I've learned many things in my life.
Some I learned quickly!
Some took me so darned long to learn, I'm sure the Universe amplified things on purpose to make sure I got the point.
I was always one of the 'good girls' growing up. A bit of a perfectionist (alright...a complete perfectionist), and a definite people-pleaser.
I couldn't bear it if someone didn't like me. I tried so freaking hard to be the best I could be for all people, in all ways. (It's exhausting being a people-pleasing-perfectionist).
It took me until my mid 30s to be confident with my own personal decorating style. In the beginning I'd always wonder what others would think of my home. I went through the keeping up with this fad and that fad stage. I bought things that were supposed to be 'in' and 'on trend' even if I wasn't entirely in love with them.
I completely ignored my own decorating intuition.
My homes always looked gorgeous (I thought so anyway!), but they probably weren't a great reflection of my personality, the real me. And, I've a feeling people always felt a teensy bit uncomfortable when they visited..... as if they were sitting on the edge of the sofa too scared to muck up the perfect cushion placement.
I also used to vacuum at least twice (sometimes 4 or more times) a week, and check the dust on top of the door surrounds weekly.
Ha!!! I'm lucky to vacuum once a week and do the door checking thing once in six months now (well, maybe three!).
There's so many other more interesting things to do.
But back to my point....
I found my decorating style in my mid 30s, and I've been following my instincts there ever since. My home makes me wonderfully happy, and enriches my life. That's what matters to me most now. Plus, no-one looks awkward when they come and visit anymore. They like me, so they like my home (even if it's not their style and they wouldn't live there), because it's a part of me!
It took me a trifle longer, another 10 years or so (I needed many lessons), to transfer the use of my instincts to my life in general.
And, I learned the hard way, that for me, the most important rule in life is to TRUST YOUR GUT.
I listen to my Gut closely now, and no decision that's truly been based on a Gut feeling has steered me wrong.
The times I have been wrong, I've convinced myself my Gut was telling me something because I desperately wanted it to be that way. But, all the while, if I'd stopped and properly checked in with my innate self, I would have known the best way to turn. At least I can recognise that now, the few times I do stuff up.
It's not a pretty word - GUT. It has grit, and bluntness, and directness about it. It's not an airy, fairy word like intuition (although I love that word too), and it means something other than following your heart (which I'm all about).
You can want something so strongly with your heart (a person, a thing, an idea), but that doesn't always mean it's good or right for you. It once took me over a year of counseling after a disastrous and damaging relationship to get my mind around the whole heart/head/gut thing.
I'm now adept at using my head and rationalising things where I need to, and I also haven't lost my belief in following your heart. But, I now check both of these up against my Gut.
Whichever way stacks up with my Gut (head or heart, or bits of both), that's the way I go.
I think being able to listen to your GUT is a gift we too often choose not to accept. It's that little (yet infinitely wise) whisper that sits right at your core. The one you don't want to listen to sometimes because it's not what your heart or your head is telling you to do. It's the true well from which your authenticity comes.
It's the essence of YOU.
Intuition at its finest.
I actually love the word Gut now. I don't need any fluffy, pretty, nice way to think about doing what's right for me. It's short, it's solid, it's always there. I can rely on it. I know it wants to keep me safe as well as happy.
My heart often runs rampantly away with dreams, wishes, and amazing desires (all of which are fine and worth aiming for). I love that I have the freedom in my life to go after these goals. Awesome!
But, thank goodness, I know my Gut will always be there to support and guide me when I lose my head. When I get completely distracted at the expense of my physical and emotional well-being.
Getting to 'the guts of it' is something that took me a long time to learn, but it's the best thing I've learned in my 50+ years on this planet.
Now, I'm always conscious of honouring myself, and keeping my relationship with my Gut healthy. I hope I never slide back into my old ways. I wouldn't want the Universe to smack me around with another devastating lesson just to prove its point again.
How is your relationship with your Gut?