Go With Your Gut (caution: might be a trigger for some of you)
Pamela Dennison (c) 2017
Instinct is a fascinating thing. It kept our ancestors safe from danger, when the environment was more primitive than it is now. Way back then, it was kill or be killed by predators that were far larger then the predators of today.
When this instinct started, or was learned by personal experience or observation, the world, on certain levels, was a simpler place; no phones, no website, no internet, no TV or radio, no rush, no constant bombardment of media to dull our senses so much so that we don’t listen to our bodies anymore.
I think our “gut” reactions to many instances in our lives these days gets pushed away either consciously or unconsciously, either because we don’t trust it, we’re distracted, or perhaps we don’t recognize it for what it is – our body or minds way of telling us “danger is coming,” or “danger is already here.”
We have all felt this gut feeling at one point or another – it might present itself as subtle or be more visceral. Either way, my question is this; Do you listen to it?
This gut reaction could be toward a person or group of people, an animal, a situation. You may feel that you can’t or aren’t allowed to react appropriately due to societal expectations, especially if you are a woman. Women must always be nice, quiet, never talk back, never protect ourselves. We must always be “politically correct,” never rock the boat, always be polite.
Here’s a personal story from when I was 4 years old:
A family friend lifted me up in his arms and was trying to get me to kiss him (I was a completely adorable kid – see above). I said “no.” He tried again, “Oh come on Pammy, kiss me.” Again, I said “no.” He tried a third time. This time my response was, “Put me down or I’ll kick you in the testicles.” He put me down instantly.
So what happened here? I was uncomfortable with this man invading my personal space. I tried to be polite and when that didn’t yield me what I needed, I didn’t acquiesce; I made sure my wishes were known in no uncertain terms (and yes, I knew what testicles were, even at age 4). I protected myself.
Have you ever met someone and within seconds, had a gut reaction to them (in terms of a negative reaction)? I’m not talking about first impression kinds of emotions, but a much deeper, more instinctual feeling. I know I have. There were a few times it was so strong, that I had to literally take a few steps backward or leave the room. I’ve had the same gut reaction to a few dogs over the years as well.
Remember this: Your gut never lies. Never. If you feel it, it’s real. If you feel it, to hell with social niceties – protect yourself, protect your dog. If you really feel you need to, you can apologize later.