We have all heard the expressions “Go With Your Gut” or “Follow Your Instincts”…
They have a great ring to them and make a lot of sense in theory. However, there have been many situations where I have had trouble adhering to this. I tend to second guess myself. I also like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I don’t want to make snap judgments. I prefer to let a situation play itself out so I know I have no regrets at the end of the day. I hate hurting peoples’ feelings. I cannot stand to feel like I am letting anyone, or myself, down. I don’t like to give in or let something (or someone) go without giving it every ounce of energy I have.
While these may be legitimate reasons I have for not always doing something that I know deep down inside is the right thing, I can tell you that at the end of the day the only person who suffers is me. I may like to give people the benefit of the doubt, not make snap judgments and worry very much about hurting someone’s feelings but the reality is that my instincts have always been one hundred percent correct. I do understand why I feel such a need to allow a situation to play itself out naturally, even if something isn’t sitting well with me. But, all I end up doing is allowing something that has sparked a huge red flag in my mind and body to continue on a lot longer than it should. And once again, I end up giving it an enormous amount of my time and energy, only to be left standing exactly where I knew I would be all along.
My first experience with this was back when I wouldn’t allow myself to go through two additional years of procedures and tests in an attempt to save my fistula ridden Jpouch. My parents took me to see another colo rectal surgeon for a second opinion since I was only 16 at the time and this was an incredibly permanent decision. I immediately resisted the idea of having a tube inserted in my pouch, which would then mean I would need to be scoped every two weeks for two years in the hope that my Jpouch would heal. Hearing from my surgeon following my operation that “There wasn’t a chance in hell this pouch could have been saved. All that would have done would be to delay the inevitable and put you through a ridiculous amount in the process” was music to my ears at the time.
There have been quite a few things in my life over the past couple months that have really made me stop and think about that time many years ago when I trusted myself without hesitation or thought. I didn’t really care too much about the opinions of other people. I just acted based on my own instincts and I trusted myself. I miss those days. So much has happened since that time that has caused me to doubt myself or worry about other things. It made me lose sight of what is actually important: me.
There are a myriad of circumstances surrounding this post. If you know me personally, you probably have an idea why today of all days I have decided to publish this. But, it is part of a much bigger issue in my opinion. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other chronic illnesses can cause a person to change in ways that you may not even become conscious of until it stares you in the face. I never realized how much being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis has caused me to second guess my instincts over time. It happened so gradually that I seriously haven’t noticed until very recently.
I think it is important for everyone to remember that no matter who you are or what you have been through in your life, if you cannot trust yourself, life will be a lot more challenging. I am far from happy about the situations that led me to open my eyes to this very pertinent lesson but I am extremely thankful that I am here now.