Hopping out of an Uber with my broker, we arrived at the prospective apartment. It was a typical New York City street corner, meaning it was super busy with three ambulances screeching by.
But more importantly, my chest tightened and I felt the urge to jump back in the Uber and flee to the nearest strand of nature.
"No, Devon. Let's check this place out. You need a place to live."
Walking up the stairs of the apartment, aesthetically - everything seemed great. Intellectually speaking, this apartment felt like the ideal place my boyfriend (now fiance) and I were supposed to reside.
Feeling the mounting sense of "this isn't right" in my body, I quickly started to list all of the reasons the apartment would work for us - close to jobs, great price, allows dogs, roof over our heads, etc.
But no matter how many reasons I listed, something just wasn't sitting well.
"Devon, stop being so sensitive. You've gotta be like a normal person and make decisions that are smart, practical and above all - make sense."
This is the internal dialogue I usually say to myself when my intuition is desperately trying to communicate something with me.
While I pay attention to the thoughts occurring in my brain (and trust me, there are MANY of them throughout the day) I always thrive when I listen to the part of me that has never led me astray - my intuition.
It's how I took the leap to move to New York City, apply to grad school super last minute (I'll probably share that story later) and have found the best jobs.
Flash forward to the next day (NYC real estate moves at lighting speed) the lease was signed. I felt somewhat relieved to have a roof over my head.
But I couldn't shake that feeling....
You know the one? The feeling where you've made a decision - taken a job, booked a vacation, moved cities or started a relationship - and something feels "off."
You have weird dreams or even nightmares? You feel anxious even when you think you *should* be happy?
Or you might notice things don't "flow" when you move forward with something that doesn't resonate with every fiber of your being.
Your furniture doesn't arrive on time. The position you took at your company leaves you feeling stressed-out and anxious.
The Airbnb you booked is "mysteriously" unavailable at the last minute.
When you ignore your intuition - weird things can happen.
As for the new apartment we moved into? It was by no means a terrible experience, but it never felt like I really lived there - almost like I was a visitor passing through.
And to be honest, things didn't flow.
We had weird plumbing issues, strange smells and get this - building management told me I wasn't "allowed" to have my name on the mailbox.
How's that for a sign from the universe?
Whenever I try and force things, rush things or push my intuition aside for the sake of strictly logical arguments, things just don't flow.
I end up in a state of not only kicking myself for not listening to my instincts, but feeling stressed out and like I'm swimming upstream.
As far as the apartment goes, it wasn't the most ideal experience, but I shockingly look back at my living situation with a healthy dose of nostalgia. It was a time where I couldn't force my way out of a situation.
I had to practice the art of relaxing into something that felt less than ideal.
Dare I say, that was perhaps the gift I needed all along?
But going forward, I make sure to check-in with my body before making choices - big and small.
Do I want to go to that networking event? Does my body feel relaxed when I envision arriving?
When I think about moving to that new neighborhood...am I excited? Or do I feel a little flutter in my stomach (but not in a good way) thinking about the new locale?
Does it feel like I'm forcing something when I rush and try to fit square pegs into round holes? Is there a lack of flow?
If you believe in God, a higher power, or even the mystery of the Universe, you can ask for guidance to be in alignment with your highest good as you move through decisions...whatever that means for you.
You can even experiment and see how your body feels when you turn down a street, greet a friend or envision vacationing in a certain location.
Signs you're on the right track - You feel relaxed, open, engaged, excited, warm and energized.
Signs your intuition is telling you to pause - You feel tight, anxious, worried or like you're moving through molasses - like something might be holding you back from following through.
Feelings don't have to make perfect sense in the moment. Sometimes, it takes days, months or years before we can look back and say, "Oh, that's why that thing didn't work out."
Be curious. Be open. And don't judge or feel like you have to have all the answers right away.
You can even make "mistakes" in your life when it comes to decision making.
How's that for a relief?
Remember, this is the year of Bidding Adieu to Perfectionism. In fact, think of "mistakes" as bumpy experiences to guide you, teach you and help you learn how to inevitably trust your intuition with all of your heart.
You don't have to do it perfectly. You just have to show up....
Trusting yourself, paying attention and moving forward one step at a time.
From my heart to yours,
Devon McLeod, LCSW
Let me know about a time YOU trusted your gut by commenting below. I'd love to hear what happened when you went with the wisdom of your intuition :)