You’re about to flip a coin.
If it shows the head, you’re going to leave the relationship; if it shows the tail, you will stay.
Up the coin goes, rotating and twisting your heart.
You catch the coin. Without removing your hand and looking at the coin, you KNOW which choice you PREFER.
This is a trick a friend taught me about how to make decisions that ring true to our hearts.
It’s based on the theory that deep down, we all know which choice we want to make.
And people call this inner knowingness intuition.
Throughout my life I’ve had many incidents where I felt “I should do this” or “I know it’s the right thing to do,” from changing my major, switching career direction, to deciding to see a therapist.
Most of the time the decisions seem risky or unsettling, but invariably they lead me to exciting adventures and rich experiences.
And I have since become intrigued by this inner knowingness and wisdom.
It’s not just me. Listening to your intuition isn’t a new subject, and many people told similar stories where they experienced magic results by honoring their intuition while making regretful decisions when they shunned it.
The magical power of intuition is recognized by many.
But where does intuition come from? How is it formed? Why should you listen to your intuition? And how to listen and follow your intuition better?
I want to give you my answers to these questions. In my opinion, knowing how to use your intuition is one of the most important skills to learn in life.
What is Intuition?
The voice of your true self and the message of the heart.
We were born in tune with our intuition. Because we hadn’t developed the mind (and thus the “ego,” which stems from the mind) at that time yet, everything that we felt we acted out without hesitation.
For example, we cried when we were hungry, and we wouldn’t need to suppress this urge.
However, as we grew up, our parents taught us rules and guidelines so that we behaved and got good grades. And when we voiced our feelings and made decisions that didn’t fit with these rules, we were reprimanded and punished.
To gain their love and recognition, we began to adopt our parents’ beliefs and see our intuition as “bad” and learned to suppress it.
Intuition vs. the Voice from the Ego
Two types of voices speak inside you: your intuition and the voice of your ego. While your intuition reflects your feelings and heart desires, the voice of the ego cares more about your survival and is mainly based on the mind.
Some of the differences between the two are:
- Intuition is gentle and peaceful. Even when it comes as a warning, it is subtle and calm, e.g., “I don’t know why but I should probably leave this house.”
- The voice of the ego is urgent, demanding, and even aggressive, e.g., “Do this right now, or you will _____ (get in some kinds of trouble)”
- Intuition reflects your true desires, e.g., “I should quit college to become a professional singer. I love singing!” or “I want to quit this job. It’s boring and doesn’t serve my growth.”
- The voice of the ego feeds on fear and lack. “You can’t quit your job! How else can you make money and support your family?” Or “You’re never going to make it by being an artist. You’re not good enough to compete.”
- Intuition doesn’t always make sense. It is a subtle hunch that you feel but can’t reason with your mind. It doesn’t care about right or wrong, and therefore won’t defend itself even if you question it.
- The voice of the ego speaks with evidence, logic, and calculation. It’s obsessed with being “right,” and so if you doubt it, it will try everything to argue with you.
- Intuition focuses on you—your priorities, feelings, and your likes and dislikes. It guides you to make decisions that best serve you.
- The voice of the ego is concerned with what others do and how they think of you. “You should take accounting because everyone in your family does,” or “Don’t speak up, or others will judge you.”
- Thinking of messages from your intuition puts a smile on your face and lights you up.
- Thinking of those from the ego makes your heart wrench and adds a heavy weight on your shoulder.
7 Tips to Listen to and Follow Your Intuition
Intuition speaks through your heart and is the voice of your true self. Following your intuition let you stay authentic to yourself and lead you on to the fastest path to bliss and happiness.
However, if your intuition was shunned when you were a child, now it may come as a whisper instead of a scream in the ears.
But we can all get back in tune with our true feelings through practice. Below are seven tips to assist with your learning journey.
Before we dive in, I would like to clarify one thing. Acting on your intuition doesn’t mean that your life will be free of pressure or pain. Because of the limitations and negative beliefs that we’ve taken on since childhood, choosing the heart over the mind takes courage, consistent efforts and sometimes a leap of faith. But it takes you to happiness much faster.
Let’s get started.
1. Divert Your Attention to the Inside
Your intuition is the voice from within. To hear it, you have to stop looking around and start searching from inside you.
To begin, relax and sit quietly with your feet laying flat on the floor. Starting from your toes, pay attention to each part of the body and feel into it. Does it feel light or heavy? Can you sense any tension or sensation? If there’s a color associated with this feeling, what would it be?
Then start talking to your body. Ask it what it needs and wants from you or whether it has something to tell you. Your intuition never comes from your mind but your body. Getting in touch with the latter is a vital step to regaining the connection with your intuition.
2. Express Your Emotions
Suppressed emotions are like thick brick walls that block your intuition from reaching you. The inner guidance becomes an indistinctive mumble when you are sad, angry, fearful, anxious, resentful or guilty.
The best way to process your emotions is to embrace them with love, especially the negative ones. Sit quiet, be fully present with yourself, and let the emotion run through you. Your mind might resist it since it dreads pain. Tell yourself that “It’s okay to feel _____ .” Name the emotion if you can. If you can’t, fill it with “what I need to feel at this moment.”
Another way to express your emotions so that you can listen to your intuition better is through journaling. This free-flowing writing process gives your mental and emotional clutters an outlet.
Make a habit to jot down what’s in your mind and how you feel for fifteen minutes a day. In the beginning, most might be self-loathing and self-pitying words—let them flow and don’t judge yourself. They are precisely the clutters you need to release.
As you practice on, you will find your mental blockages removed, and your intuition starts to lead the way.
4. Connect with the Heart
Intuition is the message of the heart. When you pay attention to the heart instead of the mind, your intuition naturally come through.
Sit still, close your eyes and focus on the heart. Think of something that makes you smile: a stunning landscape, your baby girl’s smile, a hug from your partner, etc. Stay at that vibration and ask your heart the question that has bothered you for long and which option to choose.
The heart center doesn’t know any limitations or negative programming but your true desires. Act on the answer that you hear.
5. Let Go of Your Judgment
Intuition is the reflection of your true self. There is nothing right or wrong, or good or bad about it. It just is.
Sometimes you doubt your intuition because it seems nonsensical, risky, or unpractical. You might want to use your logic and reason to disprove it so that you can avoid making the choice that speaks to your heart but challenges your old beliefs and limitations.
If you’re pursuing a happy and fulfilling life, surrender to your intuition. Know that your mind judges your intuition based on what it knows, which is heavily colored and has little concern for your well-being (the mind only makes sure that you survive).
Your intuition, which comes from your true self, perceives far more things and always has your best interest at heart.
From choosing food, an occupation, or a lifelong mate, listening to and following your intuition will lead you on to the fastest trail to love, joy and abundance.
6. Do Shadow Work
Many people think of the “true self” as the pure, untainted spark of Divinity that is only about love and light.
It is not.
Your true self, at any moment, is a combination of your light (love, joy, compassion, courage, etc.) and dark (anger, sadness, fear, guilt, selfishness, etc.) aspects. If you disown the shadow self and identify only with the parts that you’re fond of, you can never hear your authentic voice.
Do shadow work and re-own the parts that you had tried to push away because you were shamed for showing them when you were young. They need to express their voices and long for your attention as well.
Only then will you become whole, and the voice you hear from within speaks for the most authentic you.
7. Choose the Right People
If you have difficulty listening to your intuition, you might have grown up in a household where your intuition was ignored and never respected.
To get back in touch with your inner voice again, surround yourself with people who encourage you to do so.
For example, when your gut feelings tell you that you should quit your job, the friend who respects your intuition may tell you to go ahead if you think it is the right choice, while the one who doesn’t might reason with you and try to talk you out of taking the risk.
People who we spend time with affect our choices and can have long-term effects on us, so choose them wisely.
Listening to and following your intuition takes consistent practice but it is worth the efforts. No one but you can take the actions to honor it and walk the path that is most authentic to you.
Are you also an advocate of following our intuition? Do you have any tips on how to master this skill? Please share your comment below!