I’ll say it – intuition has become an excuse for not getting shit done.
In the name of ‘intuition’, we now leave jobs without exit strategies, rack up debt for purchases we don’t need, take trips we can’t afford, and mindlessly plug-in to technology. In the name of a ‘gut feeling’, I have stayed in a relationship for too long, left a job without enough money to sustain myself, interfered with others relationships, and isolated myself into depression.
Sometimes, my intuition is an asshole.
Everywhere I look, I see reminders to ‘check in with myself’, ‘trust my gut’, ‘know my truth’, and ‘listen to my higher self’. The intention may be progressive, but without an understanding of how our intuition communicates, these buzzwords fall flat. Left without the tools to recognize our intuition we’ve come to believe that every message from our body must be an indicator to stop doing what we are doing. Our heart races before work and we assume this means we’re not in the right job. We face conflict in a relationship and believe it’s a sign that the relationship is not in tune with our higher self. We feel restless when we sit down to write and we take it as an indicator that today is ‘not the day’ for writing. Starved for indications from our body, we hungrily attaching meaning to each ache and butterfly, each encounter and conflict.
Without self-awareness, we are unable to discern true intuition from the master masquerader – fear. Fear is sneaky. If it showed up as itself, we would see it coming. Even worse, we wouldn’t like it. We would feel bad for feeling afraid, so we’d place shame on top of fear and become the scaredy cat who doesn’t work on a relationship, or work at a skill, or work at a challenging job. And THAT feels gross. If intuition is a buzzword, ‘fear’ is it’s foil. We’re supposed to ‘feel the fear and do it anyways’, ‘face everything and rise’, and know that ‘on the other side of fear lies freedom’. In a world that diminishes fear and prizes intuition, we celebrate the person who quits their job in the name of a ‘gut feeling’ and berate those who end a relationship because of fear.
Is it any wonder that we have mislabeled our body’s signals as all intuition, all the time?
All of this had left me confused. When am I being fearful? When I am honoring my intuition? What does it feel like? What do each of them look like?
But I’ve come to discover a simple truth: when ‘intuition’ is self-destructive, it is actually resistance.
And resistance is my body’s response to fear.
Fear denies our greatness / Intuition honors it
Fear diminishes us / Intuition empowers us
When I’ve had a tough day at work, fear tells me to put on the tv and ignore the challenging feelings that came up. Intuition tells me to unplug, get into nature or meditate on the discomfort that is coming up.
When I’m struggling to write, fear tells me ‘today is not the day, the muse ain’t coming!’ Intuition tells me I need to clear out the visible, and metaphorical, junk of my life, to create a clear space for creation to occur.
When I don’t feel like exercising, fear is the master manipulator. It tells me to over-caffeinate and go all out, to really make it count. Or it shows up as pure resistance, all the excuses why I can’t make it happen today. But my intuition is gentle; it knows I am made to move and it empowers me ‘move in the way you need to; move to transmute, not to punish or avoid’.
Discernment is challenging. Some days we win the war. Other days we confuse avoidance with instinct. But we practice asking again and again – am I acting on my truth?
Or am I just being an asshole?