This post is going to go to a whole new level of personal—just a warning.
Today’s discussion was inspired by younger Michelle; well, younger, but not that much younger. Long story short, I was going through my old journals and found these entries from when I had just started a relationship, and I want to talk about some little snippets. I feel like there’s a good lesson about trusting your instincts to be learned here, and we’ll get to it, but let’s start with the story.
Basically, I have been journaling for several years. My usual method of journaling is stream-of-consciousness, so I basically just write whatever’s there. Sometimes I might do a formal practice such as a deepest fear inventory or some shadow work, but most of the time I’m just journaling what’s present for me.
At this point in my life, I wouldn’t journal every single day, but when I did, it was usually about men. My relationships really consumed my life at that point, as I’m sure you may be able to relate to.
So basically what happened was, I got into a relationship with this guy, and even before we were official, I spotted some red flags.
We went out on a date, and I literally wrote about how great the date was, how great the chemistry was, how amazing our kiss was, all the things. And then I wrote this…
“I also see a potential red flag. He asked me what I look for in a man, and I said a growth mindset. He essentially took this as me trying to change a man, which is not what I want. Does me wanting someone to have a growth mindset mean I don’t love and accept them as they are? I don’t think so. He’s mentioned that mindset is for people who are unhappy and want to change, but I don’t believe that. He also said that my work could be seen as ‘preying on the weak.’ I will not take that on. I help people, and my work is incredibly valuable.”
Now, I went on with this relationship for a little while. Despite those immediate red flags, I wanted to continue seeing him, which is wild to me now. That is not an example of trusting your instincts.
This is why I talk about being so fucking clear on what you want. I said I wanted someone with a growth mindset, yet I was completely willing to abandon that because he was nice, he was cool, and we had great chemistry. That is not the vibe.
So, this brings me to a different relationship. I’d been in this relationship for about two months, and I wrote this:
“I feel like I’ll never be able to move past my fearful avoidance. He said ‘I love you’ the other day, and I was so happy, but maybe I wasn’t ready because I’ve completely retreated since then. I’ve been silent, I’ve been critical. I’ve been so avoidant. I feel like a horrible partner. I just want to push and push until he leaves and then I can be alone again.”
Can we acknowledge the fact that my boyfriend at the time said “I love you,” and all I could think of was how much I wanted to be alone? Trust your instincts, Michelle!
Did I? No. A week later, I wrote this:
“My need for space is incredible. It’s insatiable. More than one to two days with a boyfriend, and I need space. I woke up at 4:00 AM because he was cuddling me, and I felt so angry and annoyed because I just wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t get the fuck out of my face.”
Oh my God. First of all, so reactive. I was not communicating any of this with my partner at the time. I wasn’t having conversations, I wasn’t leaning in. And now, upon reflection, no wonder the relationship didn’t work out. One, it was doomed from the beginning, which is why trusting your instincts clearly saves you time. And two, I didn’t act like a healthy adult at all in that relationship.
So obviously, as you probably know, I’m now in a relationship with Drew. Clearly those relationships that I’m speaking about in my journal did not work out, and that is for the absolute best. But what I wanted to speak to you about is this concept of listening to your intuition and trusting your instincts.
The reason I wanted to share those journal entries is because it’s so clear that I wasn’t listening to my gut. My intuition was clearly telling me, “You don’t want to be in this relationship, you are not connected, you’re not in love with him. Trust your instincts.” Instead, I could go through so many other journal entries where I wrote about the gazillion red flags that were in that relationship on both ends.
Clearly I was seeing the signs; they were coming to me, I was writing them down, but I wasn’t picking up what God was putting down.
Here’s the thing. We often think that with intuition, it’s going to come in this very black or white, matter-of-fact kind of way, but in actuality, it’s not going to fall out of the sky and tell you directly that this guy is not the one or that he is the one. It’s a feeling. Trusting your instincts starts by paying attention to your feelings.
To put it in the context of that relationship, he was telling me “I love you,” and I felt sick. What do you think my intuition was saying?
We get these messages, we get these feelings, and while it might not fall out of the sky, it might come through a certain kind of message. For me, animals can be a real sign, or numbers.
When you see a sign and you get that feeling, you get to decipher what that means for you. We don’t have to go running to Google. You get to decide what that means for you, and that requires deeply trusting your instincts to tell you what you need to know.
It also comes through sensations in the body. For instance, when that first guy said that having a growth mindset meant that you were constantly wanting to change yourself, I felt a major ick in my body.
This is why I preach so much about being connected to your body. We cannot figure this shit out with only our minds, because our minds focus on logic, not emotion. When you trust your instincts, you just know when something isn’t right. But your mind will say, “He’s a nice guy. We have chemistry. It’s great.”
In fact, let me show you an example of this from my journal:
“It could be good for him to be with someone that can help him open up and be vulnerable.”
Are you fucking kidding? Right from the get-go, I told myself, “I’m going to heal him. I’m going to be his therapist. I’m going to love him into wholeness. I’m going to show him that it’s okay to be vulnerable.”
No. I’m not his fucking nurse. I’m not his caretaker. I’m not his mommy. If he wants to work on himself, great, he can do that. It’s not my responsibility to help him do that, and it’s not yours, either.
Ultimately, there were so many fucking red flags, but I wasn’t listening.
So let me ask you: are you not listening? Are you refusing to trust your instincts? Because I hear from a million women that they don’t hear their intuition. “I just don’t know. God doesn’t speak to me. The universe doesn’t speak to me.” Yes, it fucking does. But you are so stuck in your ego that you don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to trust your instincts, because you’re already attached to the outcome of being with this guy. That’s the truth.
Because you’re already attached to this relationship concept, no matter what anyone says, even if a stranger did come to the street, even if God appeared in front of you and was like “Kelly, this guy ain’t it. He ain’t the one,” you’d be like, “Was that really God?”
Here’s the thing you have to learn: if you don’t trust your instincts and listen to the signs, God’s just going to keep handing you the same fucking lesson over and over and over, because that guy with all the red flags? I dated him like seven times. Not him him exactly, but that kind of person. I dated him a million fucking times.
I remember writing about another boyfriend after our first date, and I was like, “Oh my God, I had my date with so-and-so and it was the best date I’ve ever been on in my entire life. Oh my God, he’s so hot. The chemistry, it’s amazing, but I don’t know…I just feel like I can’t trust him.” I ignored it, and we had trust issues all throughout our relationship.
You have to start listening to your intuition and trusting your instincts, because the level of self-trust that I have now is so much deeper. While reading these journal entries, I can really see how far I’ve come, because I worked so hard on my emotional intelligence. I worked on developing my self-trust. I did ego work and focused on getting my ego out of the way.
Before, I didn’t know how to be in a fucking relationship, and now relating is the easiest thing in the world to me. Connecting to myself is the easiest thing in the world. Having conversations with my partner is the fucking easiest thing in the world.
So, what the fuck are you not listening to? Why the fuck are you refusing to trust your instincts? Because you’re getting these messages, I know you are. It’s coming through feelings, it’s coming through thoughts, it’s coming through song lyrics, it’s coming through signs, but you might not have the language to be able to translate.
Start looking for the synchronicities in your world. Start listening when your body tells you things. Trust your instincts and give them the time of day, because they will save you a whole lot of shit.
If you want to go from feeling anxious AF about your love life to feeling confident, secure, and having unfuckwithable self-worth, join my program The Connected Woman, starting in early February: https://michellepanning.com/the-connected-woman
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Be sure to connect with me over on Instagram. I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were. Or head over to my website to learn more about how we can work through your relationship journey together.
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”