How often do you check in with your intuition? And what does intuition mean to you? According to Oxford, intuition is “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning” and according to Psychology Today, intuition is an unconscious sifting through past experiences and cumulative knowledge in which we make quick associations. You may think of it as your gut instinct or how you ‘just know’ something because you feel it.
I agree with Brené Brown, intuition is “not a single way of knowing”, but rather a way that we tap in to all of our knowledge, insight, experiences, instinct, and reason to read a situation or know what is best for us. It is how we trust ourselves. Our intuition is not tied to the stories in our minds. Instead, it comes from deeper within- the knowing that we embody. Honoring our intuition will take us through life in a way that is in alignment with our authentic selves rather than living our life based on what others think we should do.
However, in my experience as a mental health counselor and a coach, I have found that many people have been trained out of trusting themselves and trained into looking outside of themselves for what is right for them. In our culture, the advertising industry makes hundreds of billions of dollars every year convincing us that the path to wholeness and health is found in things outside of ourselves.
It is also the western way to expect proof that something works or can be trusted. In the clinical world, all interventions must be evidence based so that insurance will reimburse us for our services and we have become dependant on looking for the research that proves that we can trust something to work.
This combined with the massive amounts and effective advertising campaigns we are constantly showered with has trained many people into a default mode of trusting others more than themselves. This shows up when we begin polling the crowd and doing our own “research” to see what others think about decisions we are faced with in our own lives. We ask others what they would do and try to make decisions based on the advice of someone who is not living our life.
This polling is an attempt to feel less alone and more reassured that when we make a decision about our own lives, we can trust that it will be ok. We seek reassurance outside of ourselves because when we don’t trust our intuition and our ability to know what is best for us, we can feel very alone and disconnected. We are lonely and lost in our own skin; in our own life. And that is a very scary place to be.
So, how do we begin to trust and to tap in to our own inner knowing? The first place to start is with the body. Our body cannot lie to us and it sends us signals to help us know what is right and what is wrong along our path. When we get ill or feel unwell everytime we are in a specific situation or around certain people, when we feel the energy drain out of us every time we walk into a place, when we forget appointments or make careless mistakes over and over, these can all be ways that our deep authentic self is saying “this isn’t right for me” and nudging us in a different direction.
Intuition is about FEELING what is right rather than trusting the stories in our heads about what is right. We must listen to the subtle messages that come from deep within and believe that we are the experts on ourselves and our lives.
This week, I invite you to tap in to the messages that bubble up from your inner knowing and look for signs that what you are doing is right for you. Do you feel weighed down or lifted up as you move through your days? Does your inner knowing yell NO or cheer YES? Reach into the depth and listen.
I will be listening right along with you.
Chat again soon,