Is It Your Ego or Is It Intuition? How to Tell the Difference
There is a lot of talk in the New Age and yoga world about listening to your intuition and following your gut . . . but do you know how to tell the difference between your intuition and your ego? How do you know what is influencing and guiding you? One of them may be holding you back.
The definition of intuition as defined by Merriam-Webster: 1a: the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference b: immediate apprehension or cognition c: knowledge or conviction gained by intuition 2: quick and ready insight
The definition of ego as defined by Merriam-Webster:
1: the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world
2a: EGOTISM sense 2b: SELF-ESTEEM sense 1
3: the one of the three divisions of the psyche in psychoanalytic theory that serves as the organized conscious mediator between the person and reality especially by functioning both in the perception of and adaptation to reality
The sensations of intuition and ego may feel similar at first, but once you know the difference between the two, you'll be able to identify the root of the feeling right away. One way to tell if you are coming from your ego is if you feel triggered by something that causes you to avoid, push it away, or act defensive. Ask yourself why do you feel threatened? Is there a story about you that you believe (real or imagined) and this situation is incongruent with how you perceived yourself? Or does this situation/story feel familiar and has opened up some old wounds? That's usually what happens and we say, "My gut didn't feel right about it." That is big ol' flag waving to get attention for something that needs healing. Look deeper. Perhaps there is an underlying feeling of jealousy because it is something that you want or some experience you want to have? Or it may be a feeling that you don't feel worthy enough to have this thing or experience? Or perhaps, you are comparing yourself to someone else because you are feeling insecure? Or are they limiting beliefs that others put on you or you put on yourself?
When the feeling is rooted in your intuition, you may feel a little bit of fear, but excitement surrounding it. Especially if your first reaction to whatever it is, is a HELL YES! That is one way to know your intuition is guiding you. When it is intuition, it feels right and it feels aligned with mind, body, and spirit. There is a feeling of endless possibilities and optimism.
For me, I automatically know when something feels right and is aligned with my mind, my my body, and my spirit. I can feel this inner energy and excitement that motivates me to bring this idea to fruition. It's an electric energy that just makes me glow from the inside. But I am also familiar with the other side, when something makes me feel threatened or defensive. I start to get hot and my heart starts to beat faster, like I'm about to be in a physical altercation or verbal confrontation with someone. I may even begin to feel angry and agitated. That is my clue that I need to examine this situation and uncover why I feel this way. It usually leads back to some childhood story that I heard or was told about myself and I believed it. As an adult, it is my job to uncover those false tales and rewrite them. I no longer need to be bound by other people's opinions, limitations, or words of approval or disappointment (not having Mom and Dad around made this much easier for me to overcome). I accept myself for who I am and I am grounded in my body. But damn, it took some time to get here.
Here's an example from my life. For many years, I had the story in my brain that I wasn't creative. I told myself I wasn't an artist. I told myself that I was the smart one because my siblings all got the artistic genes. This was a story I felt comfortable with for years. I owned it. And I played that part I created for myself. We create many stories about ourselves whether they are true or not, we believe them and live by them, until we are confronted with an alternate perspective. One year we had an art rotation which my class was a part of. As the special education teacher, I decided to take part in the art classes to be a good model for my learning disabled students. I was quite successful with my creations and my story began to change. Now, over 10 years later, I do consider myself an artist and a creative type. I write yoga sequences, I create playlists for classes, I design t-shirts, and I write. I also designed my own website, business cards, and business logos. Why should I limit myself? I can do whatever I want! And so can you. No one can stop you or limit you from what you imagine for yourself. The only person that can stop you, IS YOU. Just know you can never fully eradicate the ego. The ego is necessary for survival. The key is having a healthy ego. Not over inflated nor self-deprecating. But balanced. Uncovering these old narratives and limiting beliefs are tools to living a vibrant, happy, and healthy life!
Your Holistic Health Coach