How do you tell the difference between intuition and fear?
When trying to make decision it’s important to know how to differentiate between intuition and fear. Intuition will feel like calm certainty whereas fear will feel stressful and anxious.
Yet sometimes, not being able to tell the difference btween the two can indicate subconscious factors which are sabotaging your success.
For example, someone new wants to collaborate with you on a proposed work project. It sounds like a great opportunity that could positively impact your career and your income.
You’re excited, yet there’s a feeling that things may not be as peachy as they seem.
You wonder if the feeling is a gut reaction to the person/situation actually being too good to be true and something is off that you can’t pinpoint.
It’s one of three possibilities:
- Self-Sabotage. Could this feeling just be you overthinking things? Jumping to fear-based conclusions? A fear of success or failure that’s been keeping you stuck? Could you be trying to come up with “reasons” to stay small and keep yourself safe?
- Something Is Off. Your intuition is telling you something is totally off and the situation is actually too good to be true and you’ll end up screwed in the end. You’ll end up carrying the burden of most of the work or the person may end up stealing credit when the work is completed.
- This Is A Golden Opportunity. This situation is actually an amazing golden opportunity that will radically shift things for you if you have the courage to go for it. You’ll uplevel your income and your life in ways that you never even imaged.
Being able to tell the difference between intuiton and fear is essential to be able to create what you most deeply desire.
In this article, we'll take a look at:
Is It Intuition Or Fear?
There is a fine line between intuition and fear, and many people confuse the two. The key to telling the difference is to examine the feelings underneath what you’re experiencing. If you feel anxiety and overwhelm it’s very likely fear. If you feel certainty and calm then it’s very likely intuition.
I often have clients ask me about harnessing their intuition.
Your gut feeling, or intuition, is one of the most powerful forces in your toolkit for life and success. Yet many people don’t know how to use it effectively. Or they’re totally disconnected from it.
Everyone gets internal signals that tell them there’s something more to a situation.
Everyone has intuition. Everyone has this capacity.
Yet people tend to tell themselves that they can’t trust that feeling. They ignore the feeling and figure they must be wrong.
One way this shows up is telling yourself you’re “being judgmental” when someone or something doesn’t feel right. You tell yourself “it’s nothing” when you aren’t quite sure why you don’t like someone or why you don’t want to be in a certain situation.
So you push down the feeling and ignore it.
The more you do this, the less you feel connected to your intuition. The less you feel as though you can trust the signals that you’re receiving that are giving you highly valuable information.
Intuition Requires Self-Trust
The reason this happens is because of lack of self-trust.
The kind of self-trust that says “this is a sign and I need to step back and observe“
We often brush our intuition aside, criticize ourselves for being judgmental, and then find out later that the person in question was not someone we wanted to get involved with.
This can happen a lot with narcissists. You may feel something is “off” but the person “seems so nice” and is so charming you convince yourself that you’re wrong and that you can’t trust themselves.
Unfortunately, what happens after you wake up to having a narcissist in your life is then you lose even more self-trust becuase you wonder why you didn’t listen to your internal signals to begin with.
Following your intuition comes down to self-trust.
Trauma Causes Loss Of Self-Trust
When you come from a background of Toxicity and Trauma you’ve often been taught not to trust yourself. This happens because of years of invalidation.
What’s invalidation? It’s when someone tells you that your inner feelings are wrong. To “suck it up” because you can’t possibly be hungry, you just ate. You can’t possibly be tired, you got plenty of sleep. You shouldn’t be sad, that’s stupid.
You’re basically taught that you can’t trust your feelings.
Perhaps you were told that you were being dramatic when you told your parents about something that was bothering you. Or maybe you were told to simmer down when you’d come home excited about something new.
When this happens you learn you can’t trust yourself and your instincts. You can’t trust your inner world. You get the message loud and clear that “You can’t trust your gut instinct, that’s stupid”.
So you shut down. Your connection with your deepest self gets shut down. You stop feeling connected to your feelings. And you stop trusting yourself.
When you can’t trust your inner world you can’t connect with your intuition.
Trust Is The Root Of Intuition
Do you trust yourself?
When you have a decision to make, do you trust your judgment?
Do you feel like there’s something bigger than yourself that you can fall back on and believe in?
Your faith in yourself, and your trust in your gut, gets slowly stripped away by years of conditioning that tells you ever so subtly that you cannot be trusted. And that you absolutely cannot, and should not, trust your inner world.
So what do you do?
- Discount your gut feelings.
- Make Excuses and come up with reasons that your gut, or your intuition is wrong.
- Invalidate yourself even after those people are gone who gave you those subtle messages all your life.
How To Tell If It’s Fear Or Intuition
How do you know if what you’re feeling is intuition or fear because of self-sabotage?
Many people are afraid of success and so find ways to find “reasonable excuses” for not following through on opportunities that would lead to really amazing things for them.
Discounting your intuition as “fear” can be a form of self-sabotage.
Your Feelings Hold The Key
When you ignore your intuition you’re listening to a false internal dialogue that’s telling you “you’re wrong. You can’t trust yourself. You can’t trust the world”.
The key way to tell the difference is to feel your feelings. To stop ignoring how you feel and listen to the information that your emotional navigation system is giving you.
When you get an intuitive nudge it feels like something is off. There’s not a good reason for it. There may not be a rational explination. The way I like to explain it is it almost feels like you put the movie on slow motion. Things slow down and you wonder if they should speed up. There’s a calm feeling of certainty to it.
Fear, on the other hand, feels more frantic. It’s a feeling of anxiety, worry, and spinning thoughts. It’s a sense of all the worst-case scenarios that run through your head. It feels stressful.
Sit With Your Emotions
To differentiate between intuition and fear you have to learn to sit with your emotions.
You sit with the feeling that you’re getting and you have a chat with it. You ask it “what am I afraid of? What is it about this situation that doesn’t feel right? How do I actually feel right now? What’s the worst-case scenario?”
You ask the feeling “what do you have to tell me?” and you listen.
You give the feeling a voice so that you can actually hear what it’s trying to tell you. Only when you look that feeling straight in the face can you hear what it’s saying.
Only then can you collect data on what the feeling is telling you.
Feelings are data. They are communicating valuable information to you. When you don’t trust your feelings and are disconnected from them, you’re losing out on a whole source of information that can help you on your path.
What To Do Next
So when you close your eyes, slow down, take a breath and feel into it – how do you feel? (now this “how do you feel” exercise will look very different for a man walking toward you in a dark alley than a business opportunity. So keep in mind that this example isn’t meant to be blanketly applied to everything in your life).
Maybe you feel an irrational level of fear, a fear of annihilation. That you’ll die. Why on earth would you feel that way for a business opportunity? That indicates that there’s very likely a subconscious fear motivating this that has nothing to do with the opportunity and has everything to do with your fears about what will happen if you succeed (or fail).
Maybe you feel a small fear and are able to easily identify what it’s about. Perhaps this person has a history of biting off more than they can chew and shirking their responsibilities and making others pick up the slack. And your fear is telling you that this person may very well do this exact thing again during this collaboration. This is good data that can empower you to either not choose to collaborate or be VERY clear and get a contract with the person about who is responsible for what.
Or perhaps when you really sit with the feeling it’s not exactly fear you’re feeling. It’s a sense of your feet being stuck on the floor and being unable to move forward. This can be two things. It can be resistance (which is often an indicator of #1 above). OR, it can be intuition telling you that this opportunity is not ideal for you. How do you tell the difference? Resistance looks like avoidance, like denial, like an inability to look at the thing that you’re considering. Intuition feels like a calm certainty. Even if the calm certainty is saying “don’t move” it actually wouldn’t feel like fear (in this example). It would feel like an inner knowing.
Some other things to consider:
Connect with where you feel your intuition in your body. And get to know what your intuition feels like so you can easily identify it. The more you practice the easier this gets.
Wait. Breathe. Slow down. And even ask yourself multiple times. Do not rush into a decision as the adrenaline of “I have to choose right now!” can often mask itself as anxiety, excitement, and fear. I will often step away from an opportunity and just let my emotions settle down so that I can really feel into how the situation feels to me before I make a decision rather than impulsively choosing based on adrenaline. I highly recommend you try this too.
“Following your intuition comes down to self-trust.”
Self-Trust Is Essential For Success & Wealth
My work with clients helps free them from self-sabotge, limiting beliefs, and to unblock stuck emotions so that they can finally welcome in more success and wealth into their lives.
I can help you uplevel your life and business without the stress so you can create what you most deeply desire.
Grab a spot on my calendar to talk about my programs and services and how I can help.