What is intuition and how to use it in daily life
We often think of intuition as a supernatural phenomenon or a unique ability that only a few gifted people have. The truth is that intuition is hard wired within all of us and is something that is formed on the basis of all the information that our brain gathers consciously and unconsciously.
Intuition is a gut feeling, instinct, hunch or thought that seems to have no apparent reason and comes without any conscious thinking or explanation. Intuition can be positive or come as a warning message. It’s our inbuilt survival sensor and can be an extremely powerful way to detect danger before we are consciously aware of it, so never ignore it! Recognize it, respect it, and act on it. If your inner warning bells are going off, there is always something wrong and you should avoid second-guessing it.
Think about it. Have you ever had a really bad feeling about something or someone, but put it aside because you thought you were being paranoid, stupid or judgmental, and found that your intuition or gut feeling was right? Or found someone creepy from the word go and they lived up to that notion? Or had an uneasy feeling about someone close just to discover that something bad has happened to them? Or for that matter, got a call and even before answering, you knew who it was? All these situations are examples of seeing your intuition at play.
How Does Intuition Work?
We all have intuitions, and there is nothing metaphysical or psychic about them. The reason we don’t always pay heed to them is that we value hard logic and intuitions have not been well explained and unlike the body, figuring out the mechanisms of the mind has proved to be way more challenging. However, there is a scientific way in which intuition works. The brain processes 400 Billion bits of information a second. But, we are only aware of 2,000 of those. That means our subconscious has access to a lot more than we are consciously aware of. That’s why it’s in a better position to make evaluations, and the moment it finds something important, amiss or potentially threatening, it immediately transmits an urgent signal to us in the form of a gut feel or intuition. That’s why you must always pay attention to your intuitive feelings.
People often don’t recognize their intuitions because they can’t grasp its signals. Intuitions can come in the form of physical sensations such as panic, a weird vibe, feeling of being watched, chills in the spine, pressure or repulsion from a person or situation, hair standing, tightness in the chest, butterflies in the stomach, visual images, unusual suspicion or wariness, “gut” feeling, uncomfortable feeling you can’t put your finger on, verbal messages, physical sensations, emotional feelings, inexplicable change in mood, tingles, sudden headache or environmental cues.
Trusting Your Alarm Bells
Many rapes and assault victims confess that they sensed something amiss or had an “uneasy” feeling about a person or a place, just prior to the crime. Like Rani (name changed) who was assaulted and raped in broad daylight, in a posh neighbourhood, later told investigators that she felt a strange vibe from a male jogger. However, he was well dressed and logically, nothing seemed amiss, so she told herself she was being suspicious and continued jogging. A few minutes later, the man turned around, stabbed her, dragged her into a construction site, raped her and left her bleeding. She was found unconscious, a day later and lost an eye.
Understand Reality -- And Face It
Denial is the biggest enemy of real safety. It’s important to accept that anyone can be a victim of crime, irrespective of how you travel, what wear, where you live and hang out. An “It won’t happen to me” attitude just leaves you in denial. Only when you accept this fact, will you become aware of the warning signs when you receive them. Understand reality so that you can take the right precautions because when you are in an emergency, it’s too late to start thinking about what to do.
Don’t Be Fooled
Clearly, intuition is a powerful phenomenon as most attacks come with some kind of warning. However, as the majority of crimes against women are committed by people known to them, they tend to ignore the warnings bells, thinking, “What’s wrong with me? “I know him.” Stereotypes are another common barrier between you and your intuition. Thoughts like, he looks “so nice” or “decent.” Remember looks can be deceptive. Don’t forget that rapists and criminals, mostly look like anyone else. But your intuition can pick clues that can help safeguard you against them if you pay attention to their warnings.
Recently a girl was walking to her car, outside a suburban mall. She had way too many bags in her hands when a “nice’ man offered to help with her bags. She took his help but as they walked something made her very comfortable. As she opened the car, the man hit her with a blunt object, dumped her in the boot, and drove off. If only she has acted on her instinct, things may have turned out differently for her.
Better Safe, Than Sorry
Social good manners often make us ignore our intuition, especially with seemingly friendly predators, and the harmless-looking man in the car park, the acquaintance with a weird vibe or even an unnerving relative. Always err on the side of caution. Don’t be afraid of people’s opinions, even if they make you feel awkward or embarrassed. If your gut says someone is dangerous, work briskly to put a safe distance between you and the person who is causing you discomfort, even if it causes some inconvenience. Too many women give a predator the benefit of the doubt and face severe consequences. If you are feeling uneasy walking to the car park, ask someone to accompany you, make them wait till you check the car while, quickly get in, lock all doors and drive off.
Sometimes your intuition alone may not be sharp enough, as you are not used to listening to it. Or because it’s drowned in the din of a hectic day. Besides, your perpetrator may be a great con artist. But when you combine intuition with common sense, it becomes the Lethal Weapon of safety. Integrate sensible safety precautions in your daily life, irrespective of whether your alarm bells are on or off, and follow them diligently.
Beware of Traps
Predators have very creative minds when it comes to luring and trapping their victims. They can pretend to be helpless, lost, offer help of some sort, land up at your doorstep offering some service, sometimes they publicize false jobs and call you for fake interviews, may come visiting when you are alone, take you somewhere on the pretext of showing you something and sometimes they even hide in dark corners, taking out the voice of a child or a woman in need of help. Be careful and alert and if you get a fleeting negative instinct, act on it. Call for help or get out of there.
Promise yourself to always listen to your intuition and act on it. Even if it is wrong on occasion. It is most definitely better to err on the side of caution than to get pinned in an uncomfortable, dangerous corner. Or worse, land up raped, beaten or dead.