Your Intuition Is There For A Reason!
When you meet someone new, usually you’re thinking to yourself, “a new person… awesome!” or maybe, “I’ve already forgotten your name….sorry...” or even, “I hope I don’t have food in my teeth...”. All of these are normal responses and usually lead to good (if not re-introductory) interactions! However, there are occasionally feelings of fear or uneasiness, and thoughts including: “something doesn’t feel right here”. That pit in your stomach is your intuition. While hopefully not as common, this feeling is just as valid- if not more so- as the prospect of a positive relationship.
Being aware of your intuition can be invaluable, and it’s important to be able to detect it and use it.
In a recent podcast with Sam Harris, Gavin de Becker (author of “The Gift of Fear”) explains that “evolution has made us experts at detecting danger and ‘shady people’ or feeling uncomfortable in the presence of people who are liable to do us harm.” The majority of this podcast focuses primarily on physical harm, but I would like to broaden the scope and include emotional and psychological harm. While often unseen, the damage that can be done here is just as harmful and even fatal.
“The biggest decision we make is who to include in our life and who to exclude from our life.”
As a society and over the years, it has become commonplace to accept every new person into our lives, despite our gut instinct. We brush off our fears or “prosecute our feelings” (as de Becker refers to it) to avoid being viewed as unpleasant or inconsiderate. We dismiss the feeling of fear that we get when we step onto the elevator with someone who, our instinct tells us, is capable of harming us, and tell ourselves that we’re overreacting. What we don’t realize is that our “intuition has [our] best interest at heart.”
One of the main sections of this podcast is focused on differentiating between fear and anxiety, which is such a large concern for so many people these days, especially millennials. As de Becker clarifies, “Fear will always be based on something in your presence”, whereas “anxiety is based on memory”. Fear is a gut instinct (hint, hint: intuition!) that tells us the very basic and primal things that our bodies know, but our minds have been programmed to dismiss.
Being able to recognize your intuitive response and then know how act on it could empower you to respond more wisely in situations and help you feel more confident in your decision-making. This could also help reduce anxiety.
As of late, anxiety has become so much more present in our society because of social media and the constant comparisons that we make of ourselves to other people and the lives that they present on the various platforms. 99% of the time, however, this anxiety has nothing to build upon. It is just our own insecurities rising to the top of our consciousness and taking over our thought processes. The difference between fear and anxiety is that fear is a genuine biological reaction (there’s that pesky intuition again), whereas most anxieties (not including medical conditions like Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) are things that society has told us to be concerned about, whether valid or not.
So, my challenge for you is to trust your intuition! Whether you believe it or not, you know best. While we might not always make the very best choices, our intuition will lead us in the right direction. Recognize those first instincts, and allow them to guide you. Harris and de Becker say that the best thing to do is “make very slow, careful decisions about whom you include in your life and very fast decisions about whom you exclude from your life.” If you feel like the person you just met could be a positive addition to your life, let them in! Listen to de Becker and let them in slowly so you can be sure. On the flip side, if your intuition is letting you know that something about the person you met isn’t good for your life, bid them a quick and fond farewell. You don’t need that in your life! You are a strong, independent person! Plus, you have a freaking awesome intuition that, if you let it, will guide you towards your best life.
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