In terms of parenting, I often feel as if I’m up against the world…and the world is winning. Whether it’s about PG-13/R movies, “T” or “M” video games, paintball guns, air-soft guns, texting, cell phones or whatever, there are always ten other kids who are allowed to do more than my children. It’s a constant battle—with everybody. Even the parents who I’d bet would have the same values as I, don’t. Inevitably I end up questioning my own values: am I too old fashioned? Too strict? Too … (fill in the blank)?

Unfortunately this questioning does not help my parenting. Nor, by the way, does it help in life. Throughout the years, I’ve found that women are particularly prone to this type of self-questioning—everywhere in our lives. We may start out feeling strongly about an issue, concept or incident. However we often cave when challenged. We begin to think that our thinking is wrong. We start to talk ourselves into believing the alternate view and then try to get comfortable with what we know to our core doesn’t feel right.

Women need to know something: when it doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t right. All the doubting, reframing and second guessing in the world is not going to change that gnawing feeling. Why? Because that gnawing feeling is called INSTINCT. Too often women numb their instincts. We do this for many reasons: fear, we don’t want to hurt someone, we want to be liked, we don’t trust ourselves, etc. Rather than trusting our instincts and risk upsetting our loved ones, we take the hit ourselves. Perhaps, we think, we’re misreading something or we’re too sensitive or (fill in the blank). Basically, when others question our instincts--many of us cower.
Over time, cowering takes its toll. We begin to trust ourselves less and less, others begin to doubt us more and more and we make ourselves small. This creates a ripple effect of self-doubt, insecurity, ineffectiveness and damaging relationships. Human beings are given the gift of instincts as a source of protection. They are like our beacon in the fog. They keep us on track and protect us from troubled waters. Ignoring them is a foolish, unsafe practice that puts us at risk.

If your gut is telling you something—LISTEN. If you begin to question yourself, then run your instinct through the instinct tester: pretend your best friend was telling you the same story you’re beginning to question yourself on. Would you tell her she was crazy and being paranoid or would you think she was right on?

Bottom line: stop numbing your instincts and instead hone them. They’re a gift and your beacon in the fog.

CHALLENGE: Pay attention to what your instincts are telling you. Learn to listen to those nagging feelings, see those red flags and hear the rumblings our world is sending you. Also pay attention to all the ways you deaden your instincts. When you begin to question yourself, run your instincts through the instinct tester and trust the answer.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Merlo-Booth is a relationship coach with over 15 years of experience in the field of therapy and coaching. She has worked with individuals, families and couples on a variety of life issues. http://www.relationalcoaching.com.

She earned her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Pepperdine University in 1991 and has received her coaching training from Coach University. Lisa is the Director of Training for the Relational Life Institute owned by the renowned author, Terrence Real.

Check out Lisa's blog on relationships at http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straighttalk/