Intuition is something that is innate to every single one of us. There is no single person in the world who can say they don’t have intuition. We all have it. The problem is that we either don’t listen to it or – we can’t even recognize it. In this article, we’ll be dealing not so much with why you should listen to your intuition more, but with how to recognize intuition in the first place.
Let me first start by saying that, no matter how easy it seems to be able to recognize your own intuition, it’s not always the case. We live in a culture that doesn’t value intuition enough and is often focused on ridiculing it. Even though more and more people are starting to recognize intuition as something valuable and even indispensable for our existence, there are still many charlatans out there now, either don’t understand intuition well enough or are purposefully mocking it. it’s still less valued than reason and logic. It’s understandable given that for centuries our society has been focused on dry facts and “reason”, not taking anything else into account.
Luckily, the times are changing and we are changing with them as well. We are not limited to our immediate surroundings anymore and can learn from people all around the world. We are becoming aware that the Western and/or materialistic world view is not the only one that exists and that there are other, equally valuable ways to explore the world and Nature that don’t require materialistic approach.
That being said, relying on intuition does have its shortcomings. It’s not that intuition doesn’t work, it’s that it’s often difficult to discern what is intuition and what isn’t. It might seem impossible not to know the difference, but it’s really not. Here’s the thing: we also have feelings, fears, and desires that have nothing to do with intuition. It’s easy to mix them because they feel very similar and not only that – fears and desires often feel more intensely because they are tightly connected to our personalities.
Fears are usually overwhelming to the point of even being paralyzing. Fears are mostly the product of our life circumstances and traumatic past experiences, as well as worries that something bad might happen to the people we deeply care about. They can easily cloud our judgment and prevent us from experiencing new and exciting things in life, though they also serve as a precaution. In that sense, they can have a similar effect to intuition. Simply put, because of what you already know about dangerous situations/places, and because of your own previous experiences, you will naturally be more cautious when putting yourself in certain situations. Or you’ll flat out avoid them.
On the other hand, we have wishes, hopes, and desires or, better said, positive feelings that make our lives feel worthwhile. If we only lived in fear, then that life would be devoid of joy and happiness. It is often said that just by wishing something you can manifest it (or make it happen). While I’m not sure it’s entirely sure, having a positive attitude towards something certainly helps the situation. It’s easy to confuse your own desires with intuition. You really want something to happen that you start “feeling ” that it will. It’s a desire, not intuition. True, sometimes it may really come true, in which case you’ll probably think it was intuition, but it’s not always the case (or it’s rarely the case).
So, how do we distinguish intuition from wishes and fears? As I said, it’s not easy, but there are ways.
The clearest difference between pure emotions and intuition is that intuition feels more like a fact. While feelings may come and go and the intensity may fluctuate even in a matter of minutes, intuition stays the same no matter how you feel. That doesn’t mean that your feelings can’t be in sync with your intuition, but generally speaking, intuition is that unshakable feeling that you get, often for no reason at all. It’s not like you wanted it or you feared it, it’s just there. While you do think about wishes and fears which in itself provokes corresponding feelings, intuition is not something that you think about. It just happens. You don’t provoke it or make it happen. It just comes.
Intuition often comes uninvited. You don’t sit around thinking about it. And when it does come it may feel awkward. It may even feel out of sync with how you are feeling at that moment. It may make no sense. It’s weird. It’s not something that you anticipate or want or fear. It’s just there. You may go about your business, and then some weird feeling just suddenly hits you. Out of the blue. And you don’t know what to make of it. Furthermore, it’s unshakable.
Think about this – when you fear something you can either add, say, more detail and texture to it, imagining all sorts of bad scenarios and outcomes, or, on the other hand, either you or someone else can lessen your fear and turn it into a more positive outlook. The same goes for wishes and desires. Fears and desires and subjective and can be changed. Intuition is objective. It’s like an external scenario that you see with your own eyes without investing any emotion. Like watching something happen.
However, intuition is still a feeling. You feel it. You feel that something is going to happen, or that someone is a good/bad person. But the difference is that you feel intuition in your head, while other feelings are more situated in your belly and/or chest. Intuition is a feeling that you feel with a clear head. It’s more of a mental feeling. Or, better said, you feel it in your mind.
The truth is, though, it’s not easy to distinguish intuition from other feelings especially if they are intertwined. It’s all too easy to confuse one with the other which is why people often end up either not listening to their intuition or giving in too much to their wishes and fears. The only way to get better at distinguishing between the two is to get to know yourself better and to pay close attention to the nuances in your own feelings.