Many in the spiritual community, including myself, encourage others to trust their instincts, gut knowingness, or intuition. Even though these terms are often talked about, some people don’t know what each term means. First, let’s start with some definitions.
Instinct is a survival mechanism built into every human and animal being. It is an impulse that senses, often without reason, that something is wrong and propels you to fight, flight or freeze. This is associated with your first chakra.
Gut knowingness is a feeling in your gut. Did you know you have a second brain? There are brain cells in our digestive system, just like our brain. It makes sense when someone says the expression, go with your gut. Tune into your digestive system, what is it telling you about a person, place or thing? This is associated with your second and third chakra.
Intuition is a sixth sense. A knowingness but on a spiritual level rather than a physical gut knowingness level or rational mental level. This is associated with your sixth chakra.
What throws off people, especially those who rely more on thinking than feeling, is that all of this is not based on facts or anything tangible you can prove. Yet, there are many instances of people who say they listened and followed this guidance. It even saved their life!
When does following a sensation get you in trouble?
If you are in a habit of ignoring your instinct, knowingness or intuition, you will no longer trust it. This isn’t something you can turn on and off at will. These skills require practice, an openness and willingness to listen. If you decide, I am all of a sudden going to trust this sensation out of no where, you may not recognize it and mistake it for a thought or feeling.
If you are a person who is not connected to your feelings or numbed out, you will have difficulty connecting. In this instance, you would need to start with connecting to your feelings and body, trusting in those first.
Some people use the terms of instincts, gut knowingness and intuition but really are only projecting their unconscious biases onto others. It is not okay to discriminate against others based on racism, sexism, ageism, etc., and tell others you got a bad feeling about them.
Can you trust your instincts, gut knowingness and intuition?
To answer this question, which is also the title of this blog, is up to each individual. I would tell you the more healthy and balanced you are, yes, you can trust your instincts, gut knowingness and intuition. Does this mean you won’t ever make a mistake? No. You might trust an unconscious feeling or thought or you might ignore an important signal to keep you safe. The bottom line is, you can work on becoming more healthy and balanced every day, which includes trusting in these sensations.
Lisa Hutchison LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist and writing coach. She works for caring professionals, who want to prevent or treat compassion fatigue. Her specialty is teaching stress management, assertiveness and boundary setting. Lisa is the Amazon bestselling author of I Fill My Cup: A Journal for Compassionate Helpers and the kindle book Setting Ethical Limits for Caring & Competent Professionals. Get a FREE 10 page E-book; Why Compassionate People Run Out of Energy and What You Can Do About It at http://www.lisahutchison.net