I often find myself giving a sigh and knowing laugh at the common tension found within the walls of the counseling office. “First thought wrong” coupled with “learning to trust yourself,” are two sentiments I share with folks on a regular basis, though in not so blunt terms. At first glance it may seem impossible for the two to co-exist. How can I learn to both not trust myself and to trust myself? When do I trust myself and when do I move on in a different direction or choice? And what if I get it wrong, trusting when I shouldn’t have and not trusting when I should? It is a bit confusing, even for me to explain.
Yet, as I wrestle with the tension these two ideas create, I find they bring about a perfect and freeing harmony, both in the counseling realm and outside the office in “real life.” Our first thoughts and ideas can be spot on. Our gut reaction can lead us to some amazing places, help us stay safe, or genuinely do the right thing. Trusting our intuition is important because it communicates to us about us. This is so important buecause our relationship with ourself is so important. It’s the one relationship we have our entire lives. Intuition is a gift to use and cherish.
However, intuition alone is rarely the only evidence or entire picture we ought to look at. Intuition can sometimes urge us to jump before looking, to act on feelings that may be based solely in fear or worry, excitement or pleasure. Our gut can urge us react based in survival rather than respond with clarity. First thought wrong is often first feeling wrong and an indication to pause, gather more information, and then proceed. The thoroughness, carefulness, meticulousness, and diligence that define rigor serve us.
And so it is with intuition and rigor.
We were created to have and develop both these pieces of us. Both intuition and rigor are vital to our experiences, our successes and failures, our relationships and endeavors. And at the crux of a balanced life is co-existence between these internal parts where communication is constant. It is finding balance between our intuition, what our gut says and pulls us towards, and rigor, the hard sought knowledge and intellect, that is essential for whole living.
Learning how to do this, accepting when we get it wrong, and getting back up to try again, well, these are the hard parts of walking the balanced life. Here isn’t the space to work that out, rather in invitation to play with and wrestle with the idea of balance. Most of us lean towards one way or another. We trust our gut come what may, or we trust hard work and the strict discipline we commit to. Often times we may even teeter-totter between the two in extreme ways. Finding balance requires an honest look at ourselves to see what we favor and looking at how that both blesses and burdens us. Then, and only then, can we begin the difficult work of finding the freeing place of balance.
Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.
To dive more into a balanced relationship with intuition and rigor, contact me me today.