What do you think of when you hear the phrase “woman’s intuition?” Do you think of Phoebe Buffay contemplating that her cat might be her mother, or Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls using her breasts to predict the weather? While these depictions of women’s intuition are meant for laughs, that doesn’t mean the concept of women’s intuition is bogus. Intuition is a feeling that that genuinely exists, not just in women, but in all human beings. Humans are thought to possess an innate sense of instinct, similar to what an animal would possess when acting on their “fight or flight” response. Since we are products of evolution, we too possess an instinct, or as some like to call it, a gut feeling—that also alerts us to situations that are for instance, unsafe. If you’re walking home one day and find someone following you, and for some reason you feel this sudden urge to step into the nearest convenience store and call a cab, likely this is your instinct speaking to you and you should listen to that feeling. In this case, intuition is no laughing matter, and can be the one thing that keeps you safe!
Women’s intuition comes from the belief that women are more attuned to their instincts than men are. While there are scientists who discredit this idea, some current research does suggest that we have the ability to “sense” what a person is thinking or feeling based on how we feel speaking to that person. This may sound like “psychic mind-reading,” but the more logical explanation is heightened observational skills compared to men. One current theory is that the lack of social power women have possessed throughout history may have led to our powers of observation: “women, who have been historically lower in social power, spend more time observing and scrutinizing those in power (i.e., men, and powerful women), and become more attuned to their nonverbal cues.” Other research suggests that our female brains are hard-wired to apply our gut instincts to our thinking, due to evidence that the female brain may be more highly “optimized for combining analytical and intuitive thinking” compared to the male brain.
However, depending on how much time you spend listening to your intuition, and how much faith you have placed over the years in your gut instincts, you might still feel like your intuition is muffled and that you have no idea of how to access it. Following the three steps below might help you in your efforts to become more attuned to that quiet voice so that it speaks to you more clearly when you need it to.
Set Aside Some “Me” Time. And By “Me” Time, We Mean “Meditation Time…”
Take some time every day to stop and clear your mind of the day’s thoughts. Just breathe in and out and try to relax. Put on some soothing music and feel as comfortable as you can, either by taking a warm bath first or reading an enjoyable book. Step away from and turn-off all noisy electronics such as your phone and laptop. Once you have done so, if there is a particular situation that is troubling you, try to think about it when you are most relaxed and honestly ask yourself what you really believe. Affirm to yourself that there is nothing more important to you than the truth, and that you are strong enough to accept it. Remind yourself that you are empowered by knowledge and that you possess this knowledge within you.
Or take a gamble!
Conversely, if you are the type of person that seems to get more confused the more you think about something, then ask yourself very quickly what you believe to be true about a situation. Don’t let yourself over-analyze if you are someone that is prone to doing so. A good experiment with your intuition is to take a gamble and ask yourself if you could bet on your interpretation of a situation, would you really do so? Take for instance the following situation: you have been experiencing this nagging feeling that your boyfriend is cheating on you based on his behaviour and a feeling like the chemistry between the two of you is “off,” but have been telling yourself to ignore that feeling because you don’t have any concrete proof to justify your feelings. Ask yourself if you would bet on the idea that you were simply misreading the situation. Chances are you would feel uncomfortable doing so, because when asked to make a quick decision, people are far more likely to go with “what feels right.”
Weigh Feelings and Actions Equally
Often times when we’re confused about how a man feels about us, we resort to researching the topic on the internet or ask close friends what the “signs” are of his interest (or lack thereof). Consulting a list of “signs a man likes you” is helpful because there are certain patterns in behaviour that seem to be consistent among men. However, even if the guy in question does not interact with you in every way specified in that list, don’t discount the value of your own feelings. If you consistently feel drawn to someone and believe that the feeling is mutual, then chances are you could be right. After all, you might simply be basing what you believe to be an illogical feeling on past experiences. As one researcher argues: ''intuitive feelings are based on past experiences we cannot immediately recall.” Instead of just “imagining things,” you might really be experiencing a sense of dé©jé vu because you’ve been through this situation before, even if you don’t remember all the details.
It is important to remember though that intuition can often be confused with wishful thinking or conversely, fear. However, as difficult as it may be to distinguish between these three feelings, remember that if you are lying to yourself about a situation, or conversely, telling yourself what you want to hear, you will never feel truly confident and calm in your beliefs. That deep sense of “knowing” the truth and confidence in your conclusions, even when you don’t have all the proof you wish you had, is a feeling that only your intuition can give you.