The phrase "just go with your gut" always filled me with rage. Anyone who can sincerely put a "just" at the beginning of that phrase has a much more vocal gut than me. When I listen to my gut, all I feel is potentially some rumbling if I haven't eaten in a while or some nausea if I have. But what if there really is some innate wisdom in there, and I've just silenced it for so long, I can't hear it anymore?
When we discount our intuitions, we make it harder and harder for them to reach us, Lisa Marie Chirico, Certified Career and Grief Intuitive, tells Bustle. "The biggest way people discredit themselves is that they simply do not trust themselves," she says. "They brush off the voice of their intuition — their 'inner voice/knowing' or 'gut feeling' — and then they regret it afterward. Our intuition represents our higher self, and it's always talking to us. The question is: will we listen?"
In a society that values the rational mind above all else, we learn to discount our intuitions in many subtle ways throughout our lives. Here are some ways you may be tuning out your intuition and, consequently, making it quieter.
"This feeling doesn't reflect what the facts seem to state, so it can't be true." "I don't know where that thought came from, so it must not make sense." When we think this way, we neglect the parts of us that know even more than our rational minds. "Intuition strikes us out of the blue — sometimes it is information we are not expecting, since our reference is what is happening in the present," Vaishali Nikhade, an energy seer, intuitive reader, online spiritual educator, and creator of Uncorking Intuition School, tells Bustle. "Intuition gives us guidance for the future — most people will just discard it as 'Nah, that can't be true' and move on. Later on, maybe a few days, weeks, or months down the road, you'll realize: 'Now I know what that voice was trying to tell me.'" Easier to just listen the first time.
2Expecting It To Feel A Certain Way
You often hear about intuition as a "gut feeling," but it may not feel that way to you. It might come as a vision in your mind's eye, words in your mind's ear, or just a thought. What all these feelings have in common is that they will likely make you feel at peace. "Everyone has a different intuitive sense that is stronger," Nikhade says. "Some people may get a gut feeling, some may hear a voice, some may see visions, etc. The more you ignore it, the harder it is for the intuition to be able to communicate with us and give us the message it is trying to give."
3Valuing Others' Advice More
"[People] tend to put the advice of others above their own wisdom and discount their personal life experiences, which always leave them with lessons learned," says Chirico.
Intuition comes from the accumulation of information, and you have access to more information about your life than others do. You've been living it since you were born, after all. While others' perspectives can be valuable, yours ultimately counts the most.
We may know what would make us happiest, but we fear it won't make others happy, so we go along with what they want instead. "It's not uncommon that people feel as though they must oblige someone in attending an event, taking on an extra project, etc., when their sense of intuition tells them they're too busy," Provisionally Licensed Mental Health Practitioner Renée Pigsley tells Bustle. By doing this, though, we build up resentment, which hurts us and the people we're trying to please.
After we have an intuition, we often discount it by thinking of all the reasons it could be wrong, Workplace Psychologist and Executive Coach Christine M. Allen, Ph.D. tells Bustle. There's nothing wrong with examining our intuitions, but in addition to wondering if they might be wrong, we should ask ourselves why they might be right.
As cliché as it sounds, your intuition is intelligent. One study in Psychological Science found that people who paid attention to their changing heart rates performed better on a card game, and a meta-analysis in the British Journal of Psychology concluded that intuition comes from information that simply hasn't been processed yet. It's not some woo-woo concept; it's your mind figuring things out before you even know it. So, listen to your mind, but let your intuition have a say as well.