How many times have you sensed something was wrong? Felt warning signs of impending trouble? Felt the Universe communicating to you that something was amiss? Picked up signals that the thing you had or wanted was not meant for you?
How many times have you embraced and heeded these signs as warning messages from your intuition? Tuning in to and becoming more aware of our intuition is a good thing, right? Intuition is a gift, and using it is powerful.
But what if it isn’t really your intuition? What if you haven’t been predicting or sensing outcomes, but creating those outcomes by your actions and reactions?
I wish I could go back in time and tell my 20-year-old self that a lot of what she will chalk up to her “intuition” will actually be her insecurity talking, and it will lead her down a path of recurring self-sabotage and self-fulfilling prophecies.
The “signs” and “evidence” we read through a lens of “intuition” are first filtered through a medium of our unique experiences and self-image. If we are insecure, fear is our primary filter medium, and it will completely alter the composition of what your intuition is reading.
When making bourbon, the filtering process can dramatically transform a whiskey. Unfiltered…non-chill filtered…plate and frame filter…can filter. Decisions made at this stage alter the color, taste, character, and complexity of the final product. So, if your intuition is a tongue, “tasting” filtered evidence and then sending an evaluation message to your brain, that message is very different depending on the filter through which the evidence flowed. If it flowed through fear, your intuition is going to send a negative message.
Intuition comes from a place of confidence, power, and strength. Insecurity comes from a place of fear and doubt.
If only I’d realized this in my 20s. Instead, I spent decades tuning in to what I thought was my intuition, and then bemoaning the fact that I “ignored” said intuition and ended up with the negative outcome I “intuited” all along. Of course, I wasn’t ignoring my “intuition.” I played the negative messages over and over in my head, and reacted by making behavior choices that ensured the bad outcomes would eventually occur. These self-fulfilling prophecies create a cycle of failure fed by insecurity, fear, and doubt. A self-fulfilling prophecy is so dangerous because it’s a double-edged sword — one side I Told You So and the other I Made It So. It’s a tough pattern to break.
To be clear, I am not referring to the intuition that picks up red-flag signs of danger, abuse, addiction, narcissism, or other disorder. Yes, they can be frightening, but paying attention to these red-flag warning signs — early on — and following your instinct to walk away comes from a place of strength and power, not fear. That is intuition, and I wish my 20-year-old self had trusted in hers the way I trust and follow mine now.
Our intuition can save our lives, protect our finances, and guard our happiness and well-being. Our insecurity can throw us on an endless loop of fear-induced self-fulfilling prophecies. Absent a clear red-flag warning sign, I would tell my 20-year-old self to stop and ask herself two questions when she thinks her intuition is telling her a negative message:
“Am I afraid?”
“What am I afraid of?”
If she answers “yes” to the first question, her answer(s) to the second question will let her know she’s dealing with insecurity, not intuition.
From my 20s on into even my 60s, my answers to the second question have included being afraid of rejection, failure, looking stupid, or not being liked. My “intuition” was really just insecurity, feeding me negative messages that reflected my fears. At 61, though, I can better distinguish insecure fear from powerful intuition. I’m much better at taming fear, taking action from a position of strength, and preventing insecurity from launching me into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self that most of what she feels is insecurity, not intuition. I wish I could hold her hand, giving her the confidence to listen to what really is intuition that could save her from harm. I wish I could tell her it gets so much better. I wish I could tell her this is coming.
What about you? How do you tell the difference between intuition and insecurity? Was there ever a time you confused the two? What advice would you give your younger self about this?
All images The Hot Goddess
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