My dietitian colleague, Chere Bork, wrote once, “Guilt is a red flag warning of an obligation or duty you don’t want to do.” She wrote this note to other healthcare professionals because we often have this need to help everyone. So we put others ahead of ourselves – and then feel guilty about the decision. How can we use our intuition to make better decisions? Personally, I feel my gut intuition in the pit of my stomach. This horrible sensation tries to tell me it’s the wrong decision for me.
Do You Have a Hard Time Saying No?
What about you? After many “No’s”, do you finally break down and accept that volunteer position? And, then begrudge it? Do you ever make plans to go for a workout, but feel obligated to do something for someone else? And, then feel bad that you let yourself down? Do you ever get excited about a quiet evening at home – and then a friend asks you to accompany them for a night on the town…and you do – and don’t enjoy yourself? Do you ever take over someone else’s tasks because of their frustration – but neglect something that you were supposed to do – and then have to deal with those consequences?
How to Listen to Your Gut Intuition
Chere encourages us to ask, “Is this a task you are doing to show love or is it guilt and obligation? Buy some time by saying, ‘I need to think about it.’ Then listen to your intuition. Tell the truth with love and compassion.”
Let me share a funny story about guilt and gut intuition – and my now grown daughter. Many times throughout the years, she would find herself at a crossroad and didn’t know what decision to make. To help her make the right decision, I would inquire, “What does your gut say?” and she would respond, “I don’t know.” Just this last year she called me up excitedly and exclaimed, “All those years you told me to listen to my gut and I thought you were crazy. Now I know what you’ve been talking about. I feel it!”
So, if you’ve heard about the importance of “listening to your gut intuition,” realize this skill just might take awhile to develop. It’s like getting kids to like veggies. Sometimes it takes 20 exposures….sometimes it takes 20 years! But, that’s another story….