Are your emotions or intuition running your life? Your intuition is your instinctive knowing—or gut feeling—about whether or not something is right for you. Intuition and emotions are very different. Your emotions can fluctuate, often changing from one day to the next based on immediate circumstances. Your intuitive feeling about something, on the other hand, tends to remain pretty consistent.
If you’re making a major decision—especially one that takes you out of your comfort zone—it’s important to feel confident that it’s the right one. So you’ll want to check in with your intuition over a period of time—over days or weeks or even months—to see how that decision sits with you.
To develop your intuition, you have to start paying attention to it. As situations arise that require making a decision, ask yourself: How does this feel for me? Is this what I should be doing? How does this sit with me? Is this an emotional reaction? Or is this something that’s going to stick?
If you’re evaluating a relationship, ask your intuition: How does this person sit with me? What’s my gut feeling? Use it in the work you do. Use it in your everyday life. You can tap into your intuition in a variety of ways. People who believe in a higher power often turn to prayer for inner guidance. Others use meditation to invoke the intuitive part of themselves. The key is to begin trusting that your intuition is trustworthy and able to guide you.
Listening to and following your intuition is a practical tool for living in alignment with your authentic self. Below is an exercise to help you develop your intuition as a practical barometer for determining whether you’re on course or off course in your life.
1. Write down a real-life example of a time when you had a “gut feeling” about a person, situation, or action that you discounted or ignored, and, by ignoring your intuition, produced a negative outcome.
2. Describe the “gut feeling” you had at the time. For example, it may have been a physical sensation like butterflies in your stomach, breaking out in a sweat, or constriction in your chest; a feeling of dread, fear, or uncertainty; a sense of caution, reluctance, or resistance; or just a strong sense about something you should or shouldn’t do.
3. List the negative outcome(s) you experienced by not following your intuitive messages and signals.
4. Now, write down a real-life example of a time when you had a “gut feeling” about a person, situation, or action that you acted upon, and, by acting on your intuition, produced a positive outcome.
5. Describe the “gut feeling” that you had at the time. For example, it may have been a physical sensation like butterflies in your stomach, breaking out in a sweat, or constriction in your chest; a feeling of dread, fear, or uncertainty; a sense of caution, reluctance, or resistance; or just a strong sense about something you should or shouldn’t do.
6. Describe the positive outcome(s) you experienced by following your intuitive messages and signals.
Over time, you’ll find that the more you trust your intuition and allow it to set your direction, the more you build that trust. Develop a habit of continually checking in with your intuition by asking yourself: Does this feel right to me?
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© 2012 Lauren Mackler
Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, psychotherapist, and author of the international bestseller Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life. Sign up for her free Live Boldly e-newsletter at www.laurenmackler.com.