Why You Can’t Always Trust Your Intuition About Love And Career Choices | Dr. LeslieBeth...

We’ve always been taught that in tough decisions, we need to trust our gut. But, as psychotherapist Dr. LeslieBeth Wish explains, letting your emotions hinder the correct decision could cause unintended distress in a multitude of areas in your life.

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Dr LeslieBeth Wish Psychotherapist

If there’s one constant that’s certain throughout life, it’s that people are bound to face difficulties in their personal relationships and careers. These challenges won’t hold back. Instead, they throw punches and send the individual for a bitter spin that could ultimately lead to heartbreak, despair, and emotional damage. People might be inclined to wonder why this bad luck befalls upon them. However, it might not be as easy as chalking up these setbacks as fate’s plans.

Rather, the impacted persons could be the ones to blame. Not for what happens to them and the psychological implications they may suffer, of course, but for being in that position in the first place unknowingly — and for believing that their intuition was the right and logical decision.

Experts like psychotherapist and author Dr. LeslieBeth Wish understand that this information can be tough to hear, but don’t give up yet about trusting your gut. As Dr. Wish said,I’m sorry to say this is going to be bad news, [but] you can’t always trust your gut instincts to make wise decisions, especially when it comes to love and career choices. The reason for that is that your intuition can be strong, but wrong.”

If you’re taken aback by that statement, it’s very fair. After all, it’s human nature to feel confident in our decision-making and judgment abilities. Additionally, as Dr. Wish points out, we’ve been raised to rely on our gut instincts and emotions from childhood.

“Your intuition is not like the movie ‘Frankenstein,’ where Dr. Frankenstein turns on the electricity of the monster’s body on the operation table to make his patient come alive. Your intuition doesn’t quite work that easily. It doesn’t just kick in.”

Dr. Wish explained that “there is a dense, neural highway that connects your gut directly to your brain. The area that it connects to — according to recent research — is on the right side of your temple, slightly higher and just behind your right ear. So when you experience a situation that requires assessment, awareness, [or] judgment, your brain activates this neural highway. And you most likely experience this activation in your gut.”

“I just had a sense of wanting to help them. That set me on the path of wanting to be in the mental health field.”

Of course, the gut is not the only bodily location where this sensation can be felt. “Some people experience it in other places because you have all kinds of organs and parts of your body that are connected to your brain. Some people say they get the chills, or they hear a little voice. It depends on what your intuitive body reactions are. Your first step is to recognize that.”

According to Dr. Wish, those reactions indicate that the brain has some flexibility and redundancy built into it. While this redundancy can be beneficial in the event of a brain injury, it can also negatively affect your intuition, especially when it comes to things that are “emotionally important to you, like dating, mating, [or] falling in love.”

As the vice president of Gulfcoast Healthstyle Corporation, and as a faculty and student admissions adviser at Webster University in Sarasota, Florida, and the author of multiple books — including “Training Your Love Intuition: For Wise Relationship Choices” and “Incest, Work, and Women” — Dr. Wish’s career has more than given her the opportunity to work with a large audience in need of crucial help with their judgment. Of course, Dr. Wish’s knowledge of the subject came well before her decades of work.

“I would say it all starts with my childhood. From a very early age, I had the ability to read people well. A lot of that is genetic, it came from my mother. She was able to read someone really quickly, and so I, too, found that my assessments were accurate,” Dr. Wish said, recalling when her teenage friends would come to her for dating advice.

During her career, while working on her doctoral degree, Dr. Wish began noticing a societal problem — women struggled with their careers, including instances of not believing they deserved a specific career or giving up on a career too soon. “I wanted to know what got in the way of women’s career development. One of the things that cropped up in my interviewing was the number of women who had been sexually abused, and they had very extreme career difficulties and not good work behavior.”

That topic was eventually the source of her doctoral dissertation. Later, she expanded her research interviews to more than 2,600 women and men for her subsequent books.  Her research clearly revealed that “an overwhelming majority of people think that when they get that gut reaction, that they should trust it.”

“Your birth order can affect how you act, [though it] isn’t frozen in ice. Not every oldest child is the most responsible one. Things can go awry sometimes. We are not cookie cutter people.”

Dr LeslieBeth Wish Psychotherapist

So, where do these incorrect gut reactions come from? Well, you can thank your upbringing for playing a heavy role in tricking your judgment to be correct.

“Too often your gut reaction can pair too well with what you learned in your family. And if you learned things from caregivers who did not set good role models and values, then your instincts can end up being not in your best interests.” So, how do you start to get a deeper understanding of the power of your upbringing? 

“The first step you have to do is think of your family as a ship where each person has at least one emotional role that keeps the ship steady and afloat. For example, think about your main caregivers: who is the captain or co-captain? How do these two people get along? What did they teach you about love, relationships, men, women, arguing, agreeing, being too agreeable, or too commanding?”

“Now think of you and your siblings as crew members. Who was the difficult one? Often, that difficult member reveals the weaknesses and problems in the captain and co-captain. Who was the favorite? And how did this crew member keep the ship afloat? Just what happened in your family that almost sank your family ship? How would you describe your role? And how did it change, if it did?”

“Remember, you were not hatched!”

Next, while it might seem odd to focus on the birth order of you, your siblings, and your parents, Dr. Wish assured it can play an important role in how you and your intuition developed.

“When you were growing up, if you were the baby of the family, your parents or caregivers might have seen you as cute and adorable and needing to be taken care of. When babies of the family grow up and have to make decisions, they often do not trust their gut instinct reactions to be accurate.”

Next, while it might seem odd to focus on the birth order of you, your siblings, and your parents, Dr. Wish assured it can play an important role in how you and your intuition developed. “Your birth order can affect how you act, [though it] isn’t frozen in ice. Not every oldest child is the most responsible one. Things can go awry sometimes. We are not cookie cutter people.”

The idea of birth order having an impact on psychological thinking arose during Dr. Wish’s time spent studying the struggles of women in career development, where she noticed a significant pattern. “For example, many of the oldest usually had the stamp of approval of being the ‘take charge’ person.”

“Sometimes middle kids end up being rebels because they have to own their own territory since “leader” and “baby” have already been taken. Babies of the family can turn out to be rebels or babies who need guidance.”

“Of course, there are many other factors that affect your development and your trust in your intuition. In general, however, my research and the research of others reveal the power of birth order on factors such as leadership, confidence, and accurate intuitive judgment.”

“Sometimes, though, for example, the baby or middle child of the family may feel uncomfortable making decisions and trusting their gut instincts and intuition.” Below is Dr. Wish’s handy formula that can help you assess whether your intuition is correct:

  • Your birth order + sex + birth order and sex of caregivers’ + unusual challenges in your family + your accuracy record of assessing your comfort zone in assessing your intuition correctly

Dr. Wish also gave a brief example of what that comfort zone impact might look like for a person who was the youngest or coddled or favored and therefore given preferential treatment — such as receiving newer clothes rather than hand-me-down.

Understanding your family foundations does bring good news, however. Dr. Wish stated that though “your past and upbringing can never leave you, it doesn’t have to lead you.”

Dr LeslieBeth Wish Psychotherapist

“Remember, you have one life to live. If you’re unhappy in your relationship or you are unhappy in your job, what can you do about it? And what is holding you back from making changes?”

Recognizing and assessing the accuracy of your intuition tendencies can help your overall self-growth and put you on a path for better choices and outcomes. One way to witness your self-growth occurring is to truly see how you feel about your prior and current choices. 

“Think about your career and work history. Ask yourself, ‘Did I choose this career, or is there another career I wanted to have? Why did I choose this career?’ Is it because it seemed, at the time, to sit well with me? And is that a good thing for me now? Did my parents promote my decision—or criticize my other preferences? Maybe my parents were in that career or had a family business—or they were putting pressure on me to do the things that they were unable to do? There’s nothing wrong with fulfilling your parents’ wishes–as long as you feel good about it. That’s the key.”

“Now apply similar questions to your choice of intimate partner: would my family approve my choice of partner, and is that a good or bad thing? Does my partner fit into my family — and is that a good or bad thing? What voices do I hear in my head about their opinions, and how many of those sounds really match with what makes me happy?”

Dr. Wish admitted it’s certainly hard to go against your parents’ teachings and wishes for you. “It’s probably one of the most difficult maturity issues that you have to face.” However, acting in your best interests — without the influence of anyone else, no matter how close or important — will undoubtedly benefit you in the long run.

If you’re struggling with career development or love problems Dr. Wish stressed there are plenty of ways to achieve help beyond readjusting your intuition. “If you need some help, go get some professional help. There are career counselors in colleges and universities, and there can be people who specialize in career development. And there are plenty of therapists out there who can deal with your specific issues.”

She also urges you to envision a happy future in love and work — and then ask yourself: “Just whose feelings and ideas are these: mine — or my family background?”

To learn more about Dr. Wish and her services, along with purchasing one of her books — which are also available on Amazon — you can visit her website by clicking here. There, you can register to be on her list of subscribers who receive articles she writes, along with receiving three free gifts on love, intuition, and marriage.