How to Tell the Difference Between Fear and Intuition?

How do you know whether you are tapping into your intuition, or simply engaging and entertaining unhelpful, fear-based thoughts? Is that inner voice your intuition or your fear speaking? This is a complex topic, and yet it represents a skill we need and can develop as highly sensitive people. I believe everyone can benefit from learning to differentiate between intuition and fear, but highly sensitive people even more because struggling to understand which one is speaking to us can lead us to an endless spiral of doubt and confusion.

Intuition comes from the Latin word intueri, a combination of in, which means “at, on”, and tueri, which means “to look at, watch over”. Intuition has been defined by De Quincey (1840) as the capacity to perceive directly without reasoning, know by immediate perception. In spiritual literature, it is often identified as our Higher or Wiser Self. This part of us offers us a broader vision of who we are, what we need, and the best way to make ends meet. It is a source of guidance and full alignment with our core essence.

On another hand, fear-based thoughts and beliefs come from our Ego Self. They result from unexamined experiences and the conditioning power of many external factors such as culture and family dynamics. They seem rampant and make us go into alert mode. They come almost automatically and with the sole aim of saving our most superficial identity and sense of self. Since both intuition and fear-based thoughts can arise within us very quickly, it takes some level of awareness and practice to learn to differentiate them.

The best way to go about it is to pay more attention to your own mental patterns. What is going on in your mind? Which part of you is talking? Embrace self-examination and self-discovery. Ask questions to yourself and observe what unfolds with no particular judgment. Pay attention to your body’s reactions too. With time and self-reflection, you will be able to discern whether you are being driven by fear or intuition. You will learn to observe how intuition comes as a soft and gentle inner voice, whereas ego-driven thoughts are often loud and sensory overwhelming.

As you pay more and more attention to the quality of your thoughts and feelings, I’m sure you will agree at some point that your intuition is stronger and clearer whenever you are calm and relaxed. That’s when we are able to hear it in the first place. When we are stressed, or feel that our well-being is threatened for some reason, we can’t connect so easily with that part of us that is intuitive and knowing. We tend to make it worse instead, feeding or fueling our Ego Self with more unhelpful thoughts.

Aim to practice and live with what Buddhists call “right mindfulness”, the ability to see and witness what is occurring inside and outside of yourself, with non-judgment, and from a place of acceptance of what is. Only then you will be able to hear and begin recognizing the soothing voice through which your intuition speaks to you. The more you practice and expand your awareness with mindfulness, the more you will be able to tune in and make decisions that are more aligned with who you truly are.

Is Happiness a Realistic Goal?

realistic goal and a desirable one. It is rather impossible to be happy all the time, of course, and it is rather difficult to be in a pure state of bliss on a regular basis. However, we can aim to develop skills and strategies that enhance our level of consciousness.

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20 Comments

  1. What an interesting topic. Sometimes we struggle with knowing the difference between the two. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. HerJeannie says:

      A post I didn’t know I needed. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Heidi Bruaw says:

    Very interesting! This makes so much sense. I tend to feed my “ego self” more than I should. I am working on knowing the difference between the two and focusing on my intuition more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Heidi, thanks for commenting. I will try to bring more tips on that in the future.

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  3. Very timely blog Vanessa, yesterday into this morning I was definitely listening to fear based thoughts. Then I recognized I needed to change my thoughts by journaling about the confusion. The interesting I noticed was that I had a very negative experience yesterday on my vacation. Needless violence which sent me in the downward spiral again. I returned to old habits but luckily changed it over a few hours. I chose to listen to upbeat inspirational music and walk and snorkel. It helped immensely. Now I tuned into reader and find this. Hopefully it won’t take as long next time because there is always a next time. Thanks so much for putting into words what I just went through. Prayers helped too😭☺️🌈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you made use of those tools. A well-being toolbox can help us when we need it the most. When we feel overwhelmed it’s hard to tune in and find the best course of action. It’s always a safe move to grab some of the tools like music to get off the state, calm down, and then collect our thoughts and feelings. I’m proud of you. Sending you love ❤️

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  4. This is very interesting, I didn’t a lot about intuition this much and living with the Buddhist term. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for reading. I hope you dive deeper and find it easier to follow your intuition.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Being able to differentiate the two is so important — I definitely needed to read this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, Molly ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so interesting. Sometimes I find it difficult to differentiate the two. I think my ego probably gets the better of me when I get stressed with the children sometimes, but I’m trying to be better at this. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The ego is likely to win when we are stressed indeed. The best way is to prevent it ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had never thought about the connection between fear and intuition, and definitely was not aware of the distinction! Greatly written article x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Simona ❤️ x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Intuition and fear are both strong and driven feelings. It’s great to know the difference between them. Awesome article. Well written and informative. 👌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alicia, thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad it was useful ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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