We’ve all had it.

That gut feeling.

It might be telling us to do something. It might be telling us not to do something. It might be telling us someone is not to be trusted. It might be telling us to run – metaphorically, or physically. It might be telling us to trust and leap.

It is never, ever wrong.

Not in my experience, anyway.

Every time in my life that I have ended up in a shitty situation, gotten fucked over, walked on, used, missed an opportunity, lost out, or been unequivocally screwed…it is because I have not acted on what my gut was telling me.

As life has gone on, I have honed my ability to listen to my gut, and hear what it’s saying. That’s a skill in itself.

The part I’m still working on is trusting it enough to pull the plug with no better reason than, “Because my gut is telling me to.”

Trust the tummy.

Now, I have to point out that the list of ways I have screwed myself over, which is long and varied, is a very different thing than being hurt because I’ve opened myself up to someone, they’ve done the same, and it just didn’t work. I’ve been there too. That’s awful and painful and something that, once you do it enough times and it doesn’t work out, you start to shy away from. At least I have. But that is not a case of being hurt because I haven’t listened to my gut. That’s a case of being hurt because sometimes things don’t work out between two people, and if you’ve opened yourself up and invested of yourself in that relationship, the ending of it will hurt.

That’s ok. That’s the right kind of hurt.

That’s not the I-did-this-to-myself-because-I-didn’t-listen-to-that-inner-voice-that-I-knew-was-right-all-along kind of pain.

There’s a difference. And if you get very still, and if you get very real with yourself, you can see the difference.

Once you can see the difference, you can start to identify the something-isn’t-right-here gut feeling sooner in the process. Actually, you don’t see it, you feel it. Then, and only then, can we start to act on it.

History is a powerful ally. Once we can see the patterns clearly enough, the times that we would have fared better if only we’d listened to ourselves, that other path starts to look a whole lot more attractive.

But that other path is scary. Make no bones about it. People will look at you like you’ve gone mad. Some people won’t just look at you that way, they will launch into verbal tirades that will make your head spin. “What the hell are you doing, and why the hell are you doing it?” That’ll be the gist of it. Maybe not so politely. Maybe with far more personal attack.

For some reason, lots of people feel your trust in yourself, the universe, your gut, and forces they cannot see or quantify, are a personal assault against them. And they also feel it is their sole responsibility to make you see “reason.”

So be prepared.

But here’s the dirty little secret: your gut doesn’t lie. I said it before, and there it is again. The outcome may not manifest the way you think it’s going to, but your gut does not lie.

If your gut is telling you something is a bad idea, get the fuck out if there. I don’t care if a million dollars or just ten is riding on it. Promised happiness or personal safety. There is some bad mojo in there if your gut says so, and some way, some how, that shit will come back to bite you in the ass if you don’t sit up straight and listen to your body.

Listen. To. Your. Body.

It knows.

It always knows.

Your job is to learn to hear it, and to learn to act on it. Naysayers be damned. What they have to say doesn’t matter, ultimately. If anyone’s that concerned about being right, there are other issues at hand. What everyone should really be concerned about is everyone’s health, happiness, and well-being.

That goes for friends, family…and even arch nemeses. (Who has an arch nemesis these days? But you get my point. Even Sherlock should, theoretically, want health, happiness, and well-being for Moriarti, rather than simply to prove him wrong. Clearly Sherlock needs to work on becoming a little more evolved…that’s ok. We live him anyway.)

Listen.

Hear that? Feel that? That little feeling in the put of your stomach saying, “red flag! Red flag! I don’t trust this person!” Or, “something doesn’t smell right here. Uh-uh.” Trust it. Go with it.

Act on it. You will never be sorry you did.

You might, however, be very, very, very sorry you didn’t.

I know I was. Every single time.