Gut instinct, hunches, intuition – what are these exactly?
These are messages from your unconscious mind. As they come from this part of us, we find it difficult to make sense of them. This makes them hard to accept them as accurate and making it hard for us to trust.
Carl Jung was a very prominent figure in psychology and his theories are still part of most psychotherapy courses today. He said ‘Intuition is perception via the unconscious that brings forth ideas, images and new possibilities’. This reinforces it comes from that deeper part of us and the oxford dictionary defines it as ‘the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning’
Where does it come from? From each and every part of us.
For example, our perception may pick up on slight differences in what someone has said and their body language. This makes us question if we can trust them or not and rightfully so. When we’re being honest, speech patterns and body language match up.
Another example is where we feel uncomfortable in a situation but do not know why. This can be that we’ve had a negative experience in the past that links to the current situation. Our threat system is activated and we feel uneasy. If we can’t explain why with logic though, we can dismiss it, but the feeling will still remain. When things turn out badly we often say ‘I knew something didn’t feel right’.
Can we trust it?
Not 100%. Your intuition could be telling you something based on your past experiences that have created negative beliefs or biases. This can create instinctive feelings when our threat system is activated so we tend to back away from it.
We can consciously experiment with our intuition to test if we can trust it. Having felt something within, over time, you’ll discover it was correct or not. Often, we find our instinctive thoughts were correct which develops a trust but not to 100%. We can also check this out with others, especially those close to us. Those closest to us share our values and beliefs and if we get a feeling about something, they can help us assess it’s accuracy.
Your intuition gives you messages from the deepest parts of you. This is a communication and it can help us to listen to ourselves. Should we rely on it solely when making huge decisions in life (such as moving countries, leaving jobs, relationships etc)? Maybe our intuition should be a component in the process along with consulting others and rational thoughts.
As always, comment and q’s are welcomed. Wishing you a lovely day,