself again.
It has not been an easy or pleasant journey, and has taken therapy and medication (some of which I will probably always need – but that is for another post), but I have come full circle and now understand my intuition in ways that I probably never could as a youngster. I base most of my life decisions on my gut feelings – after first rationalizing them out in my head, of course – and I find that this path that I am on is now the most fulfilling that I have found yet in my life. I have found a job and company that I enjoy tremendously, an area of the country that I can tolerate while I build up my career experience and designations, a boyfriend who has as much stubbornness and passion as I do (in order to both grow together and keep the relationship going when there are head butting arguments), and a few lifelong friends for whom I would drop everything at a phone call if necessary. I have found a renewed confidence in myself, confidence that I don't need the approval or acceptance of anyone in order to feel good about myself; I don't need to feel as if I am a part of a specific group or clique or social status - I can just be me, and I am pretty darn awesome.
I have found that neither my head nor my heart really rule me, though I am a hopeless romantic as well as one of the most logical people you will ever meet – a walking contradiction in many ways. Instead I have found that my gut must take all the credit.