You know you have gut feelings, an intuition, but how do you know if you are listening to it or if you're just bullshitting yourself?
You don’t. Not without a lot of practice. This is also really tricky when you've been burnt out. Being burnt out puts your brain in a place where listening to your intuition is more difficult. But, you can get it back!
I was recently listening to a podcast by Lilli Badcock, the founder of the Confidence Academy. She teaches people everywhere to thrive in spite of their anxiety. In this podcast, she spoke about fear and anger often speaking in loud voices in our minds, drowning out all the rest. She presented this concept in contrast to the voice of the intuition, which speaks in whispers and nudges.
Nothing has ever sounded so true to me.
Here are my three tips for living in tune with your intuition.
The anxious amongst us (raising hand emoji) tend to talk a lot, you talk a lot because it helps to drown out all the activity that is constantly happening in your brain. There is just so much going on in there. Because your intuition often speaks in whispers and nudges, it’s easy to not notice it if you are hidden in your busyness.
Find a way to slow down. This doesn’t mean that you have to come to a full stop. It doesn’t require hours of meditation a day. Maybe just sit for 2 minutes and breathe. Nevermind your thoughts and emotions, let them be. Just sit and breathe. For 2 minutes. Just before you do this, ask yourself whatever question you want and then feel for the nudges in your body. You won’t recognize them right away, it’s a practice. It’s like learning an instrument. You mess up a lot before you hit the right note.
For me, personally, one of the feelings that I get that I know I should follow literally feels like a nudge that happens on the left side of my solar plexus. It feels like I am being pulled toward something (as opposed to being pushed toward something). It is SO easy to cover this up with action, to move more and think more - enough to be able to ignore this sensation.
Now, I’ve been at this for my whole life. I used it to move from med school to Chinese medicine school. From single in California to married in Poland (to a man I was engaged to after 6 weeks!). I’ve used it to to open and run 3 successful businesses in 2 countries. It has served me well - and I plaster noise over it all the time anyway.
Because going with your intuition is often uncomfortable. This discussion I had with my bestie, Ewa. Ewa is this uber incredible life and business coach and spiritual guide. She is, right now, going through a life transformation that is built on gut feelings and following her intuition. It’s messy. It calls for brave conversations, responding to your inner needs, being vulnerable and sometimes disappointing other people. It’s the right thing to do, but it is SO HARD.
I think this is a huge drawback for most people who want to live a more intune lives. You assume (and are often sold the idea) that once you get in the flow with yourself, it all just goes and is easy. Everything always works out. Those things are true AND they don’t happen without the emotional turmoil that naturally happens with change.
In a world where every spiritual teacher is telling you that you can have everything you want if you just match your energy up and think on it enough, it’s hard to accept that what you want might not be what you need. This requires you to have a certain level of trust or faith in yourself, the universe, God, your ancestors - whoever or whatever it is that you feel supports you. Trust that you are a constantly evolving creature whose wants and needs will shift through the course of time. Trust that you have the ability to adjust course and still thrive when life throws you a curveball. Trust that you’ve got this and you can add as much meaning as you want to ANY situation in your life.
Bonus Pro Tip:
If you are still unsure when you hear nudges, use this suggestion from Tosha Silver, author of Outrageous Openness (and the inspiration for this blog post about your intuition): If you can narrow something down to two choice, ask the universe to give you a clear signal and then tell the universe what that signal should be.
My go-to signal is an elephant. When I ask the universe to help guide me, I ask to see three elephants in close succession to mean: yes, yes and again yes. If it’s a no, don’t let me see the elephants. It’s simple and requires a triple layer of security so that I’m sure that seeing the elephant the first time wasn’t a fluke.
P.S. On January 26th, I have the honor of being the guest on Lilli Badcock’s Podcast. We had a great discussion about the triggers for anxiety and what to do about them. I give some advice that might seem counterintuitive but I promise it works. So, be sure to head over to Lilli’s podcast and subscribe so that you can listen in!