How many times did your mother complain that on the day you were born she wished you came with a user’s manual? Well, guess what? You did. You were born with the inherent ability to recognize danger, realize hunger, heal yourself, be attracted to someone, love, and much more. Your mother may not have known how to read your manual, but you do. It’s the gift we all come prepared to survive in this world with—intuition. Learning how to listen to your own intuitive voice is one of the most important aspects of self-care you can do.
Unfortunately, just because we were born with intuition, or “gut instinct,” does not necessarily mean we have learned how to listen to or trust ourselves. We are living in a time of media overload, with information streaming at us from every angle all day long. News, magazines, social media, and the Internet are all screaming at us daily about how we are supposed to be living, eating, dieting, exercising, working, etc. There is so much information going around that it is almost impossible to find answers to questions we have without also finding opposing answers that contradict what we just learned.
It feels as if all of the information available to us has caused us to not trust our own intuitive selves. We are no longer tuning into the feelings, emotions, and signals of our own bodies (if in fact we ever did). Case in point: Many times when I speak with individuals who are looking to change the way they eat, or lose weight, I ask if they know how it feels in their bodies when they are actually physically hungry. Many people do not, or have no knowledge of when their body is hoping to eat. Maybe they eat all day long because it makes them feel good, but it has nothing to do with actual hunger. Or maybe they have shut down this attention to hunger, as they believe they need to starve themselves and ignore their hunger to lose weight. This happens all the time as we blind our awareness of our own body signals because we believe that what we have learned is more important than our own bodies’ messages to us.
Hunger is a signal to your brain that your body needs nutrients, just like the hair raising up on the back of your neck is a warning sign that something doesn’t feel right and you may be in danger. Or maybe you know that you are not living a life that you feel promotes your true worth, or is a fabric of your own passion, but you ignore these thoughts by creating so many tasks in your everyday life that you have no time to allow yourself to take a minute and slow down enough to just sit quietly with yourself with no other distractions. You are designing your life the way you are for some reason that only you can ascertain. If you are not able to hear your own voice under all of the noise that surrounds us in our society, then how can you know what your truth is?
So many of us are not aware of our own needs, whether they consist of a hunger for food, passion, fulfillment, kindness, stimulation, or love. We just keep going, pushing ourselves, trying to keep up with some ideal we have, while failing to really tune into our own true nature. What are you hungry for? Do you even know?
Intuition is built in and can help to guide you in the direction of your needs. What would your intuition tell you about how you are living your life this very moment? If I asked you, as you sat in front of me face to face, the simple question, “Are you happy?” what is the first response you’d have? What does your gut instinct tell you? Do you instantly find yourself talking over what your immediate response was? For example, if your simple, intuitive answer is no, does that make you begin to justify or rationalize why you thought that in order for you to stomach your current life? If this is what you did, you are not alone. Many people cannot tolerate an honest checking-in with themselves because the answers they will find are not what they want to hear, or believe to be true, about themselves. The answer sometimes is too hard to handle.
The good news is you can find your way back to yourself by beginning to tune into your intuition to help guide you to a more genuine reality. We intuitively know what we need to do in order to be well most of the time if we can learn how to listen. Sometimes it can be helpful to work with a therapist or to talk with a trusted friend to help your intuitive voice have a platform or be revealed. Most of us are born with the answers we need to find our way to genuineness when we have questions in this life. We just have to learn to trust ourselves and listen. Find a quiet space to check in with yourself mindfully by becoming aware of your body, thoughts, and feelings. Your intuitive voice will come to you; whether you choose to listen is up to you.
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Stacey Neil, MA, LMFT, CPT, therapist in Los Gatos, California
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.