Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Trust Your Gut (#MY Eng 71)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black', 'bite the bullet', 'go the extra mile', 'silence is golden', 'the devil is in the details', 'sink or swim', 'once bitten twice shy', 'don't count your chickens before they hatch', 'don't put all your eggs into one basket', 'chicken and egg', 'walking on eggshells', 'flogging a dead horse', 'better late than never', 'storm in a teacup', 'between a rock and a hard place', 'darkest before dawn', 'empty vessels make the most noise', 'birds of a feather flock together', 'separate the wheat from the chaff', 'let sleeping dogs lie', 'open a can of worms', 'light at the end of the tunnel', 'trial and error', 'look before you leap', 'lightning in a bottle', 'on the same page', don't judge a book its cover', 'reinvent the wheel', 'shifting gears', 'throwing in the towel', 'jump on the bandwagon', 'passing the buck', 'breaking the ice', 'cracking the code', 'when it rains it pours', 'bigger fish to fry', 'ball is in your court', 'back to the drawing board', 'square peg in a round hole', 'don't rock the boat', 'a whole new ball game', 'burning the midnight oil', 'never say never', 'get all your ducks in a row', 'make the hay while the sun shines', 'tick all the boxes', 'a leopard cannot change its spots', 'fools rush in', 'final straw that broke the camel's back', 'tip of iceberg', 'hold the fort', 'draw a line in the sand', 'sour grapes', 'missing the mark', 'a walk in the park' and 'seat at the table'.

Ever walked down a dark alley and had a tingling feeling run down your spine? Or woke up in cold sweat from a terrifying nightmare in the morning only to later encounter a really bad day at work or school?

The French has a word for such omens and premonitions: déjà vu (which has now become part of English vocabulary). It's the feeling of dread before something bad is about to happen.

Worse still, you won't even how know how bad it is until it hits you straight in the face. There's not much you can do to avoid or lessen the impact. You just can't prepare against the inevitable.

Or can you? Sometimes, the signs are obvious and manifest far in advance. You can sense a change in the air. People behaving rather differently. Nothing discernible, but you just know something's coming...

* * *

What you can't wrap around your head, sometimes you can feel in the gut. And you've got to learn to listen and trust to that wrenching feeling in the gut.

Instincts. Intuition.

It's not some kind of hocus-pocus magic, mind you. Strong instincts often manifest from the subconscious. Your muscle memory. Your depth of knowledge. Your years of experience. Something just clicks in your mind. Warning you of imminent danger. Your inner mind is one step ahead of your conscious thoughts.

Your thoughts haven't quite processed all the details yet. Information is still lacking and yet to be fully analysed. But the conclusion is already flashing in red. Do you trust it? Or do you wait for more verification?

Of course, sometimes the warning is a false positive. Nothing bad actually happens. You're just jumping at shadows. You just overwhelm yourselves with a great deal of stress for nothing.

* * *

Your instincts aren't exactly perfect. Sometimes your inner radar just goes bonkers. Deprivation of sleep. Too much alcohol. A lot of lifestyle indulgences can mess with our mind.

Still, it's wise to pay heed to that inner voice. More often that not, your intuition will steer you toward the right path and save you from great grief.

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