Sometimes You Just Know
So sorry to hear about Pup —I hope she’s okay! Your column last week reminded me of my own issues about trusting my intuition.
Recently, my husband Matt and I were shopping for routers at Costco. When he grabbed one and put it in the cart, I had the feeling something was wrong, but I didn’t want to sound like a nag, so I kept my mouth shut.
Later, when he opened it, there was someone else’s receipt inside! Even though the box was in perfect condition, the router had obviously been used. It wasn’t such a big deal for Matt to go back and replace it, but if I had said something, it could have saved him the return trip.
When Matt heard about how I almost told him to pick different router, he said that I’ve had enough “hindsight being 20/20” experiences that I should have just listened my instincts.
Why do you think we doubt ourselves?
—Laura in Seattle
When it comes to trusting my gut, I tend to overthink things. This stems from the need to corroborate my feelings with some form of fact. And when I can’t find the supporting data in my head, I seek affirmation from other people.
Any of this sound familiar to you?
One common pattern that I see in both our situations is that we were worried about other people’s opinions. You didn’t want to sound like a nagging wife and I was hoping my porch pals would confirm my concern for Pup’s wellbeing.
Here’s the thing: our intuition is merely an extension of our life experiences. Because of this, it’s rare for two people to have the same point of reference in the exact same moment. And when it happens, we get all freaked out about it and say things like, “Jinx! Buy me a Coke.”
The reason you kept your mouth shut is because your point of reference was focused on all the times you’ve been nagging wife, rather than all the times you’ve had 20/20 hindsight.
When looking for confirmation from my friends that I was right to worry about Pup, I had completely blocked out the experience of having PJ die suddenly and unexpectedly. I also didn’t take into consideration the fact that the median age of our porch gathering was 67.2. So of course their frame of reference was that Pup just showing signs of regular wear and tear!
Even when I expressed my concern about Pup to the vet, she operated from assumption that Pup had most likely fractured one of her dog knuckles, based on the fact that her pain was presenting itself almost entirely in her paw. It wasn’t until Pup was sedated and her leg was shaved that they discovered that she had been bitten by a copperhead snake.
Thank goodness I worried. It saved her life.
When it comes to trusting our intuition, we don’t always have the evidence we need in the exact moment. Sometimes we just know. The best way to overcome our doubt is make peace with this fact.
Thanks for your letter, Laura. Sending big hugs to you and to all the wonderful, amazing readers who have expressed their love, kindness and concern for Pup and me over the past few months—both online and in person. Who knew there were so many and from so far away?
Sending much love, light and appreciation to you all. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Originally published in Connect Savannah