Ever been told to follow your intuition or go with your gut? And have you ever been confused about what that means? You’re a rational person. Why would you listen to your stomach over the facts? Why prefer feelings over logic? Isn’t that for mystics and psychics?
Well, folks—it’s not quite so simple as that. There are loads of ways intuition has been described. Some writers call it “your internal compass” that lies deep within you. Psychologists call it the meeting place between the unconscious and conscious parts of the brain. Spiritual seekers say it’s God whispering in your ear while others say it’s your heart speaking.
Regardless of the exact definition, they all agree that intuition tells you the direction to go even if you can’t immediately explain why. For centuries intuition has guided poets, business builders, and creators of all kinds because, as they all attest, even if you can’t explain a desire, impulse, feeling, or dream right away, it doesn’t mean you should ignore it. What if you chose to follow that feeling? Where would it lead you?
Let’s find out together, my friends!
In this post, I’ll share how to follow your intuition and why it matters with specific examples of when to listen to your intuition.
Navigating Fear vs. Intuition
The word intuition is also known by many different words and phrases; it’s your gut feeling or gut instinct, a hunch, your sixth sense, your inner voice, your inner knowing, and so on. Sense a trend in the language here? That’s because your intuition acts like a compass embedded deep within you, guiding you beyond analytical reasoning towards your next best step. It’s when you simply know something without necessarily being able to prove it with logic or evidence. You just know it.
Or do you? Is your intuition always right? Well, that’s hard to say because when you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to confuse your intuition with your fear. Do you know in your gut that you won’t have fun at the party tonight, or are you just nervous? Do you know that your boss is going to reject your request for a raise, or are you afraid to ask?
Your intuition isn’t an excuse to not put yourself out there, challenge yourself, or step outside of your comfort zone. I want you to start paying close attention to your inner voice so that you understand when your intuition is speaking and when it’s actually fear that’s taking over.
Fear is something else entirely, and it’s not something to be followed; in fact, it’s important to consciously move past your fear in order to live a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Of course, I’m not talking about when you’re considering whether or not to walk down a dark alley in the middle of the night. If something or someone strikes you as suspicious, alarm bells go off in your head, or you have a sick feeling in your stomach, it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you. I call that instinct. Your instincts are designed to warn you of danger in order to keep you physically safe. Note the words: physically safe.
What I’m talking about is the fear that keeps your soul caged. The fear that keeps you from pursuing your dreams, taking the dance class, writing that book, going after that promotion, or asking that special someone out on a date.
Fear is cloudy; it doesn’t lead you in a certain direction—just round and round in a circle. Fear says nope to everything that’s unfamiliar, no matter what that thing is, because fear wants you to be afraid of everything and anything that could trigger unsafe feelings like rejection, failure, loss, and worthlessness.
Your intuition is clearer and more specific. Intuition is based on something real, not just unfounded paranoia. Plus, once you make a decision based on your intuition, you are honoring it, and soon, your intuition will get louder and clearer.
“Okay, Rhonda, but how do I follow my intuition? And how do I discern intuition from fear?”
Below I will share five common examples of when your intuition is speaking to you. These are times when you can trust your gut, and I encourage you to listen to what your mind and body are telling you.
When to Follow Your Intuition
Many times intuition comes out of nowhere. It’s an idea you’ve never had before. A thought that comes out of blue.
It can show up at the grocery store. You might hear “buy an extra jar of pasta sauce” but you ignore it. Why did that thought occur out of the blue? Well, when you have two surprise guests come to dinner that night, you’ll know exactly why that thought showed up.
Or it can show up as an unexpected idea. The name of what I do—Fearless Living—didn’t come from market research. It came from my intuition. It showed up one day as I was walking across my living room on my way out the door. It’s called Fearless Living. I heard it loud and clear.
In fact, everything I teach has started as a seed from my intuition.
When you practice listening to your intuition, you receive a huge benefit: peace of mind. Because when you trust your intuition, you feel more centered, grounded, and more connected to yourself. Life gets easier. Way easier because you trust that part of you that knows—and that part of you is called your intuition.
My intuition is one of my biggest allies. It is what I lean on whenever I have a decision to make. Sure, I do the numbers and have the conversations I need to, yet, in the end, I know all that knowledge does not outweigh what the invisible is urging me towards.
1. A Gut Feeling is Telling You a Boundary Was Crossed
When one of your boundaries is crossed, it’s quite common to feel this deep in your gut. Your intuition is telling you that something isn’t right. Your intuition is saying, yelling, SCREAMING: ”protect yourself!”
Please pay attention to these feelings! Boundaries are so incredibly important to your wellbeing and your relationships.
When one of your boundaries is crossed, there’s a good chance your body will let you know. It could be a queasy or sinking feeling in your stomach. Your pulse could quicken. Your palms might start to sweat. You might get goosebumps. It’s different for everybody, but any of these bodily reactions is your intuition communicating with you.
Your intuition is telling you something is wrong, and that’s something worth listening to. If you feel unsafe physically, mentally, or emotionally, it means a boundary has been crossed, and it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
A crossed boundary might be someone calling you names and always putting you down at work. It might be a romantic partner trying to convince you to do something you’re uncomfortable with. It may be your sister infringing on your limited personal time (yet again!)
When a boundary is crossed, you’ll be able to feel it in your body, thanks to your intuition. Whether you feel queasy, sweaty, or otherwise uncomfortable, it’s time to take control of your experience and make sure your boundaries are known. Next, develop the courage to follow through on the consequences that come from your boundaries being crossed.
There’s so much to say about boundaries, so I encourage you to read my guide to Why Personal Boundaries Are Important and How to Develop Them.
2. You Feel “Off” After a Conversation or Interaction With Someone
Have you ever walked away from a conversation with a TERRIBLE feeling in your stomach? Or something just didn’t feel right. But what was it?
It could be right after you negotiated the price of your new car, after getting off the phone with a close family member, or going over a proposal with a new client. Whatever the situation is, if you feel your intuition kicking in after a conversation with someone, it’s time to listen.
Maybe your intuition is telling you the price for that car is way too high. Maybe your gut is telling you the car just isn’t the one for you, or the salesperson is trying to swindle you.
Maybe your gut is telling you that something isn’t quite right with that family member. If you feel off after a conversation, take time to listen to your feelings. What is your intuition trying to tell you? Does your family member need your help? Did they sound sick or unhappy? Do you need to check in or communicate in a different way?
Maybe your intuition is telling you that the proposal is not going to work. This client has WAY too many requests, and it feels like you’re pushing a rock up a hill. Your intuition is telling you that it’s not going to be a healthy client relationship. Your intuition is trying to stop you from getting in too deep with a company that doesn’t share your own values.
These are all very different examples, and I’m sure you have a whole basket of your own. Listen to your mind and body after leaving a conversation or interaction with someone. Does something feel off? If it does, take a closer look at why you may be feeling this way.
Your rational mind may encourage you to dismiss these feelings as only “feelings” because they’re not rooted in fact, but it could be that the facts just haven’t revealed themselves yet, and your unconscious mind has caught something that your conscious mind may have missed.
Don’t ignore these feelings—your intuition may be telling you something extremely valuable.
3. A Healthy Activity Sparks Complete Joy
Listening to your intuition isn’t always about watching out for a negative gut feeling. Sometimes it’s a positive one. When you feel complete zen, joy, elation, etc., from a healthy (or slightly adventurous) activity, listen to yourself. That surge of joy is your body and mind telling you that you need more of this.
I’m not talking about getting wasted, indulging in drugs, or other harmful activities. I mean those truly healthy moments when you can find joy through self-care, such as taking a walk in nature, practicing your favorite hobby, jumping in a puddle, or dancing around the room to the music playing in your own head.
Sometimes your intuition is guiding you to something wonderful. See a new park you’ve never thought to walk through? Go for it and explore! See a big pile of fall leaves you can’t help but want to jump in? Listen to those feelings and allow yourself to have fun again.
4. Someone Asks You to Do Something You’re Uncomfortable With
Has someone ever asked you to do something that makes you uncomfortable? If your gut feeling and intuition are telling you it’s not right—listen.
That uncomfortable feeling is your body’s way of communicating with you. Never put yourself in a situation where you are compromising your own needs, boundaries, or values because someone has asked it of you. If someone you know, even a close family member, is demanding this of you, I encourage you to reevaluate your relationship.
Ever had a partner try to convince you to do something sexually that you were uncomfortable with? I have. 🙋
Ever had a family member pressure you to do something that didn’t align with your own values? I have. 🙋
Ever had a friend or coworker try to convince you to break the law, lie, or hurt someone you care about? I have. 🙋
That uncomfortable feeling deep in your gut that appears when someone asks you to do something you’re uncomfortable with is your intuition speaking, or in some cases, screaming at you! Please, please, listen! Not listening to your intuition in these situations can lead to resentment, regret, pain, and so much more.
5. Your Thoughts Are Pulled Toward the Same Dreams and Desires
What dreams or desires recur for you time and time again? What do you lie in bed fantasizing about or fall asleep dreaming of?
Have you ALWAYS wanted to take up a new hobby? Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Do you continually fantasize about moving to a different city? What is your inner voice saying?
If you come back to the same dreams over and over again, there’s a good chance your intuition is trying to tell you something. Deep down, this is the direction you’re being pulled in, and there’s a good chance you’d be a whole lot happier if you finally listened.
When your subconscious mind communicates the direction to take your life, listen! Ignoring these feelings is the same as ignoring your own needs. It’s going to lead to resentment, burnout, regret, and an ever present fear that will continue to hold you back.
Now is as good of a time as any to remind you that you CAN live the life your soul intended.™
What goals, dreams, and desires have you been putting off for far too long?
Navigate Fear vs. Intuition Today!
What happens when you listen to your intuition? You make sure your own needs are being met, you keep yourself safe, and you allow yourself to go after the things in life that truly make you happy. Listening to that feeling deep inside your gut is exactly what can guide you toward the things in life that matter most to you.
Are you ready to take the leap and put all of this into practice? Are you ready to finally make sure your own needs are being met? And are you ready—and willing—to work past all of the fears that have been holding you back for so long?
My 10-week Fearless Living Training Program is based on decades of learning how to crack the secret code to fear, including those fears that disguise themselves as intuition. With Fearless Living, you’ll learn how to navigate your gut feelings, overcome fear, move through negative emotions, identify your own needs, set boundaries, and so much more. Let’s get started!