It’s that pit in your stomach saying something is amiss. Other times it’s the calm confidence of knowing you’re headed down the right path. Whether you listen to it or not, intuition is your heart and mind joining forces to fight for your protection, and at times, for your very survival.
But what matters infinitely more than having a strong sense of intuition is the ability to follow it. That’s where I seem to run into issues. It’s every optimists’ dilemma.
Ever since I can remember, my intuition has been on point. I can sense the emotions in a room before people speak. Red flags go off without fail when I’m being told a lie instead of the truth. To this day, there are only a handful of situations that unraveled in a way I didn’t see coming.
In many of these situations though, what follows after I hear that voice is usually me telling myself to stop overreacting. To relax, remain optimistic and expect only the best out of people.
It’s what we optimists do to ourselves. In high stakes situations, we dismiss our natural instincts and hope that the next sign will be from “out there,” instead of from within, and that it will prove us wrong. Optimists are more relieved to be wrong about themselves than to be wrong about others.
The choice to dismiss our natural instinct happens so fast it’s barely perceptible. But it’s still as real and powerful as any other life changing decision we make.
So where does this come from? This preference to cling blindly to hope while denying our strongest ally –- ourselves?
Personally, I have always seen my optimism and my intuition at odds with each other. One is full of wild faith in the people, places and situations in my life. The other tells it like it is and is strongly rooted in truth and reality. As of late, optimism has always won that battle. I think it’s because following my intuition would mean acknowledging that life is messy, that the world contains as much evil as it does good and that friends can cause more pain than enemies.
What I’m starting to learn though, is that gut instinct and genuine positivity aren’t divergent paths. Actually, they should be viewed more as a succession of self-saving habits. You have to know yourself first, then follow your intuition. Afterwards is when all that optimism is needed. I believe that’s when optimism is most informed, most potent.
It’s scary to rely that much on intuition, but it becomes easier when you realize that the world rewards those who 1) seek the truth and 2) know how to handle it when it comes their way. When the truth disappoints you, a big part of how to “handle it” is to refuse to allow it to dull your optimism. If you can do that, you’ve already won.
The bottom line is that there’s enough manipulation and deception in the world, that the worst thing you can do is add to that by betraying yourself. The best solution is to trust yourself and never underestimate how far following your intuition and staying optimistic about the outcome will take you!
Nothing Fails, from American Life, by far Madonna’s most underrated album.
Peace of Mind
Of all the beauties in this world, rain tops the list for me. I love thunderstorms, love watching buckets of rain pour over us not caring who is ready and who is not. I love the thought that this magically clear concoction from somewhere up above made it all the way down to earth to touch little old me.
But what I love most about rain is the way it washes our gutters, streets, and cars, chasing the dirt and dust away to make them shine anew. I think most of us agree, the nature of rain is a beautiful thing.
I wonder why then, when we face storms in our own lives, it’s so hard to trust that those rainy days and struggles are cleansing us too. Why is it so hard to believe that sunlight and transformation are on their way?
We all struggle to find our way when life’s hurdles, some self-inflicted and others out of our control, keep popping up along our paths. But one thing life has taught me time and time again is that in every battle, every wound, there is hope and transformation. Not just after, but during. There is a place for light and fresh air to enter. It’s all about perspective.
There were so many instances in my life where I could only see the loss or pain in a situation because my perspective was so limited. I couldn’t comprehend gaining anything from the obstacles. All I could see was the water rising around me and all I wanted was for it to disappear. What I didn’t see is that those cloudy days were stepping stones leading me to the happiest days of my life. Without them the happiness I can experience today would never be so beautiful or pure.
Despair, worry, stress - these are all natural reactions to rainy days. I just know that when we slowly start trusting that there blessings, valuable gifts, in each drop of rain, everything will start to change!
(Image above by Brocken Inaglory)