Many of my clients share with me regrets or what they consider to be mistakes from their past. They want to make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes again. They don’t want to marry the wrong man again, or take the wrong job, or say yes when they should have said no, or yell at their kids before asking them questions. These same clients have really helped me to clarify something crucial to our well-being. We need to know the difference between gut instinct or intuition and a reaction.
“Gut instinct is that physical feeling that tells us that something is either right or wrong. “
Gut instinct is that physical feeling that tells us that something is either right or wrong. If it’s working correctly, instinct is the guide post that keeps us from a serious relationship with the wrong person, noticing that something might be bothering our children, or even when we should pick up the phone and check on our aging parents. Reaction, on the other hand, is when we get emotionally unconscious and we react vs. respond. It’s when we see red and scream at our kids, it’s an impulsive expensive purchase, and it’s an extra cookie when we aren’t really hungry. We never regret acting on our gut instinct but we often live in remorse from our reactions.
Here’s how you know the difference:
So here’s the question that plagued both my clients and me, how do we know the difference? I decided to do a rather unscientific experiment and try to weed out when my clients had acted on instinct vs. reaction and see if I could find a reoccurring theme to these behaviors. It didn’t take me too long, my clients looked back on instinct decisions and said they were always made from a place of “peace,” “love,” “calm,” and “clarity.” None of them told me that they were “giddy” or “nervous” when acting from instinct but rather fully conscious in their decision.
On the other hand, they told me the reactions came from unconscious “anger,” “fear,” “frustration,” “giddiness,” and “childlike feelings.” There was a tightening physical response just prior to the reaction; a stomach flip, tense muscles, a headache, etc. None of these were present when my clients acted from intuition.
Get out of reaction mode and trust your instincts.
So here’s the lesson for all of us, we must get out of reaction mode in order to allow our instinct or intuition to take over. When we are would tight, angry or feeling sorry for ourselves, our intuition isn’t available. From that space we will only react and most likely, regret. Rather taking even a few seconds (or minutes) to clear your head will allow you to retrigger your instinct so that you can respond versus react.
Thank you dear clients for helping me figure this out!
Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC
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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident
by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.
About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC
Certified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.
I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.
Gain the Confidence You’ve Always Wanted
Are you stuck in a place where you don’t feel good about yourself, feel stuck, and don’t feel happy or fulfilled? Whatever it is that keeps you from happiness can be solved. It’s true! And it can usually be solved within a short amount of time.
Many women have either lost confidence in themselves or realize that they’ve never had it. They are afraid to ask for what they want, they don’t feel good about themselves, and they find that just getting through the day is exhausting.
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