We all have it – the little voice within that whispers warnings, or in some cases, screams alarm bells.
Our intuition, often referred to as “gut feeling” isn’t widely understood. But what we do know is that it generally acts as a form of guidance, especially in challenging situations or when making big decisions.
There have been times in my life when I’ve ignored my gut feeling, only to regret it later.
Perhaps you’ve done the same.
We often silence our inner voice due to social pressure, or because we don’t quite trust it.
But there are certain situations when you absolutely should tune in and pay attention, which I detail below. Here are 8 things you should always trust your intuition on:
1) Personal safety
When it comes to putting yourself in risky situations, it’s easy to write off your gut feeling as “overthinking” or “being too cautious”.
For example, you’re traveling in East Asia and the boat expected to hold 50 tourists looks like it’s on its last legs.
While everyone might be encouraging you to board, if your gut tells you it isn’t a good idea, listen to it.
I’ve started paying more attention to my intuition when in the sea, for example. I’m not a strong swimmer, and after a few scary situations in which I ignored my gut feeling, I now pay extra close attention.
I’ll even turn down “fun” and “harmless” water activities if my body tells me I’m not prepared or strong enough to handle it.
Ultimately, our bodies are designed to fight for survival, and the more you tune into that feeling, voice, or whatever you want to call it, the more it’ll protect you.
2) Health issues
Now, when it comes to health, things get tricky.
Some of us are in denial. Others simply refuse to listen to their intuition. Most of us turn to Google.
But here’s the thing to remember – the body knows when something is wrong.
I’m not going to scare you with serious health issues that have been uncovered too late, but you can guess – the sooner you listen to your gut feeling, the better the outcome will be.
And hey – being afraid is nothing to be ashamed of. Just make sure you share your concerns with someone you love and trust, and seek the help you need with them by your side.
I’m guessing most of you reading this will have ignored your gut feeling about someone, only to regret it later!
I know I have.
The body picks up on energy that seems to be “off”…or red flags that might not be obvious…
Yet we often ignore these warning feelings because we’re caught up in the romance or excitement of the moment.
Other times, we ignore it because we think we can change that person into someone who is completely right for us…only to be sorely disappointed months or years down the line.
And this doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. Your intuition will warn you about family members, coworkers, and friends.
If you’ve made the mistake of ignoring your intuition in the past, don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, make a conscious effort to pay attention and follow its lead.
You may find that you pick your relationships and friendships with more care and consideration in mind.
4) Making big decisions
“Big decisions” look different for everyone, but in general, I’m talking about things like:
- Purchasing your first home
- Moving country
- Changing careers
- Getting married
- Having kids
You know, the type of decisions that will change your life. Many people fall into the trap of doing certain things because of social pressure.
They buy that expensive house because their friends all own massive properties – even though they can’t really afford it and their stomach is going around in circles.
Or, they have children, even though deep down they feel incredibly apprehensive…but they go ahead with it because society says you should have kids by a certain age.
Sometimes, these big decisions will work out. But sometimes they won’t.
And that’s where the regret of not listening to your intuition comes into play.
But bear in mind – I’m not talking about the usual nerves that come with purchasing a house or having a kid.
I’m talking about that deep-rooted feeling that only comes when your body knows you aren’t doing what’s in your best interest.
5) Job offers
Ever accepted a job offer, even though the management or working environment seemed strange?
Perhaps you got home after the interview and didn’t feel positive, but couldn’t pinpoint your finger on why?
This is another situation you should always trust your intuition on.
I remember accepting a job for a teaching position even though management didn’t seem to value the well-being of staff – but the pay was good.
Even though my gut feeling told me to run for the hills, I decided to push through. I reasoned that I’d be able to handle the environment.
Long story short, I didn’t last 3 months before handing in my notice.
Even then, my employer was more concerned about looking for someone new than the fact my mental health had deteriorated from working in such conditions.
I learned a valuable lesson after that experience!
6) Interpreting other people’s intentions
Sometimes, people might say one thing but mean something completely different.
Listening to your intuition in these situations can save you from being hurt, or worse, put into a dangerous situation.
So, if you ever doubt someone’s intentions or get the feeling they’re being insincere, don’t ignore those warning feelings.
On holiday in Morocco once, I was lost looking for a museum. A young man approached and asked if I was okay, so I asked him for directions. He “kindly” offered to show me the way.
But very quickly, I realized that although he was acting friendly, something wasn’t right.
I then saw a few other young men randomly standing around, occasionally making eye contact but trying not to be obvious about it.
You can bet my alarm bells were ringing, and for once, I listened to my gut feeling and got the heck out of there.
Who knows what might have happened, but I’m just glad I didn’t stick around to find out!
Our bodies often know what we need before our mind catches up and realizes something is wrong, and this is true for self-care.
For example, you’ve been working hard and not had much time to unwind.
You might feel a niggling inside, a craving for a day off or a weekend away to recharge your batteries.
This is your body’s way of telling you, “Hey, I’m being overworked. I need a break.”
When you get messages like this, it’s vital you listen to them.
In fact, if more people listened to their gut feelings, I imagine fewer of us would suffer from burnout!
8) Parenting decisions
And finally, always trust your intuition when it comes to making parenting decisions.
A friend of mine was a first-time mom. Her toddler developed a cough, but her parents and her in-laws kept saying it was probably nothing. They told her to stop worrying. It was winter – all kids get sick.
But her gut feeling persisted, and thankfully, she took her baby to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with a severe chest infection.
Had she listened to those around her, the situation could have turned grave.
And look – I feel for parents. You guys have opinions coming in from all different angles on the right way to parent your children.
But ultimately, YOU know your kids best, and only you can decide what’s right for them while they’re still young and dependent.
So, don’t ever doubt your intuition. Don’t ever quieten it because you’re afraid of what other moms or dads will say.
As with all the other points in this article, our intuition is there to guide us and keep us safe. And the more you pay attention to it, the stronger it becomes!