Instinct vs intuition: do you know the difference? For years, I was utterly oblivious, receiving two sets of messages and not being able to tell them apart.
Discerning the information’s source has transformed my life for the better and increased my understanding of my inner self. By sharing this, I hope we can make the same happen for you!
Instincts and intuition are not interchangeable. On a good day, they can be in harmony, agreeing seamlessly, but when they conflict, things go sideways. These conflicts create a lack of clarity, hinder your capacity to achieve your goals, and lead you to relive the same experience over and over again.
Your “inner wisdom” has two sources, and they are both integral to your inner balance.
Instinct and intuition
Instincts 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. Some would call it divine wisdom or inner knowing. This knowledge allows you to access a higher perspective and tap into what we’ll refer to as your soul or heart-based wisdom. It draws from your deepest truths.
Your instincts and intuition can feel surprisingly similar but if you can tell which is guiding you at any one time you will be in a stronger position!
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?
Have you made choices thinking you were following your intuition and were disappointed to find it let you down? It was probably your fear-based reasoning, your instincts, which led you astray, yet you believed that it was your intuition.
Your instincts will (for better or worse) want to keep you safely nestled in your existing experience. A good way to discern if your instinct was the culprit of your inner nudge, is when that path takes you in a “seemingly” different direction, and you find yourself in a position that is essentially the same as before.
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 it has survived it, and this experience, although undesirable, will appear relatively “safe” in the eyes of the subconscious. You feel “good” about an experience simply because it is familiar, even if it’s not in alignment with what you desire consciously. When this is your driving force, you end up with more of the same… and none of us want that!
This is where the conflict lies.
We all consciously desire change, improvement, or gain of some sort, yet your subconscious feels safe in your comfort zone. Everything 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).
Facing your fears
Attempting to gain something you’ve not previously attained will drive you to the edge of your comfort zone. As you draw nearer to the edge, you’ll trigger your fear response, releasing stress hormones even when the new experience may lead to greatness.
This new experience carries a level of risk in the eyes of the subconscious. It’s human nature to interpret this as your instincts telling you to back off, but really this can often be a sign you are on the right path! This is where the self-doubt starts – you talk yourself out of it, make a case for why it’s a “bad idea,” fall victim to cognitive dissonance, feel like you’re fighting with yourself, or in extreme cases, create literal obstacles to prevent you from moving forward.
Say no to fear-based thinking
When you allow your instincts to drive your choices away from the edge of your comfort zone, you are giving in to fear-based thinking. It leaves you circling the edge of your comfort zone never achieving the goal that you so desperately yearn for.
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 keeps you trapped in a life that doesn’t reflect what you really want. This is where you’re left feeling stuck in your life circumstances, unable to break free.
How I describe the difference is that my instinct is a strong and clear response fueled by the subtle energy of fear, whereas 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.
Give yourself permission to take some time and contemplate your choices from a place of non-judgment and openness. This supports you in saying yes more often to the things that will bring you joy and no to the things that will keep you trapped by your fear and limited perspectives.
When your ego wins, your soul loses.
Take a moment to feel into that….
Using and teaching intuitive development modalities has taught me so much about inner communication. 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 is limiting you. Muscle testing, meditation, and a wealth of other tools can be used to develop and hone this skill and gain the confidence you need to step far beyond your starting comfort zone.
It’s time for you to tap into your inherent wealth of wisdom… you’ll be amazed at just how brilliant you truly are!
Connect with Anik on The Wellness Universe.
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Having overcome a number of challenges, Anik has discovered a new way of life without suffering & fighting. She took back her life. This is now the gift she shares with the world. She enjoys guiding the consciously-minded to create a supportive, productive, fulfilling, and abundant life in all areas.