Tiny Wisdom: When Instincts Aren’t Enough

“Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.” -Robert Heller

A while back, a friend of mine called me crying because of a huge disappointment in her life. She made a bold decision based on gut instinct, and then expected that everything would work out as she envisioned it because she felt so certain it was the right choice.

I think what hurt her most of all was the realization that nothing is certain. Following your instincts to leave something doesn’t guarantee it will be easy to find something else. And knowing that something feels right doesn’t ensure you’ll immediately know the right way to make it happen.

Our instincts point us in the right direction, but we need know before we take that first step that very few paths are clear and direct. The hardest thing isn’t taking the leap—it’s learning to relax in the free fall when you’re not sure yet where you’re going to land or how.

I have been in this place many times before.

I’ve walked out of offices, feeling empowered with my decision to quit—only to later to find myself wondering if I should have followed my father’s advice to “never leave one job without another lined up.”

I’ve walked away from unhealthy relationships feeling proud of my ability to let go—only to find myself obsessing about whether it was a choice to be permanently alone.

And I’ve decided to get help to change bad habits—only to find myself feeling unsure of how I’d function without them.

That instinctive decision to walk away from something, or toward something, or through something—it’s only the very beginning.

But if we’re brave enough to listen to it and take action, we’re also brave enough to handle the uncertainty ahead. If we have the strength to make that choice, we have the strength to keep honoring it when things get tough, as they often do.

Today if you’re walking through unfamiliar territory, wondering if you made the right choice, ask yourself: Would you question your decision if things all worked out right away? If the answer is no, then keep learning, keep growing, and keep going.

You know you want this. Now you just need to be patient enough to let yourself discover how you’ll do it.

Photo by geishaboy500

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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