One concept that I loved teaching when I used to teach self-defense many years ago was the “uh oh” feeling. We all know the feeling when something doesn’t feel quite right and our intuition says “uh oh.” When teaching self-defense we always taught that this intuitive reaction is our wise, inner voice that is doing its best to make us aware of potential danger. One’s intuition is sometimes called our “sixth sense” and is comprised of a mysterious combination of subtle cues that our unconscious mind picks up mixed with our memories and experience. Our intuition gives us the gift of information that our conscious, logical mind has not comprehended yet. By listening to our intuition we can avoid potential danger sooner than if we wait until our conscious mind and our other five senses get on board. When a woman in one of my self-defense classes narrowly escaped being attacked in a park, I asked her what had helped her. She said that she saw the man, felt an “uh-oh,” and started running away before she could even think. He was still able to grab her, but she had run to the edge of a clearing and people were able to see her when she started to scream, so the man released her. She feels deeply that if she hadn’t started to run when she did that the man could have silenced her in secluded location, which may not have had a happy ending.

Despite the potential value of listening to our intuition, many of us get used to talking ourselves out of it for one reason or another. We might not understand why we are feeling something, so we talk ourselves into ignoring it. We might fear that honoring our intuition will make us act in a rude way, so we ignore it in order to be polite or to please someone. We might ignore our intuition by telling ourselves that we are making a big deal out of nothing. And sometimes we confuse our intuition with anxiety and we push it aside. But our intuition always has our best interest at heart, unlike anxiety. And our intuition will often persist like a tapping on our shoulder, giving us direction if we’ll only listen to it.

I believe that it is an incredible gift of self-love to listen to our intuition. So if I’m walking down the street and I feel an “uh-oh,” my job is to get to safety. If I’m interacting with someone and I feel an “uh-oh,” my job is to separate myself from that person. Anywhere that I find myself that triggers an “uh-oh” feeling, my job is to honor that feeling and to change course and do what it tells me to do. In working with people to connect with their intuition, I have encountered countless examples where listening to their intuition helped them avoid potential danger. I worked with a woman who was dating someone whose life story didn’t make sense to her. She broke off the relationship and later found out that he had been lying to her in countless nefarious ways. I worked with a man who left a job because he felt like something was “off” in how the company was running. By the time the company went bankrupt he was already working for another stable company in a job that he liked better than his prior job. I worked with a client who pulled out of a real estate transaction at the last moment because she felt that the seller was lying to her. She later discovered that her suspicions were accurate and the house she almost bought would have been a money pit. I worked with a man who left a club because he was overcome by a bad feeling. Soon after he left a violent event happened that left several bystanders hurt. None of these people knew for sure that their intuition was telling them the truth, but they had been working on listening to their inner voice more carefully and their taking action based on what it said saved them from a lot of emotional, physical, and financial pain. There are so many stories where listening to the “hunch” or the “uh-oh” averted negative consequences. Our intuition can lead us away from disaster when we listen.

Our intuition can also give us positive feelings that point us towards something or someone. Although we didn’t teach this in self-defense classes, I think it’s important to acknowledge that our intuition can nudge us with good feelings, too. When someone is trying to make a decision I sometimes ask them to close their eyes and walk through each potential option in their mind, paying attention to what they feel in their body. Does one option make them feel warmer or leave them with a more open or excited feeling? My vote is to always move towards the option that opens our hearts, gives us goosebumps, or causes us to well up with tears. I see all of these body responses as ways that our intuition says, “yes” to us.

As was stated above, our intuition gives us the gift of information that our conscious, logical mind has not comprehended yet. By listening to our intuition we can move away from that which doesn’t fit us and we can move towards that which does. I like to think about listening to our intuition as tuning into our own personal inner compass. If we listen closely we can fine-tune our lives and live a life that we enjoy more and more as time goes on. May we all tap into the wisdom of our intuitions today and always. And if you find yourself stuck and trying to figure out what your intuition is telling you, consider scheduling an appointment with me. Having another perspective can sometimes clarify even the most confusing of situations.