Intuition is an interesting thing. We all possess it! Some of us more than others. Some of us just listen better than others. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about…when something happens and you just have a gut feeling that something isn’t quite right or absolutely is right. You either follow that gut feeling or ignore it, but most of the time, intuition is spot on. Personally, I have a history of arguing with intuition. I’m not even sure that it’s arguing as much as it’s not wanting to accept what intuition is telling me. Truly, how do you know if it’s intuition talking or just voices in your head based on your past, your wants, your needs? It can get confusing at times. The way I determine the difference is when I get a gut level quick response to something, I consider that intuition. When I contemplate something, debate something in my head, I consider that more the voices talking. Of course, the latter can overtake the former and then we’ve got a problem.
When Renee first asked me to write a blog about intuition, the first thing that came to mind was an example of not listening to intuition. The not listening has had HUGE consequences in my life. I met a man over a dozen years ago online. We emailed, chatted, and talked on the phone a lot. We lived about 300 miles away from one another. Over time and as our relationship developed (as much as one can long distance) we came to a point of wanting to be together with the intension of getting married. Looking back, there were red flags waving like crazy right in front of my face. I knew it then, but I didn’t want to listen. I had every justification in the world for why he acted the way he did. I protected him fiercely at the beginning in order to justify my decision to be with this man. And so I was. The day came for me to pack the U-Haul and move, and my gut was screaming, “Don’t do it!” I wanted to listen. I wanted to obey the scream, but I was scared and I was embarrassed for the mistake I was about to make. I didn’t know how to humble myself to those who knew I was walking down the wrong road and admit they were right. It wasn’t a pride issue as much as I truly didn’t know how to do it. It felt too big to back out and so I drove 300 miles north into what would become the hardest and most traumatic 10 years of my life.
From the moment I moved I knew I should get out, but we had a house in escrow by then. My gut was still screaming at me. And then I was married. Even during our marriage ceremony, I could not look him in the eyes for more than a few seconds. I knew this marriage was wrong, but there we were with our family and friends. I didn’t know how to step back, how to just say “I can’t.” Shortly after, came my pregnancy, and then I knew I missed my opportunity to heed the warnings of intuition. There was a time that I couldn’t take any more and did consult with an attorney, but I would not run the risk of losing partial custody, and so I made the decision to put everything I had into making my life as peaceful as possible to survive until my baby graduated high school. I tried to be a good wife, to be a good mother, and to help my husband be a good father. I’m not sure I succeeded at any of those goals, but I know my heart was in the right place in making sure I was with my daughter full time while she was being raised. And now I made justifications for him and protected him fiercely so that I didn’t have to be honest about the hell I was living in. That much honesty was just too painful and embarrassing. Everyone knew and no one talked about it in order to spare me the shame.
I suffered through horrible bouts of GI distress. Yes, that intuition was literally eating at my gut. It then went to my back in the form of stress-related
lower back pain, which eventually turned into 2 torn disks. I had gall bladder surgery, a hysterectomy, knee surgery, and multiple back injections. Ignored intuition led to tremendous stress and the consequences of that wreaked havoc on my body. After 8-1/2 years of marriage, my husband wanted to keep the “company” of other women and I wasn’t up for that, and so it was over. It was the best gift he ever gave me…a reason to be out of the marriage, to recover, and to move forward. And then came the hard part, when I had to face the truth of what I knew off the bat, of what I chose to ignore, and the impact that had on my children and on myself. It’s been a hellish road to recovery, of forgiveness for myself, of shame, and of guilt for doing what *I* wanted to do rather than listening to my intuition which was only serving to protect me. It was a painful and scary road that my family and close friends had to witness.
The whole road to recovery is best suited for another time, so I won’t get into it here in detail. Suffice it to say that I had to be stripped bare and dropped to the bottom of a black hole before I could start putting myself back together again, clawing my way to daylight. I am who I am today because of all this, so it’s hard to say I regret it all, and yet I can only find one redeeming factor in my decision to repeatedly ignore my intuition…and she is my beautiful 12-year-old daughter. Had I listened to the screaming in my gut, in my head, and from everyone who knew me, I don’t know how things would look right now in my life…very different I’m sure. I’m happy in my life, and I’m happy for the lessons I’ve learned. Surely there could have been an easier way to get to this point if only I had paid attention at the onset. If only…
Intuition is here for a reason. It is our protection, it is our guide. Ignoring it can have horrible consequences, it can lead to missed opportunities, to painful decisions, to health issues. I may not always make the right decisions (in fact, I can almost guarantee a few more wrong ones along the way), but I can tell you that I will always stop, listen, and honor what my intuition is telling me.
Carrie Hanson is a life coach and founder of Tempo Life Coaching. She specializes in coaching people going through life transitions, such as divorce,grief, parenting, empty nesters, new job, relocation. She works with clients who are feeling stuck in life and will help them navigate past roadblocks in order to achieve their goals and realize their potential and dreams. She also works specifically with adolescents and teens as they are transitioning out of childhood and trying to manage their way into young adulthood. Although the positive energy and forward movement of life coaching is Carrie’s current training and passion, she has an educational background as a therapist with an MA in Marriage, Family, Child Counseling as well as a school counseling credential. She currently works part time with K – 8 children as a private school counselor.
Carrie lives in southern California and is the mother of 3 children. She enjoys the sport of triathlon and the training that comes along with it as well as reading, quilting, and spending time with her family. She coaches via phone or Skype, so distance is no barrier.
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