Listen to your intuition
And Stop Doubting Yourself
Your life is in your hands. The big question is what will you create? What will you do with your time, energy, attention, focus, and imagination? The key is learning to listen to and trust our intuition.
I spent many years moving unconsciously through my life, actively ignoring my gut feelings, intuitions, and inner guidance. I could fill a book with stories of actively ignoring that guidance! Literally, my soul would scream at me “NO!!! This does not feel good!” And I would say “Too bad, we are too far in to back out now, so quiet down and deal with it.” Can you relate?
5 reasons we ignore our intuition
As a self-proclaimed expert in ignoring intuition, I have discovered five main reasons why we ignore our intuition and gut feelings. See if any of these sound familiar to you.
- Being right at all costs. We, or I should say our egos, do not want to be wrong...like EVER. This was a huge one for me. Once I had made a decision, even if it felt wrong to begin with, my ego would simply not listen to anything else. It would not admit it was wrong. Oh, the embarrassment in having others look at me, in this imagined scenario in my mind, thinking all kinds of terrible things about me because I CHANGED MY MIND. Hello ego-o-mine...feeling embarrassed is NOT worse than living with a really bad decision.
- Doing it for someone else. We all grow up wanting the people we love to love us back. And we learn what they like, starting with our adult care givers/parents, and we start behaving as they like so they will love us. So, a lot of us make choices to do something because we think that it will gain us love and approval. But again, this leads down a slippery slope. How can we be happy if we are ignoring what our gut is telling us and going against our true feelings? Of course we cannot. At least not long term.
- Believing we are supposed to. This is another biggie for me, and for a lot of other people. Again, we can go back to our upbringing for this one. As kids up to age 7 or so, we are sponges, absorbing everything we see, hear, observe, and feel. And a lot of what we absorb are the beliefs of the people and society we live with/in. I still catch myself with this one!
- Because it is easier than doing the work. What I mean by this is that there are a lot of choices we make simply because it creates a nice distraction from our real soul work. I was a master at this one, too.
- Doubting yourself. This is a big one and might actually be a summary of all of the above. Self-doubt is an insidious state that occurs when we feel one way and think the opposite. We sense something is not a good idea but instead of trusting that feeling we let our logical mind, our ego, reason its way to a decision that seems like a good idea but feels all wrong. We doubt our intuition, we feel bad about the decision we made from our ego-mind...and the cycle continues.
STOP DOUBTING YOURSELF AND START LIVING BRAVELY!
Tired of always doubting yourself? Start listening to your intuition with fun, quick, and easy creativity exercises that build up your intuitive/creative mind (and give you a break from your ego!). Get these FREE guides plus even more goodies when you sign up below for access to my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY.GET MY FREE RESOURCES
A story of ignoring intuition
Here is a very dramatic example of how far I used to go in ignoring my intuition. This situation involved an ill-fated relationship I had been involved in for a couple of years. I was presented with a ring and a proposal, and even though it felt wrong as I said yes. Why? Because I thought I needed a man. Why? Because I was afraid of life. Why? Because I had no idea what I wanted in life.... This is what transpired.
It was Christmas and I was on my way to my fiancé's mother’s house where he wanted to announce the engagement. As I drove in my blue Chevy Spectrum from Fayette, Maine to just north of Augusta, winding through back roads, my feeling of disease grew stronger and stronger. I kept ignoring it, pushing it away. I thought I could will it away.
After 45 minutes of this struggle, I reached the main road which led my destination. It was just a few miles to the left. I would be there in minutes.
I turned right.
As I drove in the wrong direction, I kept trying to talk myself into this, psyche myself up for the event, for the interaction, for the announcement. What was I doing? I wondered...not about forcing myself into this situation, not about ignoring this feeling of disease... but about driving in the wrong direction. Where did I think I was going?
I took a left onto a side road and turned the car around.
As I approached the main road leading back to my destination the desire to flee was so overwhelming, I had to stop to pull myself together. I pulled the car over. I sat looking out the car windows at the barren stillness of the snow-covered fields. I felt sick to death at the idea of going. But I was forcing myself to accept this situation. There was no part of me that was going to allow me to flee.
If our life were a movie, this was the moment when the audience screams out at the screen, “NO, Don’t Do It!!!!”
My soul was certainly witnessing and screaming. And I heard it loud and clear. My entire body was filled with it...feeling nauseated as I told myself I had to go. “We are doing this! We have been together for years, it is time, it is what should happen. It is what I believe should happen. It is what I think everyone else is expecting. I should be getting married. I should be in love, I should be happy. The end.”
I put the car in drive, turned right, and drove to my fiancé’s mother’s home.
Three tips for listening to your intuition
Now about this time you are probably wondering why I did not follow my gut feelings, and what you can do to avoid similar behaviors.
You may be recalling moments in your own life when you felt your intuition telling you something. Or maybe you felt it in your body like I did. And it may be there are several occasions that come to mind. The story above was not an anomaly. It was just one of many situations I can recall with a similar theme. And they are all equally vivid to me because they were pivotal moments when my connection to my soul was very clear, guidance was being given, and I shut it down.
It wasn’t until mid-life when I finally started to listen. Here are my tips for how to hear, listen to, and follow your own intuitive guidance.
- Make the decision to do it and say it out loud. Really, I mean it. Find a time and place where you feel comfortable and say, in your words, that you are going to listen to your intuition and do your best to hear exactly what it is telling you, and, when you can, to follow it. This is a big deal so do not blow it off.
NOTE: it is really helpful to bring up some strong emotion with this. For example, recall the feeling of ignoring your intuition, the discomfort, and surrender it. Say you are done feeling that way, and you are ready to listen.
- OK, so now the trick is listening. And it is really helpful to get as much practice as you can with this. So any time you make a decision, no matter how big or small, ask your intuition to tell you how it feels. Be playful about it. What color shirt are you going to wear? What are you going to have for breakfast? Which road will you take to work. Make a habit of checking in with your gut on everything! This gets you ready for when a big decision comes along.
- My last tip for listening to your gut is to check your feelings. This is a really good down and dirty way to tell if your decisions/thoughts/ideas are in alignment with your intuition. How does it make you feel when you think about it. Look at my example above. I felt sick to my stomach every time I thought “I have to go, we are doing this, pull yourself together.” That was the clearest of clear signs that I was NOT listening to my intuition...that I was ignoring my gut feeling...and I was out of alignment with who I truly was.
Another great way to connect to your intuition
Soul scribbles are one of my favorite tools for getting a quick realignment with my intuition. You can get complete instructions on how to soul scribble (5-minute Creativity Exercises), along with all my free resources on living your brave creative life right here.
Looking for more?
For another great read on intuition, check out this article on goodtherapy.com.
Tell your story. You never know who your words will touch and what positive impact they will have! So, I invite you to be brave and share your own stories about intuition, gut feelings, and self-doubt.
I am Larissa Davis, Creatively Fit Coach, and Soul Path Artist. When an unexpected change prompted me to seek the deeper meaning in my life, I began the journey to find my passion and purpose. It began with a pledge not to make any major decisions or changes until I was listening to the voice within. After several months, I had a dream that told me to use painting to heal myself and envision my future. I began sketching that day and immediately experienced the power of creativity to still my mind. Further exploration led me to the discovery of intentional creativity, and certification as a Creatively Fit Coach. Now, I passionately share this process I call Soul Path Art with other souls ready to discover their deepest inner wisdom, quiet the inner critic, release old stories, break through barriers, and live their dreams.