TRUSTING YOUR GUT

It can often seem like strange advice when people tell you to trust your gut instincts – especially when making monumental life decisions. Some of us have a stronger sense of self than others, and some of us just lack the confidence to speak out about what we truly believe in. I think I’ve always had a strong sense of what I wanted since I was very small, not necessarily career wise, but in the day to day scheme of things. I wouldn’t consider myself an indecisive soul – I’ve never been someone who’s needed much convincing, If I have my heart set on something then I’ll do everything in my power to make it a reality…

I’m not talking about massively impressive things like making myself a millionaire overnight, or inventing the next big thing, but rather the smaller decisions that make up the weeks. I always know what new films I want to see, I know the clothes I want to invest in next, I know the events I want to attend, the new countries I want to visit…

These aren’t things that I ponder over – I naturally gravitate towards what I like and it’s always been as simple as that. I never used to notice it more than when me and my sister would go shopping – she would try on a million different things, and then leave the changing rooms with around two items. Then before she would even make it to the till area, she would convince herself she didn’t need them, and would leave the shop empty handed. I usually had a bag full of things that I’d already seen online before we even entered the shop, and she would be asking me whether she should go back before it shuts. My mum would always turn to me and say, ‘well you just have a stronger sense of what you want’. I never really understood what that meant at the time…

I guess she means I don’t need persuading or talking into things – I just follow my gut and that’s always been enough. However, shopping is obviously a lot easier when you know your style, and that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been numerous times when I’ve ignored my gut and made terrible decisions. Whether it was the boy I knew was bad news, or a job offer that didn’t seem like the right fitI’ve often ended up kicking myself when things haven’t worked out. Ahhhh, why didn’t I just trust my gut instinct I’d mutter to myself as I picked up the pieces.

These days, I’ve made enough mistakes to have learnt some ugly truths. That isn’t to say that I won’t make many more mistakes in the future – we are all human after all, but I do generally recognise my instincts as something to take notice of. They have got me this far in life, despite other people often offering conflicting advice. I wanted to offer a few field notes incase you’re having trouble trusting your own gut, and often look to others when the going gets tough…

Reflect on times when your gut lead you in the right direction – If you’re experiencing a lack of confidence and feel as though you are unable to commit to a final decision, look back at all the times your git served you well. Look back at all the times you did something risky and it ended up paying off, look back at all the times something might have not worked out exactly as you imagined but better…

Identify the moments worth taking risks for – It has to be said that there are certain moments in life that are worth risking everything for, and other moments where basic common sense comes into play. Weigh up the pros and cons on a piece of paper if it helps you – mull over the worst that can happen, and always remember to place your happiness as the top priority.

Take time to think it over if you can – Never make a brash decision if you can help it. This is mainly a pearl of wisdom for those bigger fish that we all have to fry at some point – I’m sure we have all sent an email in the heat of the moment that we later wish we had worded slightly differently. Sleep on it if you can, sometimes things look very different in the morning…

‘To live without self-respect is to lie awake some night, beyond the reach of warm milk, phenobarbital, and the sleeping hand on the coverlet, counting up the sins of commission and omission, the trusts betrayed, the promises subtly broken, the gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice or carelessness. However long we post- pone it, we eventually lie down alone in that notoriously un- comfortable bed, the one we make ourselves. Whether or not we sleep in it depends, of course, on whether or not we respect ourselves.’
– Joan Didion 

I also read Joan Didion’s 1961 essay on self respect a couple of weeks ago, and it really resonated with how I’ve been feeling lately. She makes some amazing points about how we choose to see ourselves, and how doubt can often be a sign that we don’t respect ourselves enough. That isn’t to say that we have to be careless people in order to make our own decisions, but rather that we believe in ourselves enough to take it on the chin if it turns out to be wrong. Or, as Joan Didion writes in her essay, ‘people with self-respect have the courage of their mistakes.’ I’d love to be as tough as she is one day – also if you haven’t watched the Joan Didion documentary on Netflix then you need too! 

Trusting your gut definitely has to come from a place of self confidence and belief in yourself as a person – I’m learning to go with my gut more at the age of twenty five, and it’s serving me well so far. I just remind myself that whatever happens, I have to have faith in who I am as a person, and that I’m actively doing right by myself and those close to me…

 

Alice x


Photographs by Adriana 

Jacket c/o | Sézane

Trousers | And Other Stories

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Bag | A.P.C

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5 Comments

  1. This was such a good read. I’m an indecisive person but I feel the older I get the easier it is to go with what I know. I do the same in kicking myself when things go wrong after following what I thought was my gut, but more rather giving into pressure. Two different things for sure. But we all learn. ❤️

  2. This piece is very useful thank you so much for writing this! It truly resonates with my life at this moment. It moved me to purchase Slouching Towards Bethlehem which I am excited to dive into once I receive it tomorrow. I recently turned 26 and feeling in such a rut with making big life decisions at the moment sometimes it’s hard to make those choices when it can alter your current relationships while learning to move forward.

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