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  • Writer's pictureMarc D. Richter, LICSW, LADC

Trusting Your Gut To Lead The Way: Where The Gut & Values Intersect With One Another

Love Your Gut

Most of us strive to base life decisions, actions and behaviors in accordance with our belief and value systems and our guiding moral principles. Yet, in general, despite our best efforts, most of us typically fall somewhere short of this goal. This can be for a whole host of reasons and clarifying certain values can be easier work sometimes than clarifying others. In practice our values are typically chosen haphazardly in somewhat of a piece-meal fashion from people who’ve had the most influence throughout our lives. Our values often don’t even align with one another and in their contradiction to our life decisions make them that much less logical at times. Gaining clarity regarding our values involves deep digging within. Yet, how often do people choose a value almost arbitrarily (with their head brain) only to find later that it really doesn’t agree with the deepest part of themselves? Where does gut fit in to this picture? And what does one do when it seems a value held dear comes in conflict with a gut feeling on a significant life situation or decision? Is it possible for ones value to not be in alignment with ones gut?

Of course it is! Throughout life this occurs frequently for most of us. As Dr. Clay Tucker-Ladd notes, such conflicts are often present when values change. And values do change as our understanding of our lives in turn change. We mature. We have children. We face other major life changes, ordeals, even death, all of which can change our values.

“…to have true wisdom about our values requires knowledge and reasoning skills [head], awareness of our irrationality[head/heart/gut], insight into our emotions [heart], and some probing of our unconscious. That is hard.”

I propose that a portion of the unconscious actually resides within the gut. I further suggest that gut feelings help drive our values and that our belief and value systems are in part simply our attempts at providing narratives for the activities and vibrations we feel within our gut. The gut is clear in its feelings and when it “speaks” it consistently guides us. We just need to practice tuning into our gut and placing increased trust in it.

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