How to tell the difference between fear and intuition

This past week, I received a great question from one of our readers. She asked; “What do you think is the difference between fear and your gut instinct/intuition? Example, your gut is telling you not to do something vs. you being afraid to do it.”

I absolutely loved the question and actually was something I had thought about just days before. First, let’s look at the difference between fear and intuition. For me, intuition usually comes quietly. It may and most times not make sense, but it is a gentle whisper and guidance. It does not push, and it feels gentle, like a gentle knowing and guides you to make your own conclusion and/or decision. 

Fear, on the other hand gives you so many reasons why you should or shouldn't do something. It is sometimes triggered by the ego and when asked a question, it will spill so many answers to you. However, your intuition guides then steps aside and allows you to take your own action. Your fear will shout and push for you to take a certain action. 

I also find that, if you're worrying and afraid of something that may happen as a result of _______ (fill in the blanks) then you are usually coming from a fearful place. When you are worried about the future, fear is usually in control. Intuition focuses on the NOW. 

It is important to remember that fear is not always a bad thing. When we step out of our comfort zone, fear will come up for us. It’s human nature and we all go through it. However, that does not mean we need to stop what we are doing. To distinguish when your gut is telling you not to do something versus plain old fear, one of my mentors Maria Forleo had another great take on it (can check it out her blog here!).

Marie says;

When you think about what it is you want to do and feel fearful about it, look to see if the fear feels expansive or contraction.

If it is expansive (excitement mixed with fear) then it means you're having that normal fear that comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone which is normal. Go ahead and move past it!

However, if it feels contractive, meaning it makes you feel physically sick and you feel a sense of dread; then it’s typically your gut telling you not to do it. 

Knowing when our intuition is speaking to us can be difficult. This is why I believe 100% in having a spiritual practice. If you’ve set intentions for yourself for the New Year or looking to set it, I urge you to add connecting to your inner guidance on the list. This is something I try to do daily. I don’t always get it right, but the next day I try again. 

How does this practice look like? Well, again for me it’s taking time to be still and connected. I love mediation for this. It allows me to quiet my mind and connect to my inner compass (which we all have). Some people have a hard time meditating and I say it does not have to be a long dreaded process.

There are many 5 to 20 minutes free guided meditation out there that are great, and will get you going. Just google it and you will see tons pop up. When you meditate you start to gain awareness of that still small voice inside. This is important because you will start to distinguish the fearful voice of your ego (which at times looks like it’s protecting you) to that of your intuitive guide.

So, have you ever had a hard time distinguishing fear from intuition? Do you have another practice and tools that was not mentioned?

Share in the comments below!


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