Random thoughts Self Management

Gut Feelings

Most of us are born with this gut feeling. In fact, I’ve seen, that children are really good at it. It’s the same thing with animals. They instinctively know, if a situation, or a person is dubious or not trustworthy. There may be no logical reason for it, but they are quick to know the difference between the good guys and bad guys.

Most of us grownups have got sidetracked by wanting to follow the protocol and do the ‘right’ thing in a given situation. Kids, usually do not care a damn, and will make a big noise, regardless. So, this is what I’m talking about. There are times, when we grown ups must listen to our gut feeling too. Perhaps this is why it is called the second brain.

This gut feeling. How, against all logic and reason, you have this ‘feeling’ that this person/situation isn’t safe or right. We keep teaching children about ‘good touch’ and ‘bad touch’. We should be telling ourselves the same too. It has happened in relationships too. How you dragged on a dead relationship for years and years, when you could have easily listened to your gut feeling and responded much earlier, and saved yourself years and years of pain and agony.

Yes, I’m talking about these red signals that we sometimes choose to ignore, just because ‘what will people say, or think?’ I knew of a divorce case which took place about fifteen years too late. The girl said, ‘I married him, after fighting with my whole family, when finally, I got married to this ‘love of my life; ’ the very next day, I realized, I had made a mistake. and within a few days it was confirmed, she had made a mistake. Her family had been right about this guy.

She held on to the relationship, wondering what would she say to her family, that they were right, and she was wrong? So, the same result happened, but after two sons were born into the relationship and many unhappy years of ‘marriage’.

Better late than never.

So, this gut feeling or instinctive feeling is extremely important. One must do one’s best to listen to it. These days, our lives are so ‘busy’, doing back-to-back work and chores, interfaced with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, that we don’t give ourselves the time to think independently.

Listening to your gut feeling, needs independent thinking, and for that you need sometime alone with yourself.

After an ugly event in your life takes place, and you are in shock, unable to absorb it all in, you realize, there had been so many ‘red signals’, and so much gut feeling that you had been ignoring throughout. A lot wouldn’t have happened, had you listened to it, earlier.

Make space in your life:

It is vital for you to make some space in your life, on a daily basis. It can be during your walk in the evening, (just go alone, and leave that phone ‘off’ in your pocket.) So, you can give yourself time for deep breathing and deep thinking.

It is during such moments when in retrospect, you can analyze what you are doing in your life. Is this what you want? Why is someone pushing you into a decision, that goes against your own principles? Why are you saying ‘yes’, when your gut instinct is saying ‘no’.

Gut feeling and instincts:

This book ‘The Blink’ by Malcolm Gladwell is all about this. When you meet someone, within the first few seconds, you instinctively ‘know’ whether this person will be good for you or not. After the first few minutes, it is a lot of influx of all the thoughts flooding your mind on what you’ve been told about the person, or how you ‘should’ be thinking of him or her.

There is actually no ‘should’ or ‘could’ in gut feeling. It is just there. You just ‘know’. There are no logical distinctions, yet it gives you the best information you need for whether you need to get into that situation or not.

Recent case of Noor:

Islamabad has been shaken by the recent grueling murder of Noor, by her ex-fiancé and family friend Zahir. As I write, the case is going on in the courts. Here is the story of a lovely girl who lost her life in the most horrific manner. I also happen to know of another girl who also received a text from this guy saying he would love to say bye to her, before leaving for the US, and was trying to invite her over to his home. Good for her, that girl ignored the request, and refused to meet him.

She saved her life that day.

Noor, obviously ignored her gut feelings and went to meet him. Giving this man, the opportunity to carry out his revenge, by inviting her into his den.

Here is a prime case of a girl sidelining her gut feelings, and ignoring the red signals. I believe, he had a very foul vocabulary which in the fashionable world is considered very ‘in’. Using abuse in one’s language and the fashionable ‘f’ word, is sickening. Yes, you can call me old fashioned, I come from a time when even saying ‘yaar’ to someone wasn’t considered very nice.

Anyhow, its not that. It can literally save your life, if you heed to it.

The incident in 1994, Sargodha.

Once, when we were living in Sargodha PAF colony, we used to go every night for swimming. The timings were from 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm, (the ladies preferred this time slot to save themselves from getting tanned). So, along with my own three daughters, their friends too would come along with us, as their mothers felt safe sending their daughters with me. We went daily.

One day, I had this bad gut feeling. For, no apparent reason, I refused to go that night, and told all the friends of my daughters to go home. It used to be so hot, they would be coming wearing their swimsuits under their normal clothes. So, they were quite upset. But I stood my ground and said, I’m not going today. (Even I didn’t know why, but my gut feeling was very strong.) After a lot of hue and cry the girls had to agree, as I refused to be cajoled into going, due to their insistence.

Guess what? After about half an hour, there was a huge storm, the electricity went off, trees fell and branches flew in different directions. Of course there was rain and lightning too. Had we been in the pool at the time, it would have been horrifying, being in the water in the pitch dark, and having the branches of trees falling around us. What with the flashing lightning and rain too.

To this day, my girls ask me, ‘how did you know?’ I didn’t. But I listened to my gut feeling.

What to do, if you still have to go ahead:

Okay, so there is a situation where your instincts are telling you not to do something, but you really have to go. What then?

  • Well, then give a sadqa or charity on the way.
  • Read ‘ya Hafeezo’ repeatedly.
  • Tell someone responsible, where you will be and with whom at what time.
  • Put the ‘location’ or ‘live location’ on your phone’s WhatsApp, sharing with a trustworthy person you know. If Noor had kept the live location on with her parents, they would have known that she hasn’t gone to Lahore with friends, but is still in Islamabad and in E-7 at that time.
  • My daughter Nataliya in Seattle knows where I am at any given time.
  • Use your gadgets for your own safety.
  • Change locks of your house every year or after every few months.
  • Take your gut feeling seriously.
  • Trust no one. Definitely do not meet anyone alone. If you have to, meet in a public place like a restaurant.
  • Every family needs to have a special ‘password’ for danger. Keep refreshing it.

Stay safe, protected and blessed. ?

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