How to Trust Your Intuition or Gut Feeling

Can You Trust Intuition?

There is that gut feeling you have. You want to trust it, but then again, it could just be the Italian you had for lunch, right?

A lot of people have intuitive thoughts, feelings, and reactions that they don’t know how to handle. Some dismiss them as a wild imagination while others pay so close attention to them that they make big decisions that have major drawbacks later.

Can you trust your intuition? Maybe. The truth is that pure intuition is always right, but pure intuition is hard to come by. Our thoughts and feelings can be largely influenced by our past, the media, or misreading cues from others.

Before we go any further, we must take a look at the logic. Logic is different from intuition and sometimes even counteracts it. While logic has concrete facts and experience behind it to conclude, it isn’t always accurate either. The funny thing is that most people expect more from intuition, grounded only in perception, rather than logic.

Distinguishing Intuition

There is intuition and then there is wishful thinking and projection. It is important to know the differences between them because you can easily confuse one with the other.

Wishful thinking is hoping for something so much that you trick yourself into believing it’s true. For example, you may believe you are going to win the lottery this week and feel like there are certain numbers to play. You stop by and pick up a ticket and select your numbers. You feel like you are going to win this time but are disappointed when none of your numbers match the winning numbers.

Projection is when you allow your thoughts and ideas to manifest into a situation that typically wouldn’t exist. For instance, you have gone on multiple job interviews to no avail. So, you are preparing for another and already assume it won’t work out. You go through the motions but have a certain amount of negativity. You interview with a certain amount of negativity in your tone. You don’t get the job. In that sense, you have created a self-fulfilling prophecy with projection.

Intuition feels different than wishful thinking and projection if you know its identifying factors. With pure intuitions, there is something you just know. You are relaxed about it, have no doubts. Everything appears clear and focused.

Your body does a lot to tell you if you are dealing with intuition, wishful thinking or projections. With intuition, there is a sense of openness, awe, excitement, fulfillment, inspiration, and curiosity.

Some of that can occur with wishful thinking, but there are some subtle differences. True intuition is detached from thinking and requires no serious investment. Wishful thinking is based on a need and typically requires an effort on your part to your wish coming true.  Practice listening to your body and tuning it to feel intuition will help you identify the differences.

One way to distinguish the difference between the three types of sensations is to look at what images you are thinking about. Determine if it stems from your past or something you’ve seen in a movie or television and ask yourself how much effort you are putting into hoping the image is coming true.

Ways to Develop Intuition

There are multiple ways to develop your intuitive skills. One of the most common ways is through meditation. Intuition comes when you find your “center” or your “grounding.” This refers to being in a relaxed, calm, and alert state that limits projections and wishful thinking.

“Most of us are living on the periphery of our lives; intuition invites us into the center,” said Willis Harman, Stanford researcher and President of the Institute for Noetic Sciences.

This doesn’t mean you have to sit in a lotus position and chant. You can achieve a meditative state by other methods like enjoying nature. Others find their calm by listening to music or enjoying a cup of coffee and conversation with a friend. Others find peace doing creative things like painting, ceramics or playing an instrument.

All of these things are meant to separate you from reacting out of emotion. Gaining some distance to a situation can bring about clarity.

Those who do meditate find that focusing on something else for a while works wonders to return you to your center and bring about intuition. Focusing on your breathing and asking questions while in a calm state can reduce worry and give you a sense of peace. Questions can be things like how important will this be next week or next month? What are my options if the worst happens? Why exactly am I worried?

Problems with Intuition

There are a couple of challenges in dealing with intuition. One is if intuition seems to conflict with itself. This is a case when you may be misinterpreting things you see and see as “signs” for a decision. It could be that you feel differently about the decision after thinking about it. In these types of cases, when in doubt, do nothing. You can wait a bit to see if things are clarified. Your intuition will still be there if you wait.

The other challenge is intuition can be unpredictable. This is because we tend to depend on seeing, connecting, and having meaning in things to believe them. In this, intuition doesn’t have a permanent place. It can be experienced on this level but doesn’t automatically appear. This makes it appear unpredictable. Intuition is more of a tool you learn to use rather than a feeling. Once you figure out how to use it, it will seem less unpredictable.

Those committing to improving their lives with intuition will learn how to make it an equal partner with logic. Intuition will become a way of life when you lead a fulfilling life with purpose. Those who live this way understand how intuition works and how to use it to make wise decisions.

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