“Follow your gut. ” How many times have we heard this saying? I know I have seen it on more fortune cookies and bumper stickers than I can remember. Funny thing about cliches and overused sayings is that there is often much truth to them.
I recently had an experience where this saying proved its weight in gold. I am 23 years old and have not dated in 3 years. Saying all that to say, it was a big deal when I recently had a crush on a guy after what seemed like the longest, dry spell of dating. My friends even got excited for me! Actually, I think they may have been more excited than I was! Just the idea that my heart had healed from a past relationship and grown strong enough to hold feelings for someone else, seemed miraculous.
Let me tell you, this was E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G! I think I was walking on cloud 9 for literally weeks straight. And I was okay with that. Sort of. I felt uneasy about having feelings for a guy just because that’s my personality. I am strange. I do not like not having control over my emotions, and when I saw this guy and kept getting that butterfly feeling, it made me feel nervous. I felt like a middle school girl who gets excited every time she sees a boy she likes. A harmless, juvenile crush. It was sweet (in a cheesy kind of way).
Hit the brakes! The more I saw this guy and got to know him, my instincts started kicking up a notch, until they were screaming, “Be still!” Be still? What does that even mean?, I asked. I barely know the guy, I thought. It’s just a silly crush, I said. He seems really nice, I reassured myself. So I tried to ignore that feeling. It might go away eventually. But it didn’t. It just got louder. Then, I thought, Okay, well maybe I can just be friends with him. “Be still,” my gut told me once again. So short. So plain. So simple. No explanation of why.
I decided to listen to my instincts. A few months later, while at a work related meeting, my crush was brought up in conversation (by people who knew nothing about the butterfly affect this guy had on me). While they didn’t know about my crush on this guy, they did know something about him that I did not know. HE IS DATING SOMEONE!!!!! (Stop. Reread that last line for impact.)
Twenty Something Advice (for Anyone):
“A woman knows by instinct what is best for herself.” Marilyn Monroe
Yep, my crush, the first guy I have had more than platonic feelings toward in more than three years, is dating someone else! I cannot lie and say that I wasn’t disappointed at the news. Just the idea of this guy sounded like perfection. But the reality was far from it. He is with another lady. So this is where I gracefully bow out and take my exit, stage right. Although I was disappointed, I can also honestly say that I was relieved too. My instincts told me something wasn’t right months ago. Now that I am older and slightly wiser, I have gotten better at listening to my inner voice, my instincts, that check on the inside of me that tells me when something isn’t right. It has saved me time and time again, and in this case, it spared me from getting too attached to a guy and having to get hurt.
As a twenty something, your gut is probably one of the most valuable things you have. There are constant choices we are bombarded with in the 20s. Where to live. What job to take. Whom to date or marry. While you are in the process, in the waiting game, in the place between here and there, I would encourage you to always follow your instincts. Not your fears. Your pride. Your feelings. But your gut. That inner knowing within you. That voice of discernment that whispers to you. The one that sometimes gets clouded out by your immediate desires that say things like date that really cute guy over there because he is cute and he is breathing!
Hone that inner voice inside of you. I know when I was younger, I would often squelch my instincts, only to regret it later. Don’t make that mistake. Trust yourself. When faced with a choice, a decision, a crossroads, always go with your gut. I guarantee that it’ll never lead you astray.
“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” Albert Einstein