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Ever have that feeling about something and just know it’s not right for you—even though there’s no evidence that says you should be wary?
That feeling that just pops up and lets you know about things is often called a gut feeling, but it’s actually your intuition guiding you to the truth.
However, we don’t always listen to our intuition. You may feel that you should go left, but stubbornly decide to go right (and get lost in the process). There are signs you’re ignoring your intuition, and when you watch out for these signs, you can help avert disaster and that “I should’ve done differently” feeling.
Missing the signs warning you that you’re ignoring your intuition can cause you to want to kick your own butt for being absent-minded. You could end up falling into a trap you could have avoided if you had listened to your intuition.
So, here’s everything you need to know about intuition and the signs that you aren’t listening to what your gut tells you.
What Is Intuition?
Intuition is when you learn something or know it without having to reason and without any facts to support what you know. The inner feeling that guides you toward which course of action is right or wrong is your intuition at work.
Effectively, intuition is when you judge good from bad based on what you experience in your environment. Your intuition is informed by information you know, but it’s mostly based on a million different environmental cues that tell your intuition what to do.
Are We Born With Intuition?
Intuition isn’t something we are taught. We are born with a sense of intuition, and the more we use it, the more we learn about our world and we develop that instinctive sense about our world.
The theory is that intuition is a primitive instinct that we retain from our primitive origins, but over time, as we are taught to think logically and ignore the voice of intuition, we dull our senses about the world.
An example of this is sad, but it often happens:
Your young child meets a distant family member or someone from your work for the first time. Instead of hugging the person, your child pulls away and cries. Some parents are so overcome with their child being “rude,” they may tell their child to greet the person, ignoring their child’s intuitive reaction.
Later, your child’s reaction becomes clear when you see how that person is with their own children, or (in a worst case scenario) that person turns out to be a child molester or aggressive person.
Your child’s instinct was to stay away from that person. While there were no obvious outward signs that informed your child to be wary of this person, their inborn intuition warned them.
The Importance of That Gut Feeling
Your intuition is there to warn you. It’s designed to keep you safe. Perhaps, during your caveman days, you would use intuition to tell you whether you could safely cross a river or if there was a predator in the area.
Today, your intuition serves the same function. Except, like the human brain, it’s evolved so much that it can help you close business deals, decide who to become friends with, what partner to choose, and whether you should quit your job or not.
With a well-honed intuition, you can cut down on your decision-making response time, which can make the difference between life and death and even success and failure in your career, partnerships, and life.
Living a life in line with your intuition can help you stay safe, make better decisions (or avoid decision fatigue), and suffer less stress.
That gut feeling can help save your life by telling you to rather take the bus than get into the dark car of the Uber driver who gives you the creeps. When you don’t listen to your intuition and ignore the signs it’s giving you, it’s quite possible you may invite disaster into your life.
13 Important Signs you’re Ignoring Your Intuition
When you ignore your intuition, there are signs warning you that you are running into the world without your primary guidance to help keep you safe.
You may already suspect that you’ve switched off your intuition or perhaps you’ve had your intuition trained out of you by the world of logic.
Whichever of these caused it, your intuition will fight back with subtle signs that you need to start listening to it NOW.
1. Life Is Out of Whack
When you don’t listen to intuition’s voice, you may find your life seems to have fallen off the rails a bit. Instead of feeling at peace with the world or that you’re making steady progress, you feel as if you’re trying to run the race with two left shoes on your feet.
A life that’s out of whack is one where you’re rushing to get from A to B, forgetting that there’s a whole life and experience between points A and B.
With that sense that your life is a mad rush, you experience increased anxiety and a decline in health. You feel as if you can’t breathe, that you’re just trying to catch your own tail instead of making real progress in life.
When intuition is switched off, you no longer have a finer awareness of the world around you or how you are doing in that world. Look for physical signs such as stubbing your toe, hitting a finger in the car door, or constantly walking into the corners of desks and doors.
You are tired, and because of this energy drain, you subconsciously cut off all “non-essentials” and intuition is often the first one to go.
Embrace Your Intuition: Take some time to sit and breathe. Meditation, mindfulness, and just simple breathing can really help release intuition from where you locked it up.
2. You’re So Positive It Hurts
Being positive in life is a good thing, but when it gets taken too far, you end up with a false sense of “optimism” about the world. This fallacious optimism can override your intuition. Grounding yourself is not something you actively do and it’s like you’re blinded to failure of any kind.
Embrace Your Intuition: Take a moment each day to think of things that didn’t go as planned. Could intuition have helped? How can you balance blind positivity with a more grounded approach? Allow yourself to make mistakes. Try using a mantra like “Life is both up and down, and I’m okay with either.”
3. Things Slip by You
A friend was starting to really struggle, and while she’d considered everything, she couldn’t get herself to sleep better at night, which made her grumpy and unproductive at work.
She was planning on seeing a hypnotherapist and going on strong sleeping tablets. While she was an educated person, she ignored the “obvious” cause of her insomnia—she would drink a huge mug of strong coffee right before bed.
In this instance, my friend had switched off her intuition, which meant that she couldn’t look at her own actions and spot where she needed to change. Her intuition had warned her she needed more sleep, but because she wasn’t listening to it in full, she couldn’t see how one simple action was bad for her.
Embrace Your Intuition: When you start noticing you are struggling, ask yourself what obvious solutions you are missing and listen for intuition to guide you.
4. You Aren’t Happy in Your Life
Do you feel like your life isn’t your own, that things have gone wrong, but you just don’t know what those things are (and life didn't go as planned)?
This is a major sign you aren’t listening to your intuition. Your intuition is there to try and guide you to what is good for you, which will make you happy too.
Feeling as if happiness eludes you and as if life is just something you live means you no longer listen to your intuition, and you may just be going through the motions or pretending.
There have been opportunities to change for the better, but you ignored them, not hearing intuition urging you on… which put you on cruise control, and left you on a path you shouldn’t be on. You tell yourself how happy you are and how many things you have to be grateful for, devaluing your own experiences.
Embrace Your Intuition: Listen when you feel an urge to do something frivolous. Suddenly feel the urge to doodle? Maybe you want to learn abseiling? Your intuition is trying to break through and tell you that you need something new and different in your life (and that you should consider some of the other decisions you’ve made that aren’t making you happy).
5. You’re Polite at All Costs
When your societal conditioning has overrun your intuition, you begin to neglect instinct by feeling you need to go against the grain to please the higher powers of your employers and people in positions of power.
How many times have you felt your skin crawl when your boss decides to sit too close to you, but instead of walking away or speaking up, you keep quiet, because you've been conditioned to grin and bear it?
That creeped out feeling is your intuition screaming for acknowledgement. Stop counting your p’s and q’s, listen, and step away from potentially dangerous or questionable situations.
Embrace Your Intuition: Admit your feelings and if you have that cringe instinct, start to pay attention. Your intuition is warning you for good reason. Start listening and encouraging your intuition to share why you are feeling ill at ease. Only then can you start taking constructive action to be safe and in line with your feelings.
6. You Keep Making the Same Mistakes
Making a mistake once is not a problem. We learn through mistakes. However, if you make the same mistakes over and over, it means you’re not listening to your intuition and you’re not learning.
Repeating mistakes without having learned anything is a sure sign your intuition is turned off.
If your primitive caveman ancestor had been bitten on the finger while fishing, they would have learned not to stick their fingers in the water when they pull a fish out. It was important to learn the lesson quickly so that intuition would stop them doing it again and losing more fingers.
Embrace Your Intuition: Stop after each mistake, let yourself analyze what went wrong, and identify the warning signs you missed. Consciously admit you were not listening to your intuition, and when you are in a similar situation, ask yourself, “What is my intuition telling me?”
7. You Play It Safe All the Time
While it’s good to be safe in your decisions, you may become too conservative and not take any risks when you don’t trust your intuition to guide you. Not taking calculated risks will limit your options in life, and this won’t help you go places.
Embrace Your Intuition: Ask yourself in each situation what you want to avoid if there is some gain from the thing you are avoiding. Next, weigh up the risk against the gains. Take some time to reflect and listen for that gut voice. Take care not to listen to fear.
8. You Lack Motivation
Your intuition isn’t just a warning device. It’s also there to help you become interested in things in life. When you don’t listen to intuition, you may find your life has become boring and you feel an overall sense of disinterest in the world.
Embrace Your Intuition: If you feel a lack of motivation or just plain demotivation, it’s time to stimulate your intuition with play. Creativity and playful activities can help spark interest again and get you to start seeing the world around you with fresh eyes.
9. Your Support System Is Oppressive
Your intuition tells you things about people, and sometimes people who used to be supportive have stopped being a positive influence, but you refuse to listen to intuition and see them for who they are now.
A partner may have become unsupportive or they may even try to run you down. Your intuition warns you about this, but if you are staying in a damaging or toxic relationship, you are ignoring the warnings and you will be miserable.
Embrace Your Intuition: We don’t want to think of our friends and supporters in a numbered manner, but you have to find some way to quantify and thereby factually make a decision that supports your intuition.
So, sit with a book and write down the names of all the people in your life. Next to each name, list the ways that person supported and uplifted you in the last month. What they did before doesn’t count anymore, as people change. Add numbers for the ways they help you.
Next, look at the people who scored really low. Don’t listen to your excuses that the person has been busy and they used to be there for you. Really see that person. Often, where they used to support you, they have turned to tearing you down.
Listen to intuition—are those people good for you? No? Spend less time with them and re-evaluate.
10. You Lack Authenticity
Do you ever feel like you’re a fraud? Does your life feel like a fake, like someone else wrote the script and you’re just mouthing the words?
Intuition helps you own your life and take authorship of your actions, which leads to an authentic life. When you feel like a fraud, like you should hide in shame, you can be sure you’re not listening to intuition. Your life is so far off track because you haven’t consulted your gut feeling.
Embrace Your Intuition: Reflect on your diary or day planner over the last three weeks. For each major decision you had to take or event you had to attend, what did you feel before you acted? What was your intuition telling you? How did you feel after those events or decisions? How loudly did you hear your intuition speaking over the three weeks?
Now, create healthy rules for reviving your intuition to follow with each decision and event going forward. Some healthy rules include:
11. Physical Signs of Distress
In scientific terms, it’s called psychosomatic conditions, which is a fancy way of saying that your body sickens because of stress and mental incongruence.
If you suddenly start suffering from indigestion, heartburn, or stomach cramps, it could be a clear sign you aren’t heeding your intuition’s signs.
Your stress levels have escalated, but you’re ignoring it because you aren’t listening to your gut and what it’s telling you about your life. Mouth ulcers, migraine, and exhaustion are also signs that you aren’t living in sync with your gut feelings.
Embrace Your Intuition: Stop, rest, and recuperate. Nothing you do will work if your body is breaking apart. This is a case of first fixing the symptom before you can cure the problem. Once your physical symptoms lessen, start listening to your gut. What does it tell you? If you start experiencing physical symptoms again, you know it’s your intuition warning you.
12. Your Life Is Chaotic with No Pattern
Aside from your life feeling like it’s out of whack, you may realize there are no routines or patterns you can rely on to help you cope with stress. Things seem to hit you harder than they should, and you feel utterly unprepared.
When your intuition is switched off, you stop identifying patterns in life, which means you can’t anticipate when things will blow up or know if they will follow a routine.
Your intuition is primarily a system that analyzes and identifies patterns, such as knowing that when John becomes nice to you at work, it means he wants a favor or is plotting a way to railroad you.
Embrace Your Intuition: Start watching out for patterns. Even stimulating your mind with patterns like playing strategy games like chess and Sudoku can help revitalize your intuitive skills.
13. You Want Outside Approval
When you don’t trust your intuition, you turn to others to approve of your decisions. Instead of you feeling comfortable with your own decision-making process, you wait for others to tell you what a good person you are. You can’t validate yourself since you don’t trust yourself.
Embrace Your Intuition: It’s time to turn inward and invest in your inner being out in nature. Sit quietly, meditate, reflect, journal, and breathe. Allow the mind to come into sync with your intuition or subconscious mind.
Get into the habit of doing a self-check when you have to make decisions, asking your intuition what’s the right pattern to follow and then let go of the decision, no longer waiting for others to validate you.
Final Thoughts on Signs You’re Ignoring Your Intuition
When you discover there are signs you're ignoring your intuition, it’s important to start actively rebuilding your connection to your intuition.
Listening to your intuition in life will serve you well, help you avoid potential disasters, and make better and more informed decisions.
Consciously engaging in a self-check can help you identify when your connection to your intuition grows thin, giving you warning to rebuild it quickly.
For more on mindfulness and creating a better self-relationship, check out our guide on how to become a happier person.
And if you're looking for more articles on self-awareness, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 13 Self-Awareness Examples You See Throughout Life
- 15 Signs Someone Has a Lack of Self-Awareness
- 57 Self-Awareness Quotes to Know Yourself Better