Ignore your intuition at your peril

Forecasting Stone
| 3 Minute Read |

I’ve always loved this ‘weather stone’ in the picture (click the image above to view in full).  It’s on a beautiful wee island in the Scottish Hebrides called Berneray.  Although it’s made me smile for years, it took on a different feel when I looked at it after I’d found the world of mindfulness.  On my last trip, I had more time than usual to think and reflect, that’s when I noticed for the first time, it was a beautiful metaphor for intuition.  It captures perfectly how ‘head smackingly obvious’ intuition can be – if you just tune in to it.

Here’s the thing though.  It can be incredibly easy to tune out your intuition.  ‘People pleasers’ do this A LOT.  Actually, it’s very dangerous territory for people pleasers.  What’s even more dangerous, in my experience, is when you love and trust someone enough to ignore your own intuition to avoid hurting their feelings.  Questioning someone’s decision or advice can be taken to represent “You don’t love me”, so overriding the whisper of our intuition. Especially dangerous territory for people pleasers!

When it comes to intuition, I’ve come to think of it with a little “i” and a big “I”.  The little “i” intuition moments are along the lines of making “chicken versus beef for dinner guests” type decisions, some hosts just always get it right!  The big “I” Intuition moments are more of the “something is deeply wrong with my marriage” moments.  You can see the difference, stakes – of the non-beef variety – tend to be far higher for the big “I” moments.

As a ‘recovering people pleaser’, here’s something I’ve found really bizarre while I’ve travelled through life – it can be surprisingly easy to tune-out the big Intuition stuff.  When you look back with hindsight, this can be really puzzling.

So how do you make sure you don’t ignore your intuition when it matters the most?

The easiest way I can describe tapping into your intuition is to WAKE UP.  If this was an audio article, I would have shouted wake up at the top of my lungs, just in case the capitals weren’t quite conveying that. Keep in mind, that waking up too suddenly can cause you to fall out of bed and injure yourself… not to overwork the metaphor, but hopefully, you see where this is going.

For me, the beginnings of waking up were through the gentle noticing that mindfulness provides.  At first, as you start to notice more, it can feel like Pandora’s box has been opened.   I found this particularly difficult, but suspect as the ‘Queen of Avoidance’ I had built-up a hefty Pandora-stash along the way.

No matter what comes up for you as you begin to notice, the goal is NOT to tackle everything at once but instead take one step at a time.  Word of warning though – I didn’t tackle one of the big Intuitions, and eventually, it came and tackled me.   I do not recommend avoidance – being tackled by something rather than addressing it yourself really does lead to much more stress in the long run (more on that in a future article).

4 replies
  1. Lorna says:

    Great post, Jean! I’m a great believer in going with your gut too – didn’t book our summer holiday as I always do at New Year (wee voice told me to hold off this time) and 3 weeks later…Boom you’re being made redundant!

    However, my unexpectedly pragmatic response to that bit of news, even at 50 with 15 years service, tells me this is probably the kick in the pants I needed to do what I’ve fancied for ages, and so I’ve started on that path before my career there ends. It just feels right.

    Every time I’ve gone against my gut reaction I’ve regretted it, some things significantly more than others mind you!! Lx

    • Jean MacAskill says:

      Lorna isn’t it strange how our intuition works – and brilliant attitude to then look at the path you’d love to go down. I guess every path teaches us something but like you’ve I’ve got a few I wish I’d paid attention to intuition and not meandered down 🙂 Good luck with the new direction. xx

    • Jean MacAskill says:

      It’s our guide isn’t it Mackie! Any time I’ve ignored mine it’s not ended well …. 🙂


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