Understanding Intuition: Defining, Hearing, and Improving Your Inner Knowing

Updated on May 17, 2018
Holley Hyler profile image

Holley Hyler is a freelance writer and has been published in Adelaide, Buck Off Magazine, Rebelle Society, and The Urban Howl.

What Does It Mean to Be Intuitive?

Have you ever just known something without understanding why you knew it? Are you good at hearing the subtext, the things people think or feel but don't say? If so, then you are intuitive. Everyone possesses the gift of intuition and has the potential to be intuitive. How developed this is varies from person to person, and not everyone is intuitive about the same things. For example, you may be able to intuit what another person is feeling before they even speak to you, maybe even before they enter the room, while someone else has an uncanny ability for locating lost objects.

Once you hone your intuition, you can use it for making important decisions.
Once you hone your intuition, you can use it for making important decisions. | Source

I Know I'm Intuitive, but I Don't Know How to Control It

By now, you probably understand that you are intuitive. But your intuition seems to speak at random. You can't consciously direct when this happens, which makes it hard if you want to use your gifts to read for others, or you feel that using your intuition is part of your life purpose. When there is a question that you really want an answer to, all you hear is your inner silence, or worse, you have thoughts but cannot tell if there is any truth to them. Sometimes it is the voice of fear or attachment speaking and not true intuition. Let's explore the difference between thoughts and intuition.

Thoughts vs. Intuition

A thought comes from the logical mind. Thoughts may not be in full sentences, or they may be pictures rather than words, but they usually follow some kind of order. The number of thoughts we have each day makes it difficult to follow that order, but it is there. Maybe you see a child with a red balloon at the park, and it reminds you that your aunt's birthday is coming up soon, but you haven't gotten her a gift yet. You then think of jewelry, which reminds you of jewelry polish and that you have some necklaces you want to clean. Cleaning reminds you of the dirty kitchen awaiting you at home. Thoughts can sometimes bring up more questions than answers, and as you are well aware, they can affect our moods.

Intuition, on the other hand, is more neutral. It comes from the part of your mind that is capable of switching off the questions, obligations, and moods for a little while. When you call your aunt and ask her what she wants for her birthday, and she says nothing, you can tell from her tone of voice that something is off. When you explore that sense of "something is off" more deeply, you understand that she feels sad. Because you know that it will be her first birthday since your uncle passed away, you switch back to thinking as you search for logical answers regarding her sadness. But the knowing that she was sad just came to you.

Intuition is a knowing that goes beyond words and facts. If you ask your aunt if she is feeling okay, and she says she is but changes the subject, you have to take her words at face value, but you still know that she isn't being truthful with you. At times, you will pick up signals from people that they are not ready to discuss, so you also have to be respectful with your gift.

How to Enhance Your Ability

There are many ways you can use to invite your voice of intuition to speak more frequently and pick up clearer signals. Here is a list of things I have tried that have worked for me:

  • Do practice intuitive readings for close friends and family members. Make sure these are people you're comfortable with who will encourage your abilities and give you gentle feedback. If you know a skeptic, don't try to read for them right away. You can read using cards, runes, or just energy.
  • Find an energetic healing modality that speaks to you, and have a few healings done for yourself. Receiving multiple Reiki healings (and later being attuned to Reiki) opened up my ability to channel.
  • Watch what you eat, and make sure you exercise at least a few times per week. How you feel in your body makes a big difference in your ability to channel and hear your intuition, so make sure you do things that make you feel good physically.
  • Read for yourself once in a while. Make sure you read on a topic that doesn't give you a lot of stress, where you don't have so much feeling riding on the answer. Relationship readings for ourselves tend to be hard, because we care so much about our relationships and find it difficult to detach.
  • Listen to a song you're unfamiliar with, and try to guess what the lyrics are about or how the lyricist felt while writing them.
  • When you're at work or in a room full of people, look around and try to guess what they are all feeling. If you've been told you have empathic abilities, this exercise may be easy for you.

Even if there are not concrete ways to prove you were right in some of the above (for instance, you may not be able to ask the lyricist if you got their meaning, and you may not be able to walk up to coworkers and ask how they're really feeling), more frequent use of your gifts will mean you are building that muscle. Soon, you will find yourself doing these things automatically without needing to make much effort at all. And many times, you will indeed be correct, though sometimes it can take a while to receive confirmation of this. Take it as it comes, and try not to allow a time delay to discourage you.

It is easier to be intuitive about situations and people you can fully detach from.
It is easier to be intuitive about situations and people you can fully detach from. | Source

But What If I Am Wrong?

If you decide to do any of the exercises listed above, there will inevitably be moments where you get something wrong. It happens to everyone. Even well-established readers get things wrong. This can happen for any number of reasons, the most common being:

  • The energy of the querent and the reader simply did not connect.
  • The querent had a negative energy or wanted to "test" the reader (i.e. "I am just going to sit here and say nothing, and if they're a true intuitive/psychic, they will be able to get everything right").
  • Someone else's energy interfered or came through in the reading.
  • The reader was actually right, but the querent did not tell the truth, or the reader picked up on some information the querent did not want to discuss.
  • It was just a bad day. We all have days where we feel scattered or nothing seems to go right. If this happens to you, practice self-compassion and don't push yourself. Take a break or the entire day off from reading people.

Give It Time

Perhaps the most important factor in my gifts developing more was the time I allowed them to grow. I became more conscious of my intuitive, empathic ability in 2014, and it has been four years since I have been practicing with my inner guidance system. It is important to surround yourself with encouraging influences, people who will help you expand your ability. You may encounter people who believe in intuition but have an ego block and feel jealous of others' gifts. You may encounter people who are fearful of your gifts or feel that it goes against their religion to be able to sense things or divine the future. It is important to be tolerant and respectful, even when other people do not seem tolerant of your beliefs. Over time, you can lead by your example, and perhaps even people who were once skeptical or fearful will turn to you for guidance. I have seen miracles happen since I started out on my extrasensory path!

I hope this has helped you. Feel free to share questions, other ways you have found to exercise your intuitive muscles, or validating experiences in the comments!

Questions & Answers


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      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        16 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Funny but I think of this as awareness. And I place my empathy in front of action. Nothing to exclusion of proper judgment.

        Walk into a bad shop and have to leave as the "vibes" are ugly. They affect me. So some deep breaths and calmness and re-enter the shop. As I teach "the good news is that we are more in tune, the bad news is that we are more in tune".


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