Nobody’s intuition is better for me than my own, and yet I am that person that bends to the pressure of others even when that nagging or sinking feeling is telling me to do exactly the opposite. Why? Because sometimes with intuition there is no other proof than my gut telling me a situation or person is just not right. I don’t want to be the wet blanket, holding anyone back from experiencing anything so I go along. Every single time this has not ended well and then I feel angry with myself for not being more vocal even though the faint protests I made were met with skepticism. Those days end now. There is a reason I was drawn to work with the mentally ill. No worries, we are all a little crazy. Some people are just a little (or a lot) more in tune to others and can pick up on their dysfunction quicker than others. It’s both a blessing and a curse, to be honest. I can tell which person not to stand behind in the checkout line at the grocery store, and if that is the shortest line and I just can’t go elsewhere it never goes well. I have endured conversations that you would not expect to hear in a stripper bar right in the middle of a big box store because there is something in my aura that attracts disturbed people like flies to honey. Intuition and empathy combined are a powerful tool that can be used to help others and keep yourself safe. Not everyone has it. I have never regretted listening to mine but I always regret when I don’t. Every. Single. Time. My intuition saved a life last week. I have no regrets for acting on it.
I had an odd feeling about someone I met recently, like something was just “off”. Everyone with me was so enamored with him, but I just got a bit of the creepers around him. It turns out I was right. He is not an emotionally stable person at all and I have caught him in a huge lie. None of this was shocking to me at all. You know how when someone loses it and they go out and commit a horrible crime and then the news stations come around and interview all the neighbors? They all claim the person was “so quiet”, “so normal” or “so nice”. No they weren’t. Did they ever have an actual conversation with the person or look into their eyes? Doubtful. The media just looks for the craziest person in the crowd to interview and then broadcasts whatever they say as if it is the truth. Most of them probably don’t even know the person they are being interviewed about but they want their fifteen minutes of fame. Most people are just trying to survive in life, and they just go about their day, head down, lost in their own thoughts. Some people in this world do watch and take notice, though. Sometimes it is easier to observe things around you than to internalize everything and get caught up in your own world, and it is far more interesting. Sometimes those feelings we get about something or someone are because of the observations we make. Perhaps there is something odd about the person’s movements, demeanor or look in their eyes. Trust those feelings.
According to many researchers, intuition is far more material than it seems. Hope College social psychologist David Myers, PhD, explains that the intuitive right brain is almost always “reading” your surroundings, even when your conscious left brain is otherwise engaged. The body can register this information while the conscious mind remains blissfully unaware of what’s going on. Another theory suggests you can “feel” approaching events specifically because of your dopamine neurons. “The jitters of dopamine help keep track of reality, alerting us to those subtle patterns that we can’t consciously detect,” Lehrer notes. This means if something in the environment is even slightly irregular — the speed of an approaching truck, the slightly unusual behavior of someone at a party — your brain squirts dopamine and you get that “weird” feeling. Whether you pay attention or not can make all the difference. You might meet your future spouse — or meet your maker. Those signals carry a lot of important information, so it’s wise to listen up.
Judith Orloff, PhD, a Los Angeles–based intuitive psychiatrist and author of Second Sight , believes the benefits of listening to your instincts go far beyond making good on life-or-death decisions. “Living more intuitively demands that you’re in the moment,” she says, “and that makes for a more passionate life.” But she also notes that gut instincts are far from infallible. The right brain’s skill with pattern identification can trigger suspicions of unfamiliar (but not dangerous) things, or cause you to be especially reactive to people who simply remind you of someone else. So how do you choose which gut feelings to trust? Orloff suggests that it’s a matter of “combining the linear mind and intuition,” and striking the right balance between gut instinct and rational thinking. Once you’ve noticed an intuitive hit, she says, you can engage your rational mind to weigh your choices and decide how best to act on them.
So, from this moment on I am trusting my own gut instincts. I cannot force those around me to play by my rules, but I can refuse to play by theirs. After all, I never would have been in the most toxic relationship of my life if I had trusted my gut. I’m not sorry now because I love the outcome, but it sure wasn’t fun getting here. My intuition has never steered me wrong, and in the event that it ever does in the future? Well, I guess missing out on a few small things will save me from years of heartache and awkward moments that I have faced by being too nice and bending to the wills of others. I will definitely take those odds, and I will welcome the ribbing I take if and when I am wrong. This is one of those areas I don’t mind being wrong.