We all know what a “gut feeling” is. Sometimes it’s also referred to as intuition or a hunch. But when that feeling is such a strong and uncomfortable sensation in your body, how do you know if your instinct is a warning to protect you from real danger, or if it’s just fear coming up because you’re scared to do a thing that might actually propel you into greatness?
Gut feelings can often be warm and fuzzy. They can let you know you’re on the right path, validate compatibility, and help you make decisions you feel confident about.
But when it manifests as more of a suspicion, apprehension, or otherwise “funny” feeling, it can be less clear what that instinct is there to tell us.
Because many of us, myself included, are worriers by nature, our automatic response when we feel something scary is to think, “I’m not feeling good about this, it’s definitely the wrong thing to do.” And we are right to feel this way in some cases that are actually dangerous or misaligned with our higher selves. It’s nature’s way of protecting us and keeping us safe.
I know because this happened to me just a few weeks ago. I was about to sign on a new client and I just had this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. The client seemed nice enough and I had really enjoyed our initial conversation, but there were just a few things that felt like red flags and my intuition was screaming for me to wake up and pay attention. I asked my guides to show me what I needed to know about this situation, and before I knew it, I was at my computer doing some very simple background research. I couldn’t find anything about this person and next to nothing about the company either, other than their website, which was not on par with the success they claimed to be having. It didn’t align with what had been disclosed on our call, so I just had to walk away from the project. I did so respectfully and although it took me a couple of days to completely shake it off, I felt so much lighter having let that project go.
BUT… what if our potential project, new client, next step in our relationship, wild adventure, or major pivot in our business is actually a nudge from the universe re: a BIG opportunity that could change our life for the better and that’s why it feels so uncomfortable?
This nuance is one we want to learn how to detect so that we don’t miss out on opportunities to receive knowledge, abundance, wealth, and even love. Being open to receive this guidance and all the blessings it can bring with it also keeps us vibrating at high frequency, keeping the flow open for even more guidance and opportunities to find their way to our consciousness.
So how DO we tell the difference?
Play out the scenario in your mind.
Find a quiet, comfortable spot and close your eyes. Imagine that you took this idea and ran with it; play out the scenario in great detail in your head. What’s the best case scenario? What’s the worst? Does it feel potentially dangerous to your physical or mental well-being? If everything goes pretty well, do you feel good, like something just lit up inside you?
If it felt dangerous, dreadful, or draining… it’s probably a warning. But if you could envision things actually going really well and something about that felt really exciting to you, it’s likely a fear holding you back from a really cool opportunity for growth.
Ask yourself if there is fear involved.
Intuition tends to be fairly emotionally neutral, not swinging too far positive or too far negative. So a warning, or intuition not to do something, will tend to be pretty matter-of-fact; a “don’t do it” without any heaviness or indecision along for the ride.
However, intuition that’s bundled with fear can feel different, because fear is highly emotionally charged, tends to bring critical self-talk along with it, and often feels tight, constraining, restrictive—it keeps us very small.
Fear also loves to open up past wounds and cast a negative light on our future. Presence is the antidote to fear, and therefore meditating and bringing awareness to the present moment can help us get clear on what our gut feeling means. If we can strip the fear of the past and future out of our vision, is there something there that’s really amazing? Does it feel expansive and compassionate? Does it feel aligned to our higher self?
If you aren’t sure how to begin your meditation, try this simple prayer to ask for guidance:
“Thank you, inner guide, for showing me what I need to know about my gut feeling and whether or not it serves the highest good for all. I welcome this clarity now.”
Need more help getting started? Try this guided meditation:
Maybe you’ve realized that you are experiencing intuition about a decision that is positive for you, but your fear is holding you back. In that case, how do you move forward?
Well, friend, this is not easy stuff. If it were, people would be taking leaps of faith way more often than they do. But here’s the thing: easy doesn’t get you unstuck. Sometimes we have to be brave and even though something feels scary, if we know it serves our highest purpose, we have to do it anyway.
It’s pretty common to tell ourselves that one day, things won’t be so scary. These other people who are so successful are just more confident and more experienced than we are, so they don’t get scared. These other successful people have always had a lot of money, so they don’t have to worry about messing up. These other successful people are surrounded only by people who want the best for them and support them, so they never have to feel the weight of failure.
I’m here to tell you that’s a load of crap. It’s just simply not true.
Even the most successful people will tell you they still get scared ALL the time. They experience fear just like we do. What makes them different from people who haven’t experienced as much success, is that they feel the scary feelings AND THEY DO IT ANYWAY.
Now, I am not suggesting that if you feel fearful for your safety or well-being that you proceed anyway. As I mentioned before, we do have gut feelings as warnings and sometimes they need to be heeded. But, if you felt like a more elevated and empowered version of yourself when you played out your best-case scenario… then it’s time to take a leap, my friend.
I believe in you.
I see you. Keep going.