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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to Explore Gut Feelings to Help In Making a Marriage Decision and Develop Self-Awareness for a Successful Love Relationship


Many people have become interested in understanding gut feelings in relation to predicting success in marriage with the results printed in the journal "Science" now circling the internet about the recent research at Florida State University on what they are calling "gut feelings" of newlyweds and marriage success. While the study was small, sample was only 135 heterosexual couples, it was significant in that it found that newlyweds know on a subconscious level (implicit memory) whether their marriage will be happy. Head researcher, Dr. James K McNulty, comments on why people think initially that their marriage will be a happy one:
    "And in the beginning, many people are able to convince themselves of that at a conscious level. But these automatic, gut-level responses are less influenced by what people want to think. You can't make yourself have a positive response through a lot of wishful thinking." And he goes on to say, "I think the findings suggest that people may want to attend a little bit to their gut," he added. "If they can sense that their gut is telling them that there is a problem, then they might benefit from exploring that, maybe even with a professional marriage counselor."
     McNulty's study demonstrates something we have found in counseling people who are in the throws of making life decisions in both personal relationships and career, which is that our gut feeling does not change just because we want it to or our head says it should. We are however, talking about true gut somatic feelings, not just implicit associations. But there is certainly a correlation between the two. The findings in McNulty's study make sense particularly if you understand that your gut feelings of emptiness and fullness register how well your two instinctive needs of feeling accepted and also in control of your own responses (freedom) are being met from moment to moment. As guidance counselors over a 40 year period, we reflected on gut feelings with hundreds of people and found them to express that if these two needs, acceptance and control, are in balance in relation to the impact on us of time spent with someone, people feel full in their gut feelings, cared for and loved for who they truly are. 

     We all know the emptiness and aloneness we feel in our guts when we do not feel free to be ourselves with someone and/or when there is a lack of attention (acceptance) in relation to the other person. We can rationalize in our heads that our needs are met by a relationship, but our gut feelings are a true indication of how well our inner needs are being met and how close we truly feel to the other person. Our gut is its own intelligence and is connected to the needs of our inner world or organism rather than to pleasing social demands or making money or any other goal that relates to our outer world and simply our thinking process without the input of our feeling memory. That is why we often say that "If our eyes can not cry then our gut will". So, if your gut says that a relationship is not quite right for you, it is important to listen to your feelings and take the time to understand what it is indicating about you. This certainly does not necessarily mean that if you have an empty feeling about a relationship that the relationship does not have the potential to work out, but it does indicate a need for self-reflection on gut feelings and communication with the other person—if it is to be a successful relationship. 
    We have found that the healthiest decisions people make when it comes to love relationships, are made from a place of self-awareness and the ability to communicate one's own needs. Our gut feelings are connected to a wealth of information about our feeling memories and inner needs. If we have had difficult relationships earlier in our lives (either difficult romantic or family-personal relationships), then there is all the more reason to reflect upon our gut feelings to clear unresolved past issues and to avoid carrying them into a new relationship. You may be surprised how much your gut is holding, waiting for you to attend to your needs and use this inner knowledge to make healthy decisions.
     To learn more about listening to your gut feelings we invite you to read through the many posts on this blog on exploring gut feelings and 
instincts and also be sure and read our book "What's Behind Your Belly Button?" in which we give the full technique (with examples) for somatic reflection on gut feelings to increase your self-awareness and well-being. A little time reflecting on your gut feelings and inner self now can save you much suffering in the future. So be sure and read this before you walk down that aisle! If you are already in a relationship and have an uneasy gut feeling about your relationship, then accessing your gut feeling intelligence may help you resolve issues from your past that are being triggered in and blocking your perception from being strictly related to the person with whom you are presently in a relationship. Exploring gut intelligence may well strengthen your present relationship through better communication and will undoubtedly lead you to more healthy personal decision-making that allows you to take your inner needs into account with a united body-mind, gut-head intelligence.

"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

     Since we have been posting this blog site now since 2009, there may be some important posts that you have missed that relate to relationship and accessing your gut feelings. Many of these posts have sample writing from our book What's Behind Your Belly Button?. There are many more posts on this blog than the ones listed below, so if you are interested in reading every one of them, please feel free to use the left side bar archive or just keep clicking “older post” at the bottom of each page on the right side.

Blog Posts on Exploring Gut Feelings and Instincts and Relationships:
1. Exploring Gut Instincts and the Need To Be "Social" as Applied to the Education of Our Children OCTOBER 23, 2013

2.   Reflecting on Gut Feeling to Deal with Sadness and Loss in Love Relationship
FEBRUARY 14, 2013

3.  Exploring Gut Feeling and Unresolved Issues with People
JANUARY 14, 2013

4. How Do We Know When Our Gut Feelings Are Reliable? Can you Trust a Gut Feeling?
DECEMBER 13, 2012

5.  Are Gut Feelings Really in the Gut? Understanding Your Gut Feelings and What They Are Telling You
AUGUST 16, 2012
More of our posts you might enjoy reading:
6. Gut Feeling and Retrieving Memories of Bonding for Those Recovering from Childhood Abused
SEPTEMBER 20, 2013

7. Following Gut Instincts to the Awareness of Our True Human Nature
APRIL 16, 2013

8.  What are the Instinctual Needs That are Often Confused for the Need of Food in Gut Feelings of Emptiness and Fullness?
MARCH 27, 2013

9.  Was Religion Invented By the Thinking Mind to Try to Make Sense of Gut Feeling and Gut Instinct? An Exploration of the Theory of "God Is In the Gut"!
FEBRUARY 9, 2013

10. Reflecting on and Sharing Gut feelings of Emptiness and Aloneness to Deal with Fear During a Hurricane (or other Life Threatening Event)
OCTOBER 29, 2012

11. Explore Why Doctors Can Save Lives by Listening to their Gut Feelings During a Diagnosis: On Gut Feelings in General Practice
OCTOBER 5, 2012

12.  Why Is Reflecting Upon Our Gut Feelings So Important to Our Immune System and Well Being— Distinguishing the "You" and "Not Truly You" for Excellent Mental and Physical Health!

13.  Increase your Intuition By Learning the Difference Between Emotional Feelings and Gut Feelings
JULY 16, 2012

14.  What Are Gut Feelings and Instincts; How To Become Aware of Them To Overcome Stress
JUNE 27, 2012

15.  A Specific Guide to Use to Listen to Your Gut Instincts—The Somatic Reflection Process
FEBRUARY 15, 2012

16. Acknowledging the Enteric Nervous System in the Gut To Provide a New Image and New Myth of Humanity
OCTOBER 15, 2009 (our first post)

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:

"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites

"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.

If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Exploring Gut Instincts and the Need To Be "Social" as Applied to the Education of Our Children

Recently, I won my first book on Goodreads "First Reads".  It turned out to be a fantastic read and I gave a 5 star review to the recently published best seller in psychology and neuroscience by Matthew Lieberman titled "Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect." Interestingly, Lieberman inverts Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" by viewing the need for being socially connected as even more primary than the more biological needs like eating and drinking. His reasoning is that the infant must rely on a caregiver to help him/her satisfy those physical needs because the infant is helpless to feed him/herself. And Lieberman has the neuroscience to back up his thesis, showing in his MRI experiments that our default is to favor the area of the brain that relates to being social. He does a great job of presenting his thesis that human beings are social because they are wired in their brains to be so and that it has been a driving evolutionary motivation to become socially connected, perhaps explaining our propensity toward social networking. His view of humanity is thus as caring beings who need to connect, identify with and thus defend others in one's family or tribe, rather than being driven totally by selfish motives that do not take others into account. It is enlightening to read the neurological data he presents to back up his humanistic view and I do highly recommend his book, as it is not only well-researched but also Lieberman is one of the most personal and intriguing writers of modern psychology.

What interested me the most in reading "Social" was Lieberman's discussions throughout the book of how he and his colleagues thought through the scientific investigations that he presents. Because in that process, he tells us the questions they had prior to and after experiments, and he even begins to formulate a new dimension that might answer some questions he uncovered concerning our need to be social as it relates to "delayed gratifications". Because the ability to "delay gratification" has been found in learning theories in psychology to be directly related to higher educational performance, Lieberman sees assisting the child to be socially connected as essential to the learning environment and he proposes how this needs to be considered in the educational process. My colleague, Robert Sterling, and I quite agree! Lieberman's concluding chapters end with the idea that teaching the child in an atmosphere that is conducive to gratifying one's need to be socially connected will assist the learning process by giving the child enough of a feeling of social connection to both be highly motivated to learn for social gratification (learning to teach others, for example) and to have the ability to delay gratifications as his/her needs are met. This flies in the face of the modern tradition to keep children quiet and somewhat isolated from each other in classrooms while studying. We can see with the success of "learning to teach" as a method why the little one-room school-houses that my great aunts taught in, where older children taught younger children, worked so well.

We see his thesis and views on education as directly related to both our findings concerning having gut instinctual responses or the empty-full feeling in our guts, as well as to the two needs our gut response is gauging to keep in balance—the need of acceptance (attention, socially connected) and the need of control of one's own responses to life (freedom). Delaying gratification is not easy when we lack either one of these two important and essential needs. Future experiments of MRI's on people who are feeling at the same time both accepted (socially connected) and also feeling in control (free to be themselves) would surely indicate a heightened degree of activity in the areas of the brain related to the ability to delay gratifications, as well as to increased creativity and insight. We have found this balance of the two instinctual needs met to be described by hundreds of people during and after a counseling session using the Somatic Reflection Process to be heightened in creativity and intuition, as well as providing the calm to delay gratification for higher needs, to balance the need for freedom with that of the need for acceptance, and make more gratifying and healthy personal decisions.

We hope that as Lieberman and his colleagues at UCLA continue their research that they will further investigate the need to be social along with balancing it with the equal need to be in control of one's own responses or freedom/control of one's on responses. We suggest that the gut brain response of empty-full is connected to this balance of these two instinctual needs and that the awareness of these gut feelings is a key to making it possible to delay gratifications and thus higher learning. It seems compelling at this time in neuropsychology to conduct further studies using the Somatic Reflection Process and MRI scans to understand what part of the brain "lights up"as we become aware of our gut feelings (see our post on the gauge in the gut) that gives us access to our feeling memory, and as we make decisions that both fulfill our inner needs of feeling accepted (socially connected) and in control of our own responses (freedom) to achieve body-mind unity.

We think it is a bit easier to understand humans as basically wired to be "social" when we also understand that an equal need for which we are wired is the need to be "in control of one's own responses to life or free to respond", and that these two instinctual needs must be kept in balance for well-being. This is easily understood when we see that the relationships that fulfill us the most are the ones in which we are accepted for who we really are rather than accepted for a role we are playing or simply being who we think the other person wants us to be. Our gut feeling of emptiness and fullness is somewhat like a teeter-todder, and often we give up one need for the other. Ultimately, however, we innately need to keep both of these two needs fulfilled and in balance. Our behavior is generally motivated toward that end, although it may be unconscious and it may be based on inaccurate thinking or engaged in an impossible environment to do so, thus leaving us imbalanced in our needs. It is at this point of imbalance that delaying gratification is most difficult and we feel empty in our guts. Learning takes place optimally when we are feeling a balance of these two needs met.

We have written quite a bit in our chapter on education in our book What's Behind Your Belly Button? on the importance of implementing educational environments in which children may be nourished for both their instinctual needs of freedom and of acceptance. We would like to share a short excerpt with you from page 235-236 of "What's Behind Your Belly Button?" that we think also relates to Lieberman's proposal that educational environments need to encourage the need to be socially connected. This excerpt is followed in our book by a specific plan to follow a new image of humanity teaching to both the head and gut brains that will help to vitalize our educational system:

"It is important to recognize that our use of the Somatic Reflection Process has been to help discover disturbing past experiences for an individual, and by bringing the somatic feelings related to those disturbances to cognitive levels, the individual can modify the judgment that caused the original disturbances. We would classify the use of somatic awareness in this manner as a curative process; an inefficient and expensive process that will always leave many children behind. The encouragement of somatic awareness in the early education of children is designed to be a preventive process. Exposing children to an environment of freedom and acceptance at a very early age, the experience of self-control and self-acceptance, will establish a more permanent set of neurological pathways, and will help them stay connected to their somatic feelings, retain the natural instinctual qualities with which they were born, and utilize those somatic feelings at a cognitive level throughout a more healthy, happy life—The “Acorn will become an Oak tree”."
"This change from a curative to a preventive learning experience has never been tried in a public school environment, to our knowledge, and needs to be studied over an extended period with careful professional supervision and evaluation. We believe that without freedom the child will only show the image he or she thinks is needed to assume to be accepted. Without the acceptance the child will withhold the trust in others that allows him or her to reveal his or her inner purpose to self and others. Without either freedom or acceptance the child will withdraw in despair. With a balance of both freedom and acceptance, the child will be able to fulfill his or her natural purpose, and reach out to others and share. Of course no one, not even the child, can predict his or her final destiny, but in an environment of freedom and acceptance, the experience will help keep him or her on course to ultimately help reveal the stuff—the master plan, the energy and the will—with which he or she is struggling to reach his or her destiny." 

Click on book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:

"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites

"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.

If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gut Feeling and Retrieving Memories of Bonding for Those Recovering from Childhood Abused

  Here is a letter I just sent many of my colleagues on LinkedIn and would like to share it with all of you interested in exploring gut feelings for body-mind unity. Whether you are a victim of childhood abuse or not, the inner work to unite body-mind is the same process and I think you will find this important:

Dear Colleagues,

Over the years, I have been successfully using the Somatic Reflection Process (SRP) on gut feelings to help people to unite body-mind. Often, and to their surprise, the people who experienced severe child abuse found that by using this process they were able to recover buried memories of bonding with parents. Even just one memory of bonding, of an experience of being loved by one’s estranged parent, no matter how short, can make a big impact and go a long way toward giving strength to and healing the self-esteem and suffering of a person who feels they were never loved by their abusive parent.

I would like to highly recommend a newly released memoir by Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins called “Reflections of Mamie: A Story of Survival”. I have been recommending her memoir to people of severe child abuse because it demonstrates so beautifully how a person feels recovering one of these forgotten moments of bonding in childhood with a parent/s and how important it is to the healing process to allow oneself the time to access these important buried memories. As you already know, the positive memories are certainly not the first memories that surface to the consciousness of a person who has been severely abused as a child, but Rosemary’s book is a powerful demonstration of how persistent inner work on severe abuse issues (and in her case it was through writing her memoir) leads to hope and recovery through finding the jewel in the rough of her experiences. I hope you will read her book and then pass along this recommendation to any of your clients that you feel would benefit from reading it too.

“Reflections of Mamie: A Story of Survival” by Rosemary “Mamie” Adkins, is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle forms:
and you also you can learn more about Mamie and her new book here:

Martha Char Love, MA, PMA
author of "What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct"

To follow up this recommendation, I would like to share an excerpt from our book, "What's Behind Your Belly Button?"and what a research participant who had experienced severe child abuse as a child said on the use of the Somatic Reflection Process directly after a session in which he uncovered a positive bonding memory with both of his parents simultaneously for the first time in his life:

(From Page 167-8)
"Bill, a male participant in his forties, indicated that the process had a “healing quality” and that he became aware of himself in his body on levels that he had not experienced using other “less body and feeling awareness processes” in the past."

Bill continues to say,
"It helped me understand things in degrees. Like seeing the degree and depth and amount of things [in myself]—it is one thing to say, oh my life has had such trauma; it is another to actually feel it in an embodied and conscious way so there is new—like fresh eyes experiencing.…" 

(From Page 169)
"Bill indicated that the process was “very useful” in understanding the painful feelings he was having in the present. He expressed the insights he had as he reflected upon childhood from the view of an adult observer."

"The best part was seeing it with the eyes of an adult rather than a child. I thought at one moment—God, people should do this regularly because I was visiting stuff that had frozen me. I had no idea as a child what or why these things happened to me, but now I’m an adult, and it’s remarkable to sit with that contrast. It has a remarkable healing quality."        

Click on a book cover below to go to Amazon to Buy:

"Increasing Intuitional Intelligence" is available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK
as well as Amazon,de and  other international Amazon sites

"What's Behind Your Belly Button?" is also available on Amazon USA and Amazon UK

as well as Amazon,de and and Amazon.CA and other international Amazon sites

and it is on The Book Depository with free international shipping.

If you are on the homepage of this blog, click word "comment" directly below to see all comments and make one yourself! If you are on the webpage for this post, then simply post in the box provided below.