A picture of a piece of wall art that says, "Darling, you are here for a purpose" atop a book shelf with a stack of books and a greenery

Let’s talk about intuition. Some call it “body wisdom,” an “inner knowing” or a “gut feeling.” We’ve heard all these phrases. What do they really mean? They are about tuning into my body’s subtle, or not-so-subtle, nudges and trusting them. 

We can all think back to a time when we knew that we were making the wrong choice. In recollection, we say things like, “I had a bad feeling about it,” “It didn’t feel right,” or “I knew better but I didn’t trust myself.” The body might be communicating to us through a pit in our stomach, a tightness in our chest or a shortness of breath.

Sometimes, the body’s signals are subtle. Other times, it’s like being hit by a truck—a sudden feeling of dread—our bodies telling us loud and clear, “No, n-o!” We feel our sympathetic nervous system kick in, that fight-flight-freeze feeling like we are in life-threatening danger. Every time we ignore our body’s “no,” we abandon ourselves and we suffer. Our inner child greatly suffers too. 

In “Untamed author Glennon Doyle writes, “Confidence is loyalty to the self.” If confidence is loyalty to self, then, self-betrayal is the opposite. This breeds distrust in one’s self, a feeling of disembodiment and disconnect. That’s what we do when we ignore our inner knowing. 

If that’s what our body’s “no” is, then what does “yes” feel like? It’s a relaxed feeling. “Yes” is expansive, light and exciting. I’ve noticed I’m honoring my intuition and listening to my body’s “yes” when I make a decision and don’t feel the need to ask 100 people what they think. When I’m listening to my intuition, I just know and I don’t need to ask anyone other than myself. 

When I’m listening to my intuition… I don’t need to ask anyone other than myself. 

Interestingly, our intuition might not make “sense.” In fact, it can be in complete opposition to the “logical choice.” Trust yourself anyway. Strengthen those muscles by honoring all of your body’s signals. 

But how? Do you ignore your body when it’s hungry or thirsty? Do you ignore your body when you need to go to the bathroom or when it’s telling you it doesn’t feel safe with someone? Do you ignore your body when you’re tired? Do you let yourself rest or do you reach for another cup of coffee?

We’ve all been there. These questions aren’t about self-judgment but rather about examining our patterns with compassion.

Practice accepting your body’s wisdom in small ways, and it will be easier when it comes time to make those bigger decisions. Be curious and open like a scientist. What happens when you start to listen to your body? The more we listen, the better we get at noticing the body’s subtle changes. 

The more we listen, the better we get at noticing the body’s subtle changes. 

We’ve become disembodied as a society. Let’s get back in tune with our bodies instead of living “from the neck up,” trapped in our minds and thoughts. Let’s get back in touch with our bodies’ signals and see what good comes from it.

Can you think of a time you were rewarded for listening to your intuition? Was there a time you ignored it and really felt the consequences? 

Image via Tony Li

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