One of the things that I love most about my work as a coach and a doula is the undeniable interconnection between psychology and biology. I love learning about how our bodies and our minds interact and how we may work with this system to use it to our advantage.
We as humans, no matter how evolved we become, are animals. We were created to adapt, evolve, and thrive. So much of our existence revolves around drives that are so basic to every animal in the world: food and water, shelter and safety, learning and development, companionship and belonging. Of course, we were also created to have a life that is more advanced than other animals, but really, when broken down, that is what we are. We are primal beings, with primal needs, motivations, and desires.
We are instinctual beings, just like everyone else on this magnificent earth.
Think about that for just a moment. Think about the things that we just seem to know how to do. The things that we learn as we go through life, whether they are taught to us or not. The things that just come naturally to us as human beings. And while tuning into some of these intrinsic messages may be difficult at times, the bottom line, however, is the same: we are instinctual beings.
So, if this is correct and we are such instinctual beings that move toward that which feels good, and away from that causes stress, why do we have such trouble trusting our instincts? Why do we often struggle to decide if we should listen to what our hearts are telling us, or if we are better off heeding the advice of our heads? Why do some of us seem to lack intuition or that gut-feeling that seems to inherently guide others?
It is because our instincts are so often over-ruled by our intellect. So often, we are encouraged to trust our heads instead of our hearts. We give greater merit to logic and reason because they offer better evidence or proof than any other alternative. We tend to overlook the power and insight of emotion and intuition because these feelings are seen as less objective and therefore less concrete. We live in a society that undeniably favors the science of logic and discounts the science of emotions. Because of this, we tend to forget that there is a connection between the two. That each preference, tendency, or approach to life plays an equally important role for us as human beings. We forget that each is just as valuable, useful, and important as the other. That they are interdependent to one another and integral to our well-being.
This Monday, practice a bit of mindfulness and listen to your whole self, giving merit to the messages that you receive. Recognize the thoughts and ideas that dance through your head. Acknowledge your feelings and consider them valid. Tune in to your body and assess your current state. Take heed of all these messages and integrate them into one. You might just be surprised with what you learn about yourself.-El