Intuition, Shmintuition: Do You Trust Yours?

So, I'm still off with the flu, but feel like I'm finally on the upswing now. I only woke up once through the night. I haven't thrown up in 24 hours. I have one fully functioning nostril. My head only feels like it's half full of cotton balls. I feel like standing on my balcony and belting out "Feelin' Good" a la Jennifer Hudson. With sick days at home comes back-to-back viewings of The Maury Povich Show, one of my guilty pleasures. I was watching one of the "Is My Man Cheating With My Best Friend's Baby Sister's Lesbian Girlfriend?" shows with the lie detector test that's really not necessary. Every man or woman who comes on these shows already has enough proof of infidelity, yet still believe they need Maury's lie detector man to tell them what they already know. Which led me to ask, "Why do we do this to ourselves?"

Maya Angelou once said “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I find that in today's world, this quote is leaned on as a crutch after someone has received the proof of whatever was tugging at their intuition. Is it possible to begin referring to it at the onset of a problem? Can we save ourselves from unnecessary pain, or do we need to doubt our intuition in order to learn how to trust it?

I'll admit. It's hard. You want to trust your intuition, but you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. And how can you really be sure that something untoward is going on? Those questionable signs you're seeing might be able to be attributed to something valid, and at the end of the day, no one wants to jump to conclusions and be accused of overreacting. So you swallow those nagging feelings until the day things blow up. And while you're sitting there wondering what went wrong, a well-meaning friend tries to console and empower you with that same Maya Angelou quote. Maybe you'll arm yourself better the next time, or maybe not.

I've gotten much better at trusting my intuition. If a place doesn't feel right, I probably won't go. If a person doesn't seem genuine, I probably won't do more than smile and nod. If a request makes me feel like something not-so-good might come of it, I'll respectfully decline. Have I been accused of "thinking too much"? Yes. Have I been made to feel guilty about not doing something or going somewhere because it didn't feel right? Sure. Have I ever been wrong? Yes - but never about anything that truly mattered. I may have passed up a night or two because I didn't have a good feeling about the venue or the company. Sure, the place didn't get shot up - but I've always been told "You didn't miss much anyway." It's taken me a while to get to this point, and sometimes I still doubt myself. However, one of the most important intuition-reliant areas in my life has been within relationships, as I'm sure many of you can relate. Allow me to share a story with y'all.

Summers ago, when I was single and ready to mingle, I used to come to Toronto almost every weekend to hang with friends who lived in the city. One sunny Saturday, my girls and I headed to a BBQ where I planned to do nothing but soak up the sun and eat some chicken and burgers. What I didn't expect was to meet a chocolate Adonis - a funny, athletic cutie who could BBQ like nobody's business AND could entertain the gaggle of kids people brought to the park? Sign me up! He approached me, I gave him my number, then next thing you know, I was visiting him in Toronto and he was visiting me in London. It was all fun until I started getting some questionable vibes. I saw that his Hi5 page (yes, I said Hi5) said he was "In a relationship." I asked him about it, because I didn't think we were at that point yet - and he said he simply hadn't updated it since his last relationship. We went to visit a friend of his in the hospital, and all of his boys looked confused when they saw me. I thought I heard one say "Oh, I thought you were bringing...." but when his voice trailed off, I let my nagging intuition fade into the wind too. But here's the kicker. Like I said, we were doing a long-distance thing. My maiden name is also the name of another city in SW Ontario, and for some reason, a lot of people would confuse the city I lived in with the city I shared a name with. Everytime my boo-piece would say "I have the weekend off - so I'm going to drive down to ______ to see you!" I'd say, "Silly! My last name is ______! You mean London!" And on and on it went, until I started wondering if he had some kind of memory problem. Turns out he didn't have a memory problem, he had a girlfriend-and-baby-on-the-way problem. And his girlfriend lived in the same city as my last name. And he simply couldn't keep his calendar straight from if he was driving to see me, or to see her. He was quickly cut loose, but I kicked myself a week later when a friend sent me that Maya Angelou quote, and I promised never to silence my intuition again.

The moral of the story? Well, any moral I share won't be as effective as the lesson you'll learn when you don't trust your intuition. So whether it's something about your partner, or that family member asking for a "loan", or that new job offer that has you thinking twice, don't ignore that! You possess instincts for a reason. Utilize common sense, but never deny the power of your intuition. It's a personal lesson that everyone must learn on their own - but I guarantee, it'll be a lesson you won't soon forget.

Do you trust your intuition? Has doing so saved you from something negative, or led you to something positive? Have you learned the lesson of what happens when you don't trust your intuition? When you get those nagging feelings, do you hold back, or do you react?

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