About an 8 minute read.
We hear a lot about a woman’s intuition and how you should always trust it and how it’s never wrong. It’s such a pervasive phenomenon in American media culture. We’ve all seen a movie or a tv show where the woman can feel that her husband (or fiancé or boyfriend) is cheating but they just can’t prove it. As the plot goes on, the man is being extra sweet bringing his significant other flowers, telling her he loves her, they have amazing sex and everything seems good EXCEPT she still has this gut feeling that something is wrong. She tries to talk it over with her girlfriends who either tell her a) he’s the perfect man for her and she should stop tripping before she ruins a good thing or b) they agree that they should go on some kind of covert mission and bust him so they spend days stalking him and looking through his things.
It seems like since this is frequently portrayed on television that regular (for lack of a better term) women everywhere seem to always have this feeling that their man is also cheating and they must constantly snoop around to make sure he isn’t because they aren’t quite sure that they’re having the gut feeling too or if it’s the Taco Bell they ate before.
So then what is intuition ? Well dictionary.com and websters dictionary say that intuition is ‘the ability to understand something immediately, instinctively without the need for conscious reasoning. Many sources and people I’ve come across have deemed intuition as the sixth sense (not to be confused with the movie where the kid sees dead people).
The late Middle English translation denoted intuition as spiritual insight or immediate spiritual communication (where the seeing of dead people as a 6th sense originated from). However, like many things back in the olden, highly superstitious days, it was spiritually deemed due to the lack of scientific evidence. Because if you can’t explain it, it’s from the devil of course.
Psychology today has 3 separate definitions for what they believe intuition is: “1) Instinct is our innate inclination toward a particular behavior (opposed to a learned response). 2) A gut feeling – or a hunch – is a sensation that appears quickly in consciousness (noticeable enough to be acted on if one chooses to) without us being fully aware of the underlying reasons for its occurrence. 3) Intuition is a process that gives us the ability to know something directly without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and the nonconscious part of our mind, and also between instinct and reason.”
It’s also noted that the deep truths of yourself and the universe are most clearly revealed from intuition upon the moment you’re falling asleep and when you very first rise. Several articles allude to the fact that our dreams and our intuition are, in fact, one in the same. Both are said to stem from our unconscious or subconscious thoughts.
Prior to looking up information on the topic, I had my own theory on what intuition may be. So buckle your seat belts and follow me on this train of thought. Our brains have this enormous capacity to intake information. We see and hear and feel and smell so much more every single day, even hour than we even acknowledge. Compare it to your gmail account. At first, you get all kinds of junk in your inbox. No big deal because since you just started it, there aren’t many emails in general anyway. But as time goes on, you get some important emails that you must tend to, and you delete the ones that are nonsense. Then after a few months, gmail uses an algorithm of sorts and automatically starts filtering certain emails into spam or clutter based on your past behavior. If you’re like me, you check those folders like twice a year and very occasionally you find that something you needed was spammed or cluttered before you even saw it.
The same goes for our mind. When we’re toddlers we remember almost everything because well, there just isn’t much going on that young. Then the older we get, into grade school, we start deciding what information we learn that we need (don’t put forks in sockets or foil in microwaves) and information we don’t need (mom is mad because gas is $4 a gallon and Destiny at school knows all the words to Brenda’s got a baby from Tupac). Then once we’re in like middle school, our brains start automatically filtering info based on our past behaviors. Now we don’t even hear the weird kid in the corner during lunch time talking to himself and when our parents are yelling at us, it’s going in one ear and out the other. Then one day when you’re 25 and you’re sitting with your iPad at the table blogging while your 4 year old is screaming the lyrics to frozen and using the counter and dry erase markers as a drumset you suddenly remember why in 4th grade Ms. Caldwell died laughing when Desiree said orgasm instead of organism in science class.
So all of the information we ignore is still getting processed. It’s just doing so in the background and when the time comes where we need it, it feels as if it comes out of nowhere and we just can’t put our fingers on it.
Psychology today, in another artical on radical remission explains that humans have 2 different operating systems. System 1 is said to be the limbic and reptililian side of the brain. The one that makes us carnal and animalistic. Pure instinct. This is the part of the brain that scientists believe we developed in prehistoric times in order to survive before language developed. (Not my personal belief.) Then there’s system 2, which is slower, but it’s the reasoning, rational part of our brains that we’re exercising on a regular basis. It’s said that 80% of our grey matter is working on system 1.
There has been several medical studies on the subject as well. A famous card study by some guy and a car buying study by some other dude. Both studies, and others, conclude that when people follow their intuition they’re about 60% more satisfied with their decision in the end. The people that take hours on end to reasearch and use logic end up not vey satisfied and feel mediocre and apathetic throughout life. You can read more about these here.
So why is intuition said to be a woman’s thing if it’s really just a brain thing ? In short, because ‘murica. Our society here in the western world teaches that intuition is purely animalistic and cannot be trusted. We are told that people who do things on a whim by using their gut feeling can’t be trusted and that they’re often crazy or it’s just women being naggin women. We’re taught that only logic and reasoning skills are valued and acceptable, especially in the corporate world where there’s so much stake.
In addition, since manly men have no feelings (refer to bender from futurama as the perfect example of acceptable male behavior) basing decisions off a FEELING is very homosexual unfortunately. Intuition is a kin to sensitivity which is paralleled to female behavior. Any man who partakes is immediately feminized.
If you’re a man who is secure and confident with your amount of testerone, or a woman who would like to fine tune their superpower, there’s much information on how to hone into intuition. Huffington Post says, “If you want to get in touch with [your intuition], you need solitude.” When you let your mind wander and block out the outside noises in a calm,relaxing environment, you’d be surprised with the information your brain digs up and throws to the front of the line. You can learn about how to access it here.
So the moral of the story: Listen to your gut. It’s where the second, more reliable brain is.
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