Is it intuition or self talk?


Recently someone asked me, “How do I know if the information I am getting is coming from my intuition or from my own self talk?” This is a very good question, and one that everyone who is serious about being intuitive needs to ask on occasion. It is a challenge to be intuitive about yourself and most of us find that it is far easier to give someone else a psychic reading than to give ourselves good intuitive advice.

Why? Because our own hopes, dreams, worries and fears tend to get in the way of our hearing our inner psychic, at least when we are asking for information for ourselves. Many people solve this dilemma, at least in part, by consulting with other psychics. But, we also want and need to use our intuition to make our own lives better. So, it is necessary, I think, to be able to distinguish the voice of our inner self talk and the quiet voice of our intuitive wisdom.

I attended a talk once where the speaker said that our unconscious mind was unable to hear the word “Not.” Her point was that when we make affirmations such as, “I do not want to be fat,” our unconscious mind only hears, “I am fat.” I don’t know if this is true or not, but, upon reflection, I realized that my intuition almost never uses the word “not.”

I will hear, for example, “take this route to work” rather than “do not take your usual route,” or, “make this telephone call” rather than, “do not call this person.” My “tips for better living” mind, on the other hand, is always telling me what not to do. Thus, when I hear advice about what not to do, I am generally certain it is coming from the part of me that is fearful about something, rather than my intuition.

Another way I differentiate between intuition and self talk is that intuition speaks without emotion. It often “hits” out of the blue with no relationship to what I am doing or even thinking about. It comes as an emotionless statement in my mind, or a mental picture or even a physical sensation. Seldom, though, does it carry a strong emotional charge with it. Even when I see, in my mind’s eye, something that would normally frighten me, I am able to view it intuitively as if I am watching a movie that doesn’t involve me.

My inner voice, though, seems to thrive on emotion. When I think about something and ruminate on it, I tend to feel a lot of emotions. Whether the emotion I feel is excitement, joy, fear or worry is irrelevant. Feeling that type of emotion, along with a thought, is a clue to me that the thought is not an intuitive message.

Another clue is that intuitive information tends to come without any value judgment attached to it. My intuition gives me messages without any sense of “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong.” Sometimes, after getting this information, my conscious mind jumps in, placing judgment on what I have received. But, the actual vision or words or feelings never carry a sense of rightness or wrongness. That is because intuitive information is valueless. It is never right or wrong…good or bad. It simply is.

Not long ago I got an email from someone who had heard me giving intuitive insights to audience members. Her email said, “How do you differentiate between common sense and intuition? When I listened to your intuitive messages, I thought, “This is just common-sense advice.”

She made a very good point. As I pondered that I thought, “Where does common sense come from?” We talk about “common sense” as if it is something we can define and understand, but what is it, exactly? I laughed to myself when I realized that common sense is just another way to describe intuition. It is that wiser part of ourself that “just knows things.”

How do you tell what is intuition and what is self talk? I would love to hear from you. Let’s continue this discussion on the Soul of the Cities website. Leave your comments at the end of this column online.

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  1. Hi Kathryn,

    I’m currently doing a 30-day trial of living on inspiration and listening to intuition. I’m more of a thinker, so I’ve been looking for ways to tune in more. What you say here goes against some of the other stuff I’ve read, which says intuition is a feeling, go with your gut feeling and all that.

    Is there a difference in these two types of intuition (gut feeling and psychic)?

    If so, as I’m not psychic (as far as I’m aware!), do you have any advice on tuning into gut feelings and intuitions?

    I guess part of this is being sensitive to the things you’re acting on and trying to connect the result to the message, so you can learn to find the fight ‘voice’ to listen to.

  2. What a wonderful comment, Warren. I think the issue is that the word “feeling” has so many meanings in the English language. We use the word to describe emotions, physical reactions and also thoughts. (ie..I have a feeling…) So, when people say that intuition is a “feeling” that still doesn’t tell us much. Intuition can show itself in all these ways (as an emotion or a physical response or as a thought) and everyone has different ways that intuition speaks to them. Normally, though, intuition comes quickly and without being prompted by our emotions. I hope that helped. And, I am certain that you ARE psychic but perhaps just have not fully developed it yet.
    Thanks! Kathryn

  3. Wow, just checking out some articles on the site and had to comment here too. Warren I too am/was what you’d call a thinker and my journey back to “remembering” was a little confusing because of that. I had to comment here because I think (in the computer/digital age we’re in) this is a very common thing for some of us – not to mention our educational systems drive us toward using our heads entirely and almost completely deny the body’s part in life.

    I’ve spent the last few years “getting back into my body” which revealed a tremendous amount. I was shocked by how much of life I wasn’t seeing simply because I was viewing it entirely through the mind. While that may sound just as vague – I mean, what does that really mean to get back into your body? 🙂 But quite literally that is what happened and then these questions about what does intuition “feel” like or how does “feeling” reveal the wisdom in things… all of that becomes much clearer.

    My journey over the last few years has been priceless in this respect and I deeply believe that it’s important for all of us to remember we are “in” bodies for a reason. These bodies provide half of the secret to life, the other half (metaphorically speaking) being “us”, the soul that “embodies”. Anyway, for some of us, we live through the mind and need to rejoin the body and the wisdom and ways it brings to our experience, here, in its realm, on the Earth. Then we start to see and feel the whole experience. Fantastic!

    I love this topic. And thanks as always to Kathryn for always opening doors for people to find their way…. proof you don’t have to move mountains to change the world.

  4. The problem most people have is making time in their busy schedules to spend quiet time listening to themselves. It is hard to hear you self-talk if you have an ipod in your ear or are talking on a cell phone all day long.

  5. My experience with intuition is very much like what Kathryn discribed. Here’s an example: I had planned a trip to Mpls over the Thanksgiving holiday. I live in the woods of northern WI, so it’s about a 2 hour drive to my destination. This may not be a big deal to most people, but due to lack of a dependable car and working at home, I seldom drive more than to one of the local villages once a week. So this journy and 4 day stay at my Daughters new home was a major event, involveing setting things up for my cat, driveing a recently aquired better car, packing, and loading things they wanted me to bring. First I intended [as always] a safe and pleasent journey, among other more spacific things. Then as the departure date came closer I starting listening very close to any inner impulses . There was a nasty storm predicted to move into the area, but I felt good about leaving about 9:00 wednsday morning. But the day before, my daughter, who tends to worry a lot, wanted me to come down tuesday while the weather was still clear.I considered this, but knew it ment cancelling an apt. leaveing some things undone, and it wasn’t as good a feeling as going the next morning, but I sucombed to my daughters fretful energy and decided to leave late tuesday, even though it ment driving after dark. Well, I made it just fine, but the drive was more stressfull than it would have been because of the oncoming headlights which I am totally unaccustomed to. Of course, the ‘nasty storm’ didn’t amount to much and we were all glad for that. My belief is that out intuition is linked to our energetic sonar and radar pheromone system that is tied into our nervous system, via our bodies electrical system. This is our bodys way of keeping its self informed of what’s going on around itself, as well as far away as it taps into connections with others. People who are overly mental think staying positive keeps them safe. I think making the intention to be safe gives your body the freedom to stay safe by tweaking plans when it’s needed. But the mind has to allow input that seems very casual, and we never know how many mishaps we avoided by leaveing a minute or two later or earlyer.

  6. I would add that for me intuition (or information from guides) is usually succinct, or an image, and oftentimes funny. One night I was prepping dinner and feeling crabby about family members who I thought didn’t initiate much in our family, and I “heard”: Ask not what your family can do for you … (with the implied, “… ask what you can do for your family.”) I just had to laugh as the obvious was pointed out to me 🙂

  7. What you shared deeply resonates with my experience and helps me better identify the difference between the two. Thank you for the article, it’s very supportive.


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