I think it’s safe to say that everyone knows what it’s like to have a gut feeling about something. But have you ever thought about where it comes from? How do we just know something? Is it instinctual? Is it something we’ve previously learned that we have just mostly blocked from memory? Or is it something else?
I consider myself an intuitive person. And if you want to know me at all, you should know that my intuition is an essential part of who I am and how I live my life.
To help me explain, in the Myers-Briggs type indicator (also known as MBTI), I’m an INFJ. That means that I’m an introverted (I) intuitive (N) feeling (F) judger (J).
I can write more about the MBTI in the future, but here’s all you need to know for this post:
1. There are 8 cognitive functions, and everyone uses all 8 of them, but the 4 that you favor are the functions that make up the letters of your type.
2. Each personality type has a pattern for what order they’re most likely to use the cognitive functions in. Your primary function is the one that you use first in most situations.
3. My type’s primary function is introverted intuition (Ni). Basically, that means that I listen to my gut a lot. I internally assess the situation according to what my intuition tells me before I make any moves or talk to anyone about it.
What does this introverted intuition look like in real life?
For me, it means that sometimes I’ll just be sure of what to do in a situation. My type is often colloquially referred to as the “fortune teller” because one of our strengths is being able to see a number of possible outcomes for a situation and to use these intuited outcomes to help us decide what to do. I like to think I’m like Doctor Strange in Infinity War when he sits and scans through every possible timeline to find the best scenario.
What Intuition Has Done for Me
In every aspect of my life, intuition influences my decisions. Intuitives like patterns. We live in patterns. We remember how something went in a certain situation, and we apply that knowledge to imagine what will happen in the future. We are all about reading between the lines and finding the big picture through abstract thinking. Here are some examples of what I’ve learned from my intuition in different parts of my life.
In My Life
My intuition is often a compass for me. That’s not to say that every life decision I’ve made has been the right one. But I attribute some of my biggest mistakes to decisions that ignored my intuition. My biggest lesson was when I learned that facing fear and ignoring my intuition are two different things.
When I was a student, I lived in a mindset that constantly pitted me against my gut feelings. I pursued opportunities to impress people that wound up being some of my unhealthiest decisions because of their effects on my mental health. But I did them because I wanted to do it afraid. All I have to say is, trust yourself. You know when you’re just being fearful and you know when something is truly wrong. Don’t ignore that.
In My Marriage
Photo by Jordan Harper
Intuition is a key player in my relationships. To be honest, I prize my intuition so much because I think it helps me to truly grow close to people. That has been so true in my relationship with Jake. Especially when we were first getting to know each other, it helped me notice things about him and learn about what makes him tick. And then I fell in love with his unique ticking.
Plus, it is a great help when I envision the future of our life together. I’m always doing my Doctor Strange thing, and then I get to share all those ideas about possible timelines with him.
In working environments, I’ve found that my intuition can help me smooth over tense situations. If I can suss out a few possibilities for how one of my coworkers will act, I can be prepared for those scenarios and I may be able to diffuse the situation more easily.
And since I’m an editor in real life, my intuition has been advantageous for pruning content and determining what research is best to include in a particular piece.
How You Can Hone Your Intuition
Even if intuition is not a function that you favor, you can still be deliberate about practicing it. If you want to develop your intuition more, here’s what I would suggest:
Think about things in patterns. Try to find common threads between situations and analyze why they’re connected in that way. For instance, if someone was made upset by two separate situations, do you think there could be an underlying commonality? When you start learning to make connections, those connections can eventually fuel your intuition.
Practice listening before you speak. We know that listening is a necessity for social success, but when was the last time you sat in a group of people and just listened to what they were saying? Take what you hear and see and try to decipher how each person is feeling, why they’re saying what they’re saying.
Think about your future and your past. Intuitives are inherently forward- and backward-thinking. We learn from the past (and present) to determine the future. What can past situations tell you about what may happen if you make a future decision?
Get ready to process a lot. Intuitives pour over information all the time. Most of the time, it’s second nature and probably happens instantaneously. For me, it’s like there is a map of arrows connecting situations in my brain, and I just have to look for the right connection when I’m interpreting a situation.
I’m no personality expert, but I know that intuition is a part of who I am. It’s a sense that makes me feel different than other people sometimes, but it can also make me feel kind of—magical.
Are any of you readers intuitives? I’d love to hear about how intuition has impacted your life!