Intuition is our natural inclination to make guesses about something or someone without having tangible proof. Simply put, it’s our gut feelings or our hunches about something. We often get hunches when we meet someone for the first time. Our instincts tell us, almost instantly, if someone will or won’t be a friend or an important person in our life. We get hunches about our teachers and co-workers and bosses. Our intuition prepares us and lets us know if we can or can’t trust certain people or certain situations.
On one hand, our intuition is powerful. (It can protect us from threatening people or events.) On the other hand, it’s not always accurate. (We may choose to avoid a situation or person that our gut tells us might harm us when they actually could have helped us. We sometimes call that hindsight.) As a result of repeated instances of failed intuition, each of us learns and evolves (as unfortunate as it is fortunate) to use our intuition less and less and rely more and more on our intellect, which we use to deduce and measure EVERYTHING based on proof and evidence. Lawyers use their intellects. Doctors use their intellects. Peer-reviewed journals are filled with intellectually-based evidence proving or disproving someone’s theories, which is just a fancy word for hunches. (No wonder hunches are so tiresome: we always need a lot of proof for anyone to take them seriously. Very counter-intuitive, don’t you think?)
But not every hunch can be proven or disproven with supporting evidence, can it? For example, can we prove someone is telling us the truth about their past, their present feelings, and their future dreams? (I’d have to say a big “Hell no!” to that question.) Building positive personal relationships with people we can trust relies heavily on our intuition, wouldn’t you agree? But because we don’t use our intuition enough, it gets rusty, REALLY rusty, and we trust it less and less. (Ironic, huh? The thing we should trust the most in order to measure our trust in others can’t be trusted.) No wonder we often end up trusting the wrong people. Our intuition sucks!!
So, how do we nurture our intuition and create an intuition we can trust when called upon? How do we create a less-sucky intuition? I think, like most anything we want to improve, we need practice. The next time you get a gut feeling about something or someone, share your gut feeling with yourself by writing it down. (Create a Hunch Journal or some such silliness. No one needs to know.) Then, when your hunch is proven or disproven, return to your journal and reflect on why your intuition worked for you or failed you.
Often, we base our hunches on prejudices or inaccurate information and data created by our minds. Writing stuff down and reflecting on them over time will correct these errors and help fine-tune our intuition. Soon, our intuition will grow more trustworthy as its foundation becomes more stable and based on truths rather than fallacies. (If you have old diaries or journals, you could test this out today. How much of your internal thinking and gut reactions to people and events were correct? How have your feelings about these people changed over time? Have they changed?)
How trust-worthy are your hunches?
My next post: “How a fine-tuned intuition can save us from being victims of abusive relationships and crappy jobs and shitty bosses”