While many people find that intuition helps them and enriches their lives, others are worried or even scared by intuitive experiences. Some worry about what people will think if they use intuition. Others are scared about what intuition might tell them (or others).
If you have experienced these things, you are not alone. But read on to learn how awareness and acceptance of intuition is growing. And discover some steps you can take to feel safe.
Are you worried what others might think?
Many people express concerns about using intuition in social or professional settings. For example, people say things like:
- "I feel silly or embarrassed to tell other people I acted on a hunch."
- "If I listen to my intuition, I better also have a logical explanation for what I did or my colleagues won't respect my decisions."
- "Deep inside me, I think that I would enjoy life more if I switched professions, but I've been successful in my present position so I don't know how I could explain myself to my family or friends."
You are not alone if you have these concerns. In fact Karl Fredrich Gauss, a famous mathematician, once said, "I have had my results for a long time, but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them."
On the other hand, the use of the word 'intuition' multiplied exponentially during the 1990s. For example, products as different as computer software, perfume, and clothing carry the name 'intuition' or 'intuit.' You'll hear the word in television and movie dialogues. Stories about people's use of intuition are appearing in prestigious newspapers like the NY Times.
Know this: intuition, as a word, continues to be more acceptable.
What are some ways to talk to others about intuition?
If you are uncomfortable using the word intuition or talking about how you got a particular insight, here are some things that you can try:
- Refer to your intuitive impressions as hunches or information from your gut or heart. (Look back at the list of words in the What Is Intuition section and select one that you are comfortable using.) For example:
"I have a hunch that Nancy will be the best person for the job. Two of the candidates are equal in skills, but I sense Nancy will add more to our organization"
- Ask people what they think of the information. Too often we worry about what others will think rather than finding out what they do think. Say something like:
"Could I go over this material with you to see if you agree with my impressions?"
- Test the reliability of your hunch. Ask others what would validate your hunch. You can say things like:
"I have a sense this would be the best plan. What could we do to test it out?"
Start small. If your intuition is suggesting a change, you can begin by suggesting a small step, like getting more information from other sources. You can say things like:
"My intuition continues to tell me that I would be happier if I changed careers. What do you think about me taking a course at the community college to find out if there is any truth to my feelings?"
- If it is comfortable for you, it is sometimes helpful to tell people about your commitment to develop your intuition. Many people respect someone who wants to learn. You can say things like:
"I am interested in developing my intuition and am trying to pay attention to it whenever practical. I expect I will make some mistakes, but I want to learn."
Do you worry that intuition will tell you something you would rather not know?
Intuition can reveal things you would like to avoid knowing (for example realizing that your current profession isn't satisfying, or that your child needs more attention from you).
But, you are already experienced in handling information that you would rather not know. Ask yourself this: has my logic ever told me something I'd rather not know? Most people would answer yes to this question.
For example if you learned that a more experienced colleague was applying for a job you really wanted, your logic would suggest that you probably wouldn't get the job (something you would rather not know!). You would find a way to handle your disappointment.
In short, logical information is also powerful and you know how to handle it. All the skills you have developed or would like to develop for dealing with life are the same whether you receive the information in an intuitive or logical way.
Remember: give intuition the respect you would give logic-no more and no less.
Do you worry that intuition will 'take over' your life or make you different from everyone else?
This is a valid concern. Powerful intuitive experiences, such as knowing a future event or reading someone's thoughts accurately, can be disorienting. Some people get fascinated by the experience, focus on having more of them, review their intuitive experience(s) mentally repeatedly, and can't stop talking about it.
If you or someone you know is behaving like this, it would be good to go over this simple check list. If two or more of these things are true, it would be good to get some professional help from a counselor or therapist.
____Mentally reviewing the intuitive experience over and over
____Not eating well
____Seeking more intuitive experiences at the expense of normal life
____Talking primarily about intuitive experience(s)
____Withdrawing from friends and/or family
____Participating in few or no recreation activities
Many spiritual traditions warn people not to become too fascinated with intuitive experiences. They emphasize that intuition is a by-product of spiritual development, but not the purpose for it.
Whether you are developing your intuition within the framework of a religious-spiritual path or working primarily to expand your human experience, intuition is best understood as a component of wisdom. As such, it should be integrated into a life of wholeness.
Do you have painful memories of working with intuition?
Some people worry about intuition because of their history with it. They have painful memories of how they interacted with their intuitive wisdom in the past. Here are a few examples.
- You Ignore Valuable Information. Sally kept feeling that something was wrong with her health. She couldn't put her finger on why she felt that, so she continued to ignore her impressions.
Several months later, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Although Sally was lucky and her prognosis was good, she couldn't help wondering what would have happened if she acted on her intuition earlier.
- You Make A Mistake. All the intuitive signs Kevin had taught himself to read told him that it was the right time to switch his investments. On an impulse-he felt like it was instinctual intuition-Kevin transferred two-thirds of his value from gold to stock.
When the stocks he purchased stayed the same and went down while gold was climbing, Kevin felt like his intuition betrayed him.
- Your Intuitive Opinion Isn't Valued. Alice saw her company headed for trouble. When she looked at its bottom line, the financials looked good, but she had a profound sense of foreboding. Although she couldn't explain why, she was certain that this was a good time to hold 'lost leader' sales with a lot of extra inventory. When she offered her impressions to the management team, no one agreed with her.
Although Alice felt justified some months later when problems began with the large inventory and she could gloat a little, she primarily felt depressed that her validated intuitive impression had been ignored.
Ways to begin working with intuition again
Life is full of mishaps, intuitive or not. We haven't given up on our brains just because sometimes we ignore, make a mistake with, or unsuccessfully represent our logical conclusions.
If you are a person who represses your intuition because of previous painful experiences, forgive yourself, or otherwise find a way to reconnect with your intuition. You can try these activities.
Are you worried that someone else will use their intuition to find out things that you don't want to share?
Intuition often implies a great intimacy. But intimacy is different from privacy. You can develop your intuition but simultaneously insist on privacy.
If someone offers his or her intuitive opinions without discussing it or getting your permission in advance, your privacy is not respected. Kindly tell them that you would prefer they ask for permission before they access intuitive knowledge about you.
If they continue to behave in this way, your request will have to be more forceful and/or you will have to evaluate if the relationship is worth your loss of privacy.
If you are studying with someone or have visited a psychic who encourages your dependence on their intuition rather than the development and empowerment of your own intuition, consider discontinuing the relationship. Express your gratitude for what you have learned and look for a teacher or intuitive professional who works with you rather than on you.
And most of all realize that while intuition is powerful and other's intuitive impressions can be very helpful, they are only valid in the context of your knowledge about yourself.
Many people worry what others will think if they talk about using intuition. But if you ask others to assess what you intuit and take steps to validate your intuitive messages, you will likely find other people very open to your intuitive perceptions.
Other people worry what they will learn if they use their intuition. But realize that you are already experienced in handling information that you would rather not know-it happens all the time in life. All the skills you have developed or would like to develop for dealing with life are the same whether you receive the information in an intuitive or logical way.
Treat your intuitive experiences as part of your life and keep them in balance.
© 2006 Charlson Meadows, used with permission.