Listen to your gut

chaosWomen are much different than men. We are given special gifts from our creator that separate us from men. It is our wildish nature–our feminine instincts that make us women.

Just like watching too much violent TV and movies can anesthetize us to the suffering of others, too much abuse and emotional neglect can anesthetize us to our own suffering. We forget that we  are valuable. We forget that we have a wildish nature that needs nurturing. We forget that we deserve respect, dignity, and love.  Above all, we forget to listen to our gut.

How many times have you had an initial negative gut reaction to a person you meet for the first time? How many times have you walked into a room and felt like you have been there before? How many times have to felt that something was just not right?

One day, early on in my present marriage, we had the opportunity to move into an apartment complex in Charlotte, NC. It was brand new. No one had lived in them. We were able to choose any apartment we wanted in any of the buildings in the complex. We looked at one that pleased me greatly. The apartment manager insisted that we look at another one in another building. Same floor plan, except it had a fireplace. We agreed to see it before making our final decision.

When I got to the threshold of the apartment I was stopped dead in my tracks. I could not go any farther. I had an uneasy feeling. I knew at that moment that there was something not quite right about this particular apartment. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I just couldn’t step inside the apartment. The apartment manager motioned for me to come in. I told my husband that I did not want this apartment and there was no need for me to look any farther. They tried to get me to enter, but I could not. I just could not. So, we rented the first one we had seen. It seemed light and airy where the other seem heavy and suffocating. I never did find out anything negative about the other apartment. If I had not been in touch with my wildish nature and had not learned to heed my instincts, I don’t know what would have happened. Simply, I did not want to risk it to find out. I followed my gut instinct. gardening1

How many times have you pushed the feeling away and told yourself that you are being silly? You second guess yourself because you do not trust yourself. You start trying to please others and end up settling for something you really didn’t want. Perhaps it is that cute guy sitting across the bar. You get this uncomfortable feeling. But your friend urges you to make eye contact and perhaps even go over and meet him. You hesitate, but your friend implies that you are being silly. She urges you not to be so shy and take a risk. After a while you start to give in. You start trying to find something to like about the man. You think he’s cute. Finally, you put all concerns by the wayside and approach the man.

Again, you feel that something is just not quite right. Again you push the feelings aside. You’re sure you are just being silly. Right about now a long time friend approaches that you haven’t seen in a long time. You change directions and invite your friend to join you. The next morning you read in the paper that they caught a rapist who had attacked a woman he had met at that very same bar. In fact, the picture in the paper was the very man you considered chatting with the night before. Wow! Are you lucky. If it had not been for your friend arriving, you might have been that poor woman. You hadn’t trusted your instincts. You escaped this time…

Most of us are naive. Our ability to judge and turn away from possible disaster is not yet mature. Our emotional maturity is stunted by our past experiences. Many of us are still thinking with our childish brain. When we are in this naive state of mind that we still cling to from our childhood traumas, we become prey. And, there is one thing about predators– they can track us down and pounce long before we even realize we are in danger.

Our wildish psyche knows. Que La Sabe–one who knows. But the immature mind pushes the warnings away, refusing to accept them because we can’t be right. We are damaged. Our alarm system is walled up behind our negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves. We are not to be trusted. We are just being silly.

We all start out pretty innocent. If we have good parents, they will sit us down and teach us how to be wary. They will teach us caution. They will teach us of the dangers lurking in the tall grasses waiting to pounce. We will learn just as the fawn learns. We will experience the way of the wild. We will learn to avoid danger and always watch out for the predator.

However, just as an orphan cub probably won’t survive in the wilderness, so we, the unmothered woman, will fall prey if we don’t find a surrogate mother or a support group to help us through and teach us the things we are lacking. Otherwise we may be seduced into the cage of convenience. We may be so weak or fearful about life that you settle for being taken care of.  The lion at the zoo gets all his meals without having to stalk and catch its prey. But don’t let the ease confuse you. The lion is still not free.

I hate it when I hear the words, “be nice”. This subdues our natural instincts. It causes us to delude ourselves into thinking that no matter how bad a man treats us, we can change him. We mistakenly believe that our Prince Charming will ride in on a white horse, or a muscle car and rescue us. Let me tell you. Prince Charming is not coming. No one is that perfect. It is a fantasy. The real story of Cinderella is the one played by Drew Barrymore in Ever After. We have to learn to take care of ourselves first. Then we can bring something to the marriage. Then we can stand on our own two feet. We can be a partner rather than a burden. We can contribute rather than live off of.

We give them the power by being needy and unsure. We romanticise love and marriage. Then when we find ourselves stuck in a marriage with this person who is less than Princely and we now have children to worry about, we hear the trap door slam shut behind us.

Once caught we stay for all kinds of reasons. We quite literally stay because of the children. We stay because we have no education. We stay because we have no work history. We stay because no matter how bad it is, it seems easier than stepping into the unknown and having to fend for ourselves. We stay because we are afraid for our lives. We stay because our self esteem has been all but erased. We stay because we have to be nice. And of course we stay because we are damaged and probably think we deserve the abuse. We stay because we think we have no where to go. We stay because we don’t think we can do it on our own. We stay because we have allowed him to push all our friends and family away. We stay because he says you must or perish out there all alone. You stay because it is more dangerous not to stay and if you just learned not to push his buttons, or was more organized, or a better cook, or …well, he would miraculously change and recognize his wrongs and become that Prince you have been expecting to wake up any time now.

The predator has us captured. No one will want us. No one will put up with our stupidity but him. He will make sure of that and yet, “we love him!” WHY? What is there to love? What is so good about him? yet, we self talk ourselves into staying when our gut instincts scream out to get us to listen. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to be loved. We deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness. We deserve better.

It is time to sing over the bones. It is time to embrace the child within. It is time we learned to love even the worst of ourselves so we can nurture the inner child who needs our care. It is time to live…to thrive…not just exist. We need to take this journey to find our true self so that we can learn to make better decisions. We need to learn to love ourselves so that love will come into our lives. We need to nurture ourselves before we can nurture others. This reminds me of the emergency instructions that the flight attendants provide at the beginning of each flight. They always tell us to put the mask on ourselves before we put it on our children. Why is this? Because if we do not make sure we are alright first, we cannot help our children.

It’s very simple. We can only stop the cycle if we can learn the things we need to teach our children a better way of life. We owe it to them. We owe it to ourselves.

Chris

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~ by womenstudycenter on January 16, 2009.

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