How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition And Fear?

Tell Difference Between Intuition Fear

There are times in life when we get a negative gut feeling about something only to discover afterward that it probably isn’t so bad. So, how can we trust our instincts if they often mislead us? Here’s how to recognize the difference between intuition and fear to transform life for the better.

In Emotional Freedom my approach to transforming fear has two stages. First, take stock of what makes you afraid and distinguish irrational fears from legitimate intuitions. Second, take appropriate steps to heed protective fears and transform the others with courage.

At times you may foresee real danger, but more frequently unproductive fears clobber you. Therefore as a general rule, train yourself to question fears tied to low self-esteem; we’re all worthy of what’s extraordinary. For example, it’s right to question the fear that you’re too emotionally damaged to love; even the severely wounded can have their hearts opened again.

True intuitions will never put you down or support destructive attitudes or behavior. Here are some guidelines for distinguishing legitimate fears from irrational ones:

How To Tell Fear From Intuition

Tell Difference Between Intuition Fear info

Signs Of A Reliable Intuition

Difference Between Intuition And Fear
  • Conveys information neutrally, unemotionally
  • Feels right in your gut
  • Has a compassionate, affirming tone
  • Gives crisp, clear impressions that are “seen” first, then felt
  • Conveys a detached sensation, like you’re in a theater watching a movie

Signs Of Irrational Fear

  • Is highly emotionally charged
  • Has cruel, demeaning, or delusional content
  • Conveys no gut-centered confirmation or on-target feeling
  • Reflects past psychological wounds
  • Diminishes centeredness and perspective

The Difference Between Intuition And Fear

For comparison’s sake, I’ll share radically different examples of how I use the above criteria. One morning I got two calls from frightened patients who both claimed to be hearing voices. Truly a typical day in my office! The first came from Bill, a schizophrenic who’d been skimping on his meds.

Bill’s inner “voice” kept haranguing him, insisting he was a bad person, that his food was poisoned, that his son was being raped again by the grandmotherly babysitter. Believing these “delusions” (false beliefs unsubstantiated by fact), he was absolutely unhinged. So Bill kept calling the cops, who sent a squad car out twice, but found no threat. Tolerant but tiring of this, the officers warned that if he contacted them again, they’d haul him off to a psychiatric hospital.

My other patient, Jean, had been coping with despair about her brother suffering from end-stage AIDS. Jean’s inner “voice” said to immediately fly to New York to join him, though he’d recently been stable. True of authentic intuitions, it came through clear-as-a-bell, oddly matter-of-fact and followed the typical progression of being “seen first,” then felt.

Both patients asked me, “What should I do?’ I urged Bill to take his meds and offered reassurance about his safety, a tack that had lessened his fear many times in our decade of working together. Jean, however, I supported in buying a plane ticket because her intuition felt so imminent, so right. Fortunately, she did, despite the expense and inconvenience to her job.

Related: 5 Signs Your Anxiety Hijacked Your Intuition (And How To Get It Back)

That week her brother took a sudden turn for the worse, slipped into a coma and died within hours. Heart-breaking as witnessing his death was for Jean, she was able to be at her brother’s side in those precious last moments.

Try to separate unhealthy fears from intuition. Though Bill’s case was extreme, you may also have some fears that belittle you or cause you to misinterpret danger. Perhaps in a fit of anger your ex-wife called you “useless” and you believed it. This is not intuition. Nor is being frightened of having cancer whenever a brown spot appears on your skin. Also, be skeptical of long-standing fears, say of heights; these are typically not premonitions.

If you’re en emotional empath, it can be especially tricky to ascertain which fears are authentic, helpful intuitions. Because you tend to absorb other people’s emotions, you may pick up their fear and think it’s your own. To avoid this, always ask yourself, “Is the fear mine or someone else’s?”

One dependable way to find out is to distance yourself from the source. Move at least twenty feet away. If you experience relief, it’s likely you’re perceiving another’s fear. Although it’s fine to absorb courage and all positive emotions from others because they’ll strengthen you, you don’t want to absorb negativity. Move away, and keep releasing extraneous fear by exhaling it until the feeling passes.

While some apprehensions may be empathically linked to another’s feelings or, like Jean’s, are distinct intuitive warnings, the more garden variety ones reflect ingrained negative psychological patterns. To resolve these, you must know where they come from and do what’s necessary to loosen their hold.

Related: How Do We Turn Our Worry Into A Superpower: 3 Tips

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)

If you want to learn more about how to transform fear to courage, here’s a video to help you through it.

If you want to add more meaning to the difference between intuition and fear, drop your thoughts in the comments below!


Written By: Judith Orloff. M. D.
Originally Appeared On: Dr. Judith Orloff
Republished with permission
Tell Difference Between Intuition Fear pin
Ads

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Up Next

8 Powerful Phrases To Shut Down Gaslighting With Confidence

Powerful Phrases To Shut Down Gaslighting With Confidence

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you felt like everything you are saying or feeling is being dismissed and invalidated, even though you know you’re right? If you answered yes, then you were subjected to gaslighting. If you have experienced this, then remember these 8 phrases to shut down gaslighting like a boss.

When someone makes you question your reality, it can feel extremely frustrating and depressing. We’ve all been there at some point. These little digs can make you feel like you’re on thin ice, be it from a friend, family member or that one co-worker.

But hey, you’ve come to the



Up Next

How Deindividuation In Psychology Turns Individuals Into Mindless Followers

Terrifying Examples of Deindividuation in Psychology

Have you ever wondered why certain individuals often act differently when they are in a crowd or a group? Why does their behavior change suddenly? Why do they lose their  sense of individuality? This phenomenon is known as deindividuation in psychology.

This psychological phenomenon plays a crucial role in shaping human behavior in social contexts. So, let us explore what is deindividuation, examples of deindividuation, what causes deindividuation and how we can overcome it.

What is Deindividuation?

Deindividuation is a psychological concept that refers to the loss of self-awareness



Up Next

7 Toxic Beliefs Normalized By Society : Time to Challenge the Norms!

Toxic Beliefs Normalized By Society: Rethinking Norms

We have grown up in a society where lots of harmful beliefs have been considered normal for centuries. It’s 2024 now, and even though society has changed in ways, there are still many things that are wrong with it. Even today, there’re so many toxic beliefs normalized by society, and it can feel frustrating to say the least.

These harmful beliefs considered normal by society can greatly shape your thoughts, actions, and connections without you even realizing it. Let’s explore 7 of the most toxic beliefs normalized by society, and how normalization of toxic behavior can be extremely dangerous for us.



Up Next

Empath or Enabler? Truths About Toxic Empathy And 5 Ways To Break Free

How Toxic Empathy Is Ruining Your Life and What You Can Do

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be overly sensitive and emotionally drained by the problems of others? Can too much empathy be harmful? Is there such a thing as toxic empathy?

While empathy is considered a valuable trait that promotes understanding and compassion, there is a lesser-known phenomenon called toxic empathy that can have detrimental effects on both the empath and those around them. 

Today, let us explore what is toxic empathy disorder, what causes toxic empathy, can too much empathy be a bad thing, and learn strategies to deal with it.

What is Toxic Empathy?



Up Next

Do You Get Offended Easily? 5 Reasons Why And How To Deal With This

Do You Get Offended Easily? Reasons Why You Feel Like This

Are you easily offended and find yourself in a huff over the smallest things? You’re not alone. When you get offended easily, it can be a real struggle, turning minor hiccups into major headaches. But hey, there’s a silver lining—understanding the reasons why you get easily offended & learning how to dial down the drama can make all the difference.

Maybe you don’t get offended easily. If so, kudos!

Or maybe…

You already know you get offended easily (even if it’s just about one specific topic or issue), and it’s something you’re ready to address.

You suspect you’re more



Up Next

8 Under-the-Radar Signs You’re Being The Black Sheep Of The Family

Surprising Habits Of Being The Black Sheep Of The Family

Being the black sheep of the family can be as clear-cut as a polka dot amongst a sea of stripes. It feels like while everyone is a part of a synchronized orchestra, you are marching to your own beat.

It could be anything from your unconventional career choices or vibrant tattoo collection to simply being good at stirring the pot at family reunions, being the black sheep of the family is not all doom and gloom.

Instead, it should be something that you look upon with pride because it shows how unique you really are. All right, let’s explore some of the subtle signs you are being the black sheep of the family.<



Up Next

The Burnt Toast Theory: 5 Lessons To Learn From Unpredictability In Life

What Is The Burnt Toast Theory? Important Lessons To Learn

Did you burn your morning toast this morning? As frustrating as it is, what if I told you that it might have protected you from something worse?The Burnt Toast Theory of Life is a viral idea that has been floating around on TikTok and changes the way we look at life and has us accepting the curveballs of life!

What Is The Burnt Toast Theory of Life?

The “Burnt Toast Theory” is an allegory that is commonly used in self-help and motivational circles.

According to its creator Ingrid, when life hands us lemons (or burnt toast), it could be steering us away from things we don’t need