Updated: Feb 13
By Charlotte Pointeaux, founder of Sister Souls Coaching, Women's Life Coach and trained Youth Mentor.
We've probably all talked about having a "gut instinct", or a "hunch" about something before – especially when we're trying to decide which choice to make, which direction to choose...
You know, that feeling you get in your body that tells you whether something feels really good, or if it's making us nervous? The body is very clever - it gives us messages about what we really think is good or bad, right or wrong for us.
This is called Intuition - the inner knowing, it's the body's way of speaking to us, communicating how we really feel about something. How WE really feel... not anyone else. It’s like our inner compass, our Sat Nav, our Google Maps. It’s telling us the way to go, or whether to say “Yes” or “No”. It’s always there inside us, guiding us. Sometimes it’s a whisper and we struggle to hear it, and sometimes it’s SO LOUD we really can’t ignore it even if we try to.
Pleasing other people Vs Pleasing ourselves
Many people listen to their intuition when trying to make wise decisions to stay safe, be kind, and when we just aren’t sure what to do. Also, our intuition can point us to our values, passions, strengths and desires, helping us to follow our dreams. It’s a pretty important tool, but sadly so many of us have been taught to ignore it, to please other people, and to set our own feelings aside.
As women we can still REALLY STRUGGLE with listening in and following our intuition, so it can be really hard to encourage our girls to do the same.
Here's a guide to help you explain to your girl how she can tap into her wisdom within, love herself, and say NO when it matters...
Yes, Your Gut Is Talking To You...
Often other people's opinions, like our friends, parents, teachers or colleagues can influence us. Peer pressure can cloud our understanding of what WE feel, think, like and don't like. We end up thinking or doing what others tell us to instead of following our own gut instinct (our intuition) and doing what feels right for us.
For young people (and often adults too!), peer pressure can mean sometimes we end up getting ourselves into a position that we didn't want to be in, for example, spending time with people who aren’t kind, or who encourage us to do something a bit risky, unsafe. And really, we already know that these things don't make us feel good, don't we, because our bodies are telling us.
So how does our body tell us if something doesn’t feel right? From getting sweaty palms, wobbly tummies, feeling like our throats are closing up so we can't talk, getting the shakes in our bodies... it can feel a bit different for every person, but ultimately our bodies feel all yucky, wobbly, uncomfortable. Have you felt this before?
So how I do listen to my intuition?
The trick is, when we have to make a decision about what to do in any given situation, we need to stop, and listen to our intuition. But how, you ask? By getting quiet, slowing down, and seeing how our bodies feel when we think about the decision we have to make.
#IRL -- Using Intuition To Make The Right Choices
For example, say we have to decide whether we want to be kind or mean to the new girl at school. Some of the others in your friendship group suggested that they don’t think that you can all be friends, and that as a group you shouldn’t go and say hi and make her feel welcome.
Option A or Option B: which feels better?
You’re thinking about what to do – do you:
A) Go along with your friends so as not to cause a scene, or do you;
B) Think about how hard it must be to be the new girl who doesn’t know anyone, and you think she could really use a kind face?
To make this decision, stop what you’re doing, sit down in a quiet spot, close your eyes, take 3 deep slow breaths down into your belly, and think about this choice.
And the decision is....
Thinking about option A, imagine ignoring this girl, not saying hi, seeing her alone...
How does your body feel in response to this? How does your tummy, your muscles, your throat, your heart feel? Good, recognise those feelings in your body...
And now, imagine option B: imagine going up and talking to that girl, saying hello, asking her name and if she’d like to sit with you at lunch…
And now, check your body again. How does it feel now – your tummy, throat, heart, muscles?
Is there a different feeling in your body this time? If so, which option A or B made your body feel better, more comfortable, happier?
That’s your answer. Simples!
This tool can be used to make decisions about:
What you really like doing for fun
What you need right now – to be with friends, go for a walk, or have some quiet restful time at home
Which subjects you should select for school / uni
Should you even go to uni, or pursue TAFE / work experience / travel / something else
Do you think these people really care about you and should you spend time with them?
What is mum / dad/ sibling / friend really asking you for if you’ve had a falling out – how do they feel and what should you do about it
Should you go to the party or not
Etc etc etc!
It’s a lifelong tool that will serve you so powerfully. YOU already have all the answers inside of you. You are already so wise, you know what it right, and what really feels good if you stop, breathe and listen to your body. There’s no need to follow the pack – you don’t need to please other people if it doesn’t feel right inside. Listen to your inner compass, and you won’t ever get lost in life.
And that’s more than we can say for so many people, myself included. The amount of times I’ve reflected later on how I just KNEW it wasn’t right, and I ignored my intuition. Duh!
Practice it now. What are you trying to decide? Create options A and B, sit quietly and breathe, imagine each option coming to life, and really pay attention to HOW your body feels. Is there a difference? You already know what to do…