Day 17: Trusting your gut

Despite this blog being about all things body-related, this post isn’t about the size or shape of the gut, or about how to hold it in or accept it just as it is. It’s about what it tells us. Does anyone else struggle to listen to their gut? Or maybe the listening isn’t the problem, it’s the acting on it that seems to be difficult – at least for me. When I do take the time to stop and pay attention to what my gut/intuition/instinct/heart is telling me, it’s sometimes – not always – pretty clear what I’m being prompted to do or say. But then why, on so many occasions, do I choose to ignore it? Fear is the answer. It’s often the case that my gut is nudging me to do something a little bit different, something a bit risky, perhaps something non-conventional or out of the ordinary, something that requires a leap of faith, or maybe even just a little step of faith. And that’s what’s hard. It’s at that moment that all the ‘what ifs’ start to surface, all the insecurities, be they about money, relationships, career, my abilities or whatever, and I often end up doing what my head is telling me instead of my heart, instinct or gut.

That said, part of my journey throughout this Lent period and in my life today in general is about trying to follow my heart. I did it when I started writing this blog. I did it when I left my full-time journalism job back in 2008 and I did it today when I decided I could fit in a swim as well as doing my work. Good decision. It’s amazing how expending energy always gives me more and it’s equally amazing that I’m often reluctant to make the effort to do the exercise, despite being fully aware of the benefits. But at least I know I’m not on my own with that one!

But back to the gut and to fear. Mark Twain said ‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear’. I think that’s spot on. In the past, I think I was under the impression that if I felt fear I shouldn’t take a particular action or speak up about what was bothering me. Today, I realise that the fear, more than likely, will still be there and I’ll have to do my best to walk through it.

Of course, there were certain fears I never had any problem with – jumping out of a plane with a parachute, bungy jumping, white water rafting or hitchhiking out of a Mexican canyon before dawn, on my own. Some would call that last one stupidity, and looking back, I’d be inclined to agree. Or maybe recklessness is a more gentle way of putting it. But fear really gets me when it comes to speaking my truth, to speaking up for myself – particularly when the other person is one of those strong personality types. Now, it was commented to me this weekend that I come across as just one of those strong, confident personality types. Maybe I do. It’s probably something to do with the life I’ve led, the places I’ve travelled and the work I’ve done. But there are certain situations that really scare me, and they generally involve speaking up for myself in front of strong personality types. But that’s just what I did this weekend, despite the fear. And it felt pretty good.

To finish, just to say I’m afraid I won’t be as prolific over the next few weeks as I have been up until now. I have a lot of work to do this week and next (paid, thank goodness) so it’s going to be tough to fit in blogging every day, but I’ll do my best, not so much because I think it’s expected of me but because I’m grown very attached to my blog and really want to keep it up – and I still have a lot to say!

About Katherine Baldwin

I am a writer, coach, midlife mentor, motivational speaker and the author of How to Fall in Love - A 10-Step Journey to the Heart. I specialise in coaching women and men to have healthy relationships with themselves so that they can form healthy and loving romantic relationships and lead authentic, fulfilling lives. I coach 1:1, lead workshops and host retreats.
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