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Gut Feelings: What You Need to Know

Have youtrust your hunches ever had  gut feelings…even a simple hunch…and you didn’t follow it…and then ended up regretting it?

I was in the grocery store the other day. I had my little list clenched in my hand and I was going up and down the aisles…stocking my cart with the items on that list.

I passed by the ketchup as I was reaching for the mustard that was on the list. I thought to myself “I should pick some of that up”…then I thought, no, we must have another bottle in the pantry.

Now, I had just reorganized the pantry…I had taken everything out, cleaned out the shelves, put like items with like in baskets…so I thought that there must have been a bottle of ketchup there.

You can probably guess at what happened next, right? I didn’t get the ketchup…and when I got home and started putting all those groceries away…I kept an eye out for that telltale bottle of red tomato ketchup…

It wasn’t there. In fact…the bottle in the fridge was on its last legs, as well. There was enough for a day…maybe two. In our family, we like one particular brand and it is only at our local Superstore. Strangely enough, we don’t like the big brand. LOL

So, it became necessary to make another trip to that store…simply because I didn’t pay attention to that tiny niggling gut feeling. Now, that is an inconvenience, but it isn’t that serious, right?

Is it Gut Feelings, a Hunch… or is it a Red Flag?

What if you are in a relationship…and you have a feeling…a little stirring in your gut… that something is wrong? It might not be a simple matter of intuition…it might actually be a red flag that those gut feelings are pointing to…that there is real problem.

Here are some examples of huge red flags:

  • There is name calling and when you call them on it, they say they are just joking
  • You feel like you are being ignored, even when you have clearly communicated a need for more interaction
  • Your opinion is shot down, often even before you open your mouth
  • You are the only one who gives in the relationship and the other person does a lot of taking, especially financially and/or emotionally
  • You want to continue in a relationship with your family and they put up roadblocks, such as blaming your family for your relationship problems
  • Your activities are restricted…and they need to know where you are at all times

When you are in a relationship where any of these behaviors occur, you might not be able to see them…even if friends and family point them out to you. In fact, you might resent that your friends and family have the nerve to even bring this up to you.

However, deep down inside…there probably is a niggling…a hunch if you will…a gut feeling…that something just isn’t right…
You need to look at that…and look at the behaviors…step back and see if there is any truth in what your family and friends are telling you…what do you see?

If you are upping the use of alcohol, drugs (prescription or other), overeating or overspending or any other self- medicating activity, there is an issue that you are trying to hide from. Bring it out in the open…because only then…when you face that dragon…can you begin to fix the issue and heal…

“Trust your hunches…. Hunches are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.” Dr. Joyce Brothers

When you have those gut feelings…listen if there is a thought that accompanies them…make a mental note of that thought…and ask yourself “What is the underlying message here? Is there one?”…because it might just be fear of stepping outside of our comfort zone…and that is very different…isn’t it?

Gut feelings can be big…gut feelings can be small…whatever it is…pay attention to the meaning that is underneath that hunch…it may save you an extra trip to the grocery store…or it may save you a massive amount of heartache…it really is up to you…isn’t it? So pay attention and see what those gut feelings, those tiny stirrings of intuition are trying to tell you…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Martha Love May 3, 2013, 10:36 pm

    Very helpful, Sheri, that you give examples of \”triggers\” of those red flag gut feelings. Great article!I have found in both my own personal experiences and in counseling others, that our gut feelings hold the knowledge and feeling memory of the impact of our past experiences upon us. So we can listen to how we are feeling in regards to a relationship and our gut will remember times in the past when we were experiencing something similar to what is being \”triggered\” in (being ignored, person unavailable, etc.), perhaps something lacking if that is the case (it could even be in early childhood — in a relationship of a different kind like a parent who is too tired from work to give us attention or often absent). We need to reflect back in time and center on that feeling in our guts (the emptiness) and see where it takes us. Then as we look around inwardly while we are in that feeling memory, we will learn a lot about ourself and our needs as a person. Our gut may be holding a message for us that may be very important in making a current decision or it may be telling us that we still have something inside that needs to be resolved within for the current relationship to work. Our gut may be both telling us that we are not getting what we need out of the current relationship and it may also be telling us that we need to explore inwardly and clear ourself of past unresolved issues to help be consciously present enough ourselves to make this current relationship work. We need to remember that for others to know us, we have to be willing to show them who we are and often we hide in our insecurities from others the best part of ourselves. Our gut feelings are often reminding us to come out of hiding so our relationship has a chance to grow.

    Martha Love, Author of “What’s Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct”
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  • Edmund Lee December 22, 2012, 4:31 pm

    It’s amazing how powerful that little voice inside of us can be. That gut feeling is there for a reason 🙂
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  • Lorii Abela December 19, 2012, 8:15 am

    I love the way you pointed out how our hunches could save us from massive heartache, Sherie. Those little hunches can lead to a big disaster if we ignore them- so its time to pay attention to what our insticts are telling us; and focus on the meaning that lies underneath them. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Forrest Graves December 15, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Great article with very valuable information. I find this is true of any relationship including those in the business world too.

  • Sara Nickleberry December 14, 2012, 10:30 am

    My instincts are always right. And if I don’t act on them, it really bothers me.

    • Sherie December 14, 2012, 5:08 pm

      Time to start acting on them, dear!

  • Meryl Hershey Beck December 13, 2012, 5:58 pm

    Good points, Sherie! And I loved your beginning ketchup example–it’s been true for me too!
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    • Sherie December 13, 2012, 6:39 pm

      Meryl, I hear you on that! : D

  • Carele Belanger December 13, 2012, 6:07 am

    Love your article. I have a guts feeling when I shouldn’t do something. It comes like a strange sensation appearing in my solar plexus. And when it’s there it means: Do not Do.

    • Sherie December 13, 2012, 6:42 am

      Yes, Carele! You’ve got a handle on that, for sure!

  • Carolyn Hughes December 13, 2012, 5:40 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more Sherie that is so important to trust your instincts in relationships. And act on them!
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    • Sherie December 13, 2012, 6:42 am

      Totally, Carolyn! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Elizabeth L Maness December 12, 2012, 9:31 pm

    Wow this is the topic lately i think. Not listening when we know better. We have had a sad week thinking about not listening to hunches and that voice that is prompting us to do something. Thanks Sherie! I love to visit and get inspiration!
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    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 10:03 pm

      Aww….so sorry to hear that you have had a rough week, Elizabeth…big hugs, hang in there….and listen to that voice!

  • Norma Doiron@Start, Grow & Strenghten Your Business ONLINE December 12, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Learned a lot from this one: ”You are the only one who gives in the relationship and the other person does a lot of taking, especially financially and/or emotionally” Took awhile but I finally figured it out… 🙂

    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 5:55 pm

      Amazing when you do figure it out, right, Norma? : D

  • sue December 12, 2012, 11:56 am

    Great article Sherie. These “hunches” almost always are something that require you to look deeper into your relationship. This is very similar to the “promptings” that we get to “do something” …. our inner voice needs to be listened to in both cases! There’s a reason we are having that hunch or prompting. Thanks for sharing
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    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 5:55 pm

      Exactly, Sue! And thank you for your comment, dear!

  • Estelle December 12, 2012, 11:37 am

    Thanks Sherie – when I get those gut feelings, I follow them!!
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    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 5:56 pm

      Right on, Estelle!

  • Robert Seth December 12, 2012, 8:06 am

    This is all soooo true Sherie! After so many years I am finally learning to pay attention to that little voice. It IS saving me lots of heartache as I learn to be more sensitive to it in my daily life. Thanks for the tip and affirmation!
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    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 5:56 pm

      You’re very welcome, Robert, appreciate you reading the post and leaving me a comment! : D

  • Suzanne Jones December 12, 2012, 6:59 am

    I am so strong into instincts, gut feelings. Most times it is that fleeting thought or feeling that we pay no attention to, but we all know when something just isn’t right. I agree with you, save yourself a lot of heartache and follow them. They don’t have all the answers, just the information. Trust yourself to follow your gut and you will figure the rest out!
    Suzanne Jones recently posted..For Pete’s Sake Make A Decision Already!My Profile

    • Sherie December 12, 2012, 5:56 pm

      Love those insights, Suzanne!

  • jean December 11, 2012, 4:07 pm

    Great post Sherie. I agree follow your instinct and you’ll be on the correct path. I am getting more and more tuned in. It’s a great feeling.
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    • Sherie December 11, 2012, 7:20 pm

      It is, isn’t it, Jean? : D

  • Angie M Jordan December 11, 2012, 3:21 pm

    I love this! Sometimes they may just be yellow flags, but they are there for a reason!! The worse thing you can do is ignore them! I learned this the hard way unfortunately. But now I always trust and pay attention to those red or yellow flags and react to them.
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    • Sherie December 11, 2012, 7:21 pm

      Yes, they ARE there for a reason, Angie and we do need to pay attention to them! Thanks so much for your insights!

  • Meire Weishaupt December 11, 2012, 11:52 am

    Thank you Sherry for the post, it is a really good reminder to ourselves to trust in what we feel, sometimes we don’t even know to explain, but as you said everything is over there. I enjoy the way you write, simple and objective!

    • Sherie December 11, 2012, 7:21 pm

      Aww…Meire, thanks so much, I really appreciate that!

  • denny hagel December 11, 2012, 8:30 am

    Great article! Don’t know why or how but for as long as I can remember since childhood I have what I call ‘sick stomach syndrome’…when I go against my core the stomach begins to churn…when I ‘right’ my direction all is well. I learned very early on to trust it!
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    • Sherie December 11, 2012, 7:22 pm

      Denny, what a great resource to have! Yep…trust that!

  • Dawn Lanier December 10, 2012, 2:28 pm

    I loved this post, and the easy way you transitioned from what happened in the store to the more serious issue of not trusting your instincts in a relationship. My Dad used to tell me ‘follow your nose’ because your honest first instinct almost never steers you wrong. He was right, and so are you. Thanks Sherie!
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    • Sherie December 10, 2012, 5:33 pm

      “Follow your nose” is great advice from your Dad, Dawn! Thanks so much for your kind words, dear! <3