In our culture, we talk a lot about women’s intuition. A number of my clients have even told me that influential women in their lives encouraged them to always trust their intuition.
Here’s the picture we tend to paint.
Men rely on reason. Their raw logic. Women, on the other hand, are more tuned into subtle clues. They use their intuition to feel their way through difficult situations—with grace and strength, of course.
Personally, I don’t like making those kinds of assumptions based on gender. But the idea that women rely on intuition is pretty strong in our culture.
So much so that Marilyn Monroe once said, “A woman knows by intuition, or instinct, what is best for herself.” While intuition can be good, it’s not completely reliable.
That’s because intuition is a complicated thing.
Your brain is like a really advanced supercomputer. It processes some things way faster than you can articulate them. What we call “intuition” is really just your brain working quickly, and recognizing patterns outside of your conscious awareness.
And more often than not, your intuition is right. But what about the times when it’s wrong?
In a recent study, a group of researchers set out to understand what happens when intuition leads us astray. They found that when intuition is wrong, it only makes things worse.
As one of the researchers explained, “. . . people who strongly trust their gut instincts tend to harshly condemn moral transgressions, and they do not change their point of view even after thinking about the issue.”
In other words, if you put a lot of faith in your intuition, it can make you close-minded. When you’re wrong, you won’t be likely to see it. That can really mess with a relationship.
So what do you do? If intuition is almost always right, you don’t want to ignore it. But you don’t want to trust it completely, either.
The key is finding the right balance. Follow three simple guidelines to get the biggest romantic boost out of your intuition . . . without getting bit in the behind.
Pay attention to your intuition.
First, pay attention to your intuition. Like we covered earlier, intuition is your brain working at high-speed. It’s right more often than it’s wrong!
That guy who seems like he’s nothing but trouble, even though you can’t say why? He probably is. And the other guy who with no sense of style in clothing who you have a good feeling about? He might be worth getting to know.
Intuition CAN serve you. Don’t ignore it. Instead, tune into it.
Don’t trust your intuition absolutely.
At the same time—your intuition is NOT flawless.
There will be times when your gut is wrong. Not a little wrong. Totally wrong. You’ll give a guy a chance when you should have walked. You may let someone decent slip away.
You’re not clairvoyant.
What’s more, if you trust your intuition completely, you won’t realize you’re wrong when you are. That means you’ll keep on making the same mistakes instead of developing and refining your intuition.
Cultivate a healthy respect for intuition without ever thinking of it as a sure thing.
Keep your thoughts fluid.
Here’s that balance I mentioned before. Instead of locking into an intuition-based opinion about a guy (or anything else), try to keep your thoughts fluid.
Think of it like this.
You know what size you wear. Most of the time you can order stuff online and it fits. But there are sites where the sizes are way off. So when you order online, you always check the return policy . . . because you can’t be 100% sure THIS STORE is one you can count on.
That’s how it is with intuition.
Most of the time, your gut is right. But you need a little bit of doubt in the mix. Not enough to keep you from acting, but enough to make sure you stay open-minded.
This lets you learn from mistakes. And that enhances your pattern recognition ability (the basis of intuitive insight).
Intuition is powerful. So use it. And keep developing it over time by remaining curious about the occasions when you’ve taken a wrong turn.
P.S. If you haven’t already learned to refine your natural intuition for relationships, I strongly urge you to take my short relationship course about using intuition to guide your romantic life.