Kaveh KavoosiMar 24

Rediscovering Your Gut Instinct After a Lifetime of Self-Gaslighting

A close up of a woman's body. She sits crossed legged with her arms in her lap on a dock.

Trust your gut. Listen to what your gut is telling you. Go with your gut.

You’ve probably heard at least one of those expressions as advice from someone at some point in your life. Why?

Because it’s true. More times than not, our gut knows before we consciously know. Ignore it at your peril.

We can think and decide and solve things without it, but it’s operating without all the tools at our disposal. Why would anyone do that?

Sometimes, we ignore it and place our faith only in rational thinking. Sometimes, we have no choice. And sometimes, our gut clocks out and leaves us to fend for ourselves. The reasons are many, but the result is always the same: our ability to make the ‘right’ decision is severely inhibited.

Maybe something happened that disconnected you from your body. Or maybe you spent too much time around people who made you question those instincts. Or maybe you just stopped listening.

It doesn’t matter.

The Reconnect

What does matter is reengaging with it. Life is to be felt as much as it is to be thought or done. You’ve got to actively learn to trust your feelings again.

A life understood only through thinking lacks presence. And a life that lacks presence is half-lived at best and handicapped in every way.

So, lean into your gut. Allow yourself to be wrong as you get to know, feel, understand, and express your instincts. Discuss this process openly with your family, partner, friends, colleagues, and anyone else who will support you in this exploration and not invalidate your journey.

Reconnect with your gut, and you develop greater trust in it, your body, and yourself.

My Own Gaslighting

I know I’ve ignored my gut instinct on more than one occasion. I’m sure you have, too.

When I started thinking my past partner had been unfaithful, my gut told me I was right. When I questioned her denial, my gut backed me up. And when it gnawed at me for four months, my gut insisted my suspicions were correct.

I ignored it.

Upon learning the truth — that I had been right about everything — I felt like I’d rejected myself because I had rejected my gut. And that hurt even more than the infidelity itself. My pain rooted in my refusal to trust my own gut.

But I blamed her.

Another instance was when I visited three different doctors about a growth in my neck, where they all said it was nothing, that it was fine. My gut told me something was very wrong, but I didn’t push the issue.

Again, I rejected my instinct.

It wasn’t until the growth of the tumour had reduced motor function on the left-side of my face that I went to a fourth doctor and insisted on a biopsy.

My suspicions were confirmed. In the hurt and for years, I blamed them.

In both scenarios, my gut knew what was going on, but I chose to ignore it. I rejected my instinctual body. I invalidated my feelings. Do that over and over again, and you develop a deep sense of powerless distrust in your own intuition, which makes you dismiss it all the more, which increases that sense of distrust. It’s a vicious and dangerous cycle.

It was up to me to reclaim my intuitive body. Know thyself, feel thyself, and find trust in both.

Think back to a time when your gut was screaming and you went the other way. Most likely, your gut was right. You may reflect shamelessly for having gone the ‘wrong’ direction or gone about it the ‘wrong’ way.

What was your body telling you? The reality is that there is no gut separate from you. It wasn’t right and you weren’t wrong. You simply focused on an incomplete picture. Internal knowing requires both the mind and body.

Psycho-symbiotic embodiment is living while also being capable of thinking and feeling all of life’s moments. Viscerally. Simultaneously. Present. That’s where we all need to reside.

It’s a work-in-progress, and I’m not there. Yet. And it’s okay if you’re not either, so long as you’re walking in that direction.