Intuition vs Instinct
Most people are unaware of the difference between intuition and instinct. In fact, for years, I didn’t know either. Being able to recognize where my information comes from and its nature has made my life better. I hope in sharing this it will do the same for you.
Gaining this perspective is sure to help you to be more clear about your decisions moving forward, and offer some insight as to why you might have made the “wrong” decision in the past even when it “felt” right.
You may think instincts and intuition are interchangeable, but they are not. Most often they will agree with each other, but when they conflict, it causes issues. The conflict creates a lack of clarity, hinders your capacity to achieve your goals, and leads you to reliving the same experience over and over.
Your “inner wisdom” actually has two sources. Scholars have been studying these for ages, so I’m going to keep this light and get to my point.
First, there are your instincts. These are based purely on your survival knowledge. They are intended to be supportive during life-threatening situations and trigger your fight, flight, or freeze response at varying degrees depending on your perceived level of risk.
Next, is your intuition. Or as some would call it, your divine wisdom or inner knowing. This knowledge allows you to access a higher perspective on situations. It can also help you tap into what we’ll refer to as your soul or heart-based wisdom which draws from your deepest desires.
What most people don’t realize is that your instincts and your intuition can feel similar. Being able to discern which is guiding you is where the trick lies.
Here’s how your intuition gets a bad wrap.
You might have said no to something because you had a “bad” feeling about it. But, ask yourself, was it a bad feeling because the opportunity would have led you out of your comfort zone? Or was the choice out of alignment with your values and conscious desires? Is it possible that you have made choices in the past thinking you were following your intuition and it let you down, when, in fact, it was led by your fear-based reasoning? Your instincts led you astray, leading you to believe that you can’t trust your intuition.
This is where it can get confusing. You see, your mind releases feel-good hormones into your system when it recognizes something familiar. If you are used to experiencing hardship or lack, it’s comfortable there. It knows from past experience you have survived, and this experience, although maybe undesirable, will appear relatively “safe” in the eyes of the subconscious. So you are left feeling good about an experience that might be familiar, but not necessarily in alignment with what you desire consciously.
This is where the conflict lies. Let’s say you consciously desire change, improvement, or gain of some sort. At the same time, your subconscious feels safe in your zone of comfort. The kicker is that everything that you want that you don’t already have lives outside of your comfort zone! In order to access it, you need to breach that boundary or expand your comfort zone (I prefer the latter).
As you draw nearer to the edge of your comfort zone in an attempt to gain something not previously attained, you’ll trigger your fear response. This releases stress hormones, even when the new experience will lead you to awesomeville. This happens because this new experience carries a level of risk in the eyes of the subconscious. It is an unknown! For most, this is where you start in with the self-doubt. You talk yourself out of it, make a case for why it’s a bad idea, cognitive dissonance, and in extreme cases, create physical obstacles in moving forward.
When instinct leads you astray…
What happens when you allow this instinct to drive your choices (often fear-based)? It leaves you circling your comfort zone over and over. You never get to break free and gain a new experience or achieve a goal.
At the surface, you might think you are following your intuition, but you are really being controlled by your subconscious fear. Choosing out of fear is exactly what keeps you trapped in a life that doesn’t reflect what you really want. This is where you’re left feeling trapped or stuck in your life circumstances, unable to break free. It’s like groundhog day, but your version of it.
How I describe the difference, is my instinct is a strong and clear response fuelled by the subtle energy of fear, where my intuition is a soft guiding voice that says “feel free to consider this option”. My intuition has never been pushy, created a fear-based response, or interfered with my free-will. Consider it in these terms, spirit and pure wisdom isn’t pushy, ego is.
Hear your inner voice
Giving yourself permission to take time to contemplate your choices from a place of non-judgement and openness will support you in saying yes more often to the things that bring you joy and no to the things that keep you trapped by your fear and limited perspectives.
Learning to listen and wait for the knowingness that arises from that sometimes uncomfortable space of unknowingness is something that is practised. Too often, we want to hurry up and make immediate decisions and the loud voice of fear is the one that gets noticed.
What I’ve seen through using and teaching ThetaHealing and other self-development tools is that when you open the lines of communication between your conscious and subconscious you become more aware of where your subconscious programming is supportive and where it’s limiting you. Some of the tools we use to develop this are muscle testing and meditation.
Muscle testing is not an exact science, but it’s a simple yet powerful tool that we all have easy access to. Grab my tutorial and limiting belief questionnaire for specific statements to learn how you can use it to help you practice discernment for the source of your information.
It’s imperative that you develop the skill to easily discern between your intuition and your instincts. You’ll learn this and other crucial skills at our upcoming ThetaHealing Seminars. Say no to mixed signals and yes to clear and confident decision making.