Making decisions is a daily activity.
What do I wear to work? What should we eat for dinner? Do I go back to school? What should we name our firstborn child?
Some decisions are so much easier and don’t feel like a life-and-death scenario.
But other decisions can weigh on you causing sleepless nights, mindless eating and possibly even bugging your family and friends for input who are tired of hearing about the situation.
And when you become wrapped up in your own “drama” you feel that the decision has consumed you until you have become stressed out and irritated.
But you don’t need to feel this way ever again. Simply understanding how to listen to your intuition can save you from all the back and forth. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
An article from Lonerwolf states that “Intuition stems from that nonlinear dimension of our minds, that part where unconscious connections and associations are made and arise within our conscious minds seemingly out of nowhere.”
What this means is that intuition is difficult to quantify but can be felt from an area within the body that just “knows” the answer. And the beautiful part is that we are all gifted with intuition when we are born. It is innate within us but never nurtured as we grow and learn about the world around us.
Some benefits of listening to your intuition are the ability to make decisions with confidence and peace all while living a fulfilling life and understanding our deeper truths. This can all be yours with the right amount of awareness and desire.
One obstacle, during the awareness stage of learning to trust intuition, is the distinction between intuition and ego (fear-based thinking).
Fear-based thinking is great for survival. Beyond immediate threats and danger, the ego just becomes an obstacle to fulfilling what you truly desire.
Here’s a personal example of how the ego can trump intuition: many years ago I had the opportunity to move states and become a Dive Master (guiding SCUBA excursions) in Florida. I could have dropped out of school, became a SCUBA instructor, and had the life of my dreams. It was all very easy, to be honest. But my ego told me to finish college and do all the things I thought I was supposed to do, such as get married and have kids. So I didn’t pursue this amazing opportunity. I let my ego win. I put intuition aside and told myself many lies to fit within the parameters of what I logically thought I should believe. Now, 25 years later, I know I need to move to Florida and live the life I left behind so many years ago.
Confusing the voice of intuition and fear is very common. Intuition is a right-brained activity while logic is left-brained. Again, having both are imperative to a fulfilling and successful life. There needs to be balance from both sides to have a balanced life. To determine whether you are hearing your intuition (right brain) or ego (left brain), you must listen to your inner voice. Here are some distinctions –
- Heavy and dark
- Emotionally charged
- Leaves you with feelings of overwhelm, frustration or anxiety
- Causes you to get lost in cycles of thought
- Feels light
- Crystal clear answer
- Makes you feel calm and inspired
- Immediately feels right without any need for further thought
Learning the difference between these may take you some time. But as I stated above, awareness is key to understanding and learning. Once you open your awareness to new ideas, your subconscious mind can pick up cues to help you through the learning process.
Here are 2 ways to practice listening to your intuition.
Start with an easy decision. Set aside 5 minutes with little distraction. Ask yourself or say out loud, one of the options. See where you feel it in your body. Does it have a color, texture, and/or temperature? Does it move or stay in one place. How does it feel overall?
Then do the same thing with the other option. Find all the details and determine how it feels overall. Compare both results.
Let’s say you needed to make a decision between buying a new pair of shoes that would help with your job or a new winter coat to help keep you warm. You are on a budget so having both is not an option. You sit with the shoes and it feels warm in your chest area, the color is green-blue and the texture is similar to fluffy clouds.
Then you sit with the coat. The color is orange and it sits in your throat. The temperature is cooler and the texture is similar to leather.
After comparing you decide that the shoe and the feelings associated with the shoes were more optimal.
Start with distracting yourself. You can do this by reading fiction, watching something funny, washing dishes or many other ‘mundane’ things to occupy your mind. Then, very quickly, say to yourself or out loud, one of your options and wait. Did you get a clear answer or is there an answer with a lot of chatter afterward? Was there an initial answer and then a different one?
Distract yourself again for about 3 minutes and repeat using the second option (or continue on until you have gone through all options). Again, say out loud or to yourself, your other option. Stop to listen. Did you get a quick and clear answer? Was there an initial answer followed up by a different answer?
Giving your mind a distraction helps the brain to step away from the immediate “danger”. By presenting it quickly, you will most likely get a gut reaction. A gut reaction is your intuition.
Using the shoes and coat example from above, start by distracting yourself. For example, you could be folding laundry while listening to music. Once the laundry is folded, say out loud or to yourself “I should get a new pair of shoes”. You may immediately hear a ‘Yes’ then followed by ‘nah, you don’t need those. You already have shoes, blah, blah, blah’.
Find another distraction such as reading a book, washing dishes or driving. Ask yourself “I should buy a new jacket for the winter”. Listen to the immediate response. You may immediately hear ‘No’ followed by lots of inner chatter.
This technique takes more awareness than the first one. Just continue to play around with how answers feel inside your body and mind.
All of this takes practice. Each person will have different reactions to positive responses and not-positive responses. Patience and practice are essential but you will eventually learn the difference and no longer question your decision-making ability.
Allowing your intuition to guide you is beneficial on many levels including letting go of fear-based decision making.
Follow your heart and you will always know the way.