In this week’s Learn It Live webinar – Unstuck: How to Ignite Change for Your Best Life , a few people asked about the difference between fear and intuition. This is such an important question, because many of us choose to avoid things because we are fearful , not because they are really wrong for us.
Intuition is a “gut feeling” or a “sixth sense” about something. It is important in identifying signs as they present themselves, and assessing situations to understand what may be OK and what isn’t. Fear, on the other hand, is often something that keeps us from doing the very things we want to do, because we imagine the worst case scenarios and are afraid of them coming to fruition.
Not long ago, I watched a video from Marie Forleo, a barn-burner in the entrepreneurship world. In the video , she discusses the difference between fear and intuition, and I couldn’t help but reference her thoughts in the webinar. In short, Marie talks about the idea of feeling “expansive” versus “contracted” when you consider doing something, and how these feelings can signal intuition versus fear. If you feel eager, excited, passionate and anxious, that is an expansive feeling and shows you are experiencing fear. On the other hand, if you feel, closed, not energetic, and negative about the idea you are considering, you are feeling contracted and are getting some signals from your intuition to STAY AWAY. In other words, fear keeps us from doing the things we WANT to do, while intuition keeps us from doing things we SHOULDN’T do.
A great example:
You are eager to make a career change, but you are unsure if it is the right time. Is it fear or intuition telling you to stay put? If you are excited and eager to launch into the new career, possibly even daydreaming about it, you are most likely, just fearful. If, however, the idea of this new career is not that appealing or exciting, and you dread the idea of it, you’ve likely got intuition at work.
For many this simple explanation may help, however, some of us tend to muddy the waters by dismissing our intuition or not trusting it. We argue away our doubts and convince ourselves that we are being “fearful” instead of really listening to the valid concerns our gut is telling us.
If you find it difficult to trust your own intuition, there are a few things you can do to develop the skill:
Stop Thinking. Start Feeling: Calm your mind by attempting not to think or analyze problems. Instead, feel how your body is reacting to the situation or to the inner responses you experience.
Pay Attention: Observe your surroundings and environment, listen carefully to your thoughts and responses, and gather information accordingly.
Listen to Your Gut: If something doesn’t “feel right,” then there is a good chance it isn’t. Instead of arguing away those feelings, listen to your inner voice. Practice trusting it and making decisions predicated on what your gut tells you.
The more you practice the above, the more you’ll build confidence in your ability to listen to your intuition.