On the Purpose of Intuition

On the purpose of intuition by Em Capito, LCSWWhat is the purpose of those gut feelings and synchronous moments we call intuition?

As children, dependent on external love for our survival, we developed creative tactics.

I was a hero child in my family. I performed beyond expectations to earn love and avoid pain.

Others instead become forgotten children who quietly disappear, mascots who use humor to find acceptance and diffuse conflict, or rebel scapegoats, drawing all the negative attention.

Obviously, love and happiness aren’t actually obtained through control, self-sacrifice, jokes or rejection, even if these strategies worked really well for us at one time.

It becomes maddening when we repeat the same cycle of relationship struggles over and over again as we and our partners return to these old defaults in moments of vulnerability. Instead of tender connection, we create distance through our fear-based reactions.

It took years of learning the hard way that controlling the external world is impossible and any attempt at such resulted in disappointment.

In place of that immature belief, I chose instead to trust my intuition and allow the rest of the world outside of me to unfold. This was less a choice and more an acceptance of reality: the only control I ever had was my own thinking, beliefs and actions.

Over the years of noticing and embracing those intuitive signposts, whether in the form of synchronous moments or gut feelings, I experienced liberation from that fruitless need for control over what was happening to me, choosing to see circumstances as happening for me instead.

Then, my intuition guided me clearly into tragedy, and I felt hopelessly lost.

If intuition is not there to prevent painful mistakes, what is it for?

I was confusing intuition with yet another protective strategy.

I had tuned into a deep awareness of my gut feelings, believing that my internal compass would save me from these pains of living.

But if I believe that intuition is guiding me on the path I need to take, then intuition cannot protect me from the growth I need.

Growth is born out of discomfort; significant growth out of pain.

Intuition guides me to the medicine I need, not the medicine I want.

I have walked right into many difficult challenges and kicked myself in the midst, but after I dust myself off, I cannot regret any of those decisions.

Every choice, every experience, and especially every painful consequence has carved me into the person I am becoming.

I am grateful for the carving, as awful as it can be in the process.

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