Emotions: intuitions that something, somewhere, is important

Intuitions are awesome; as a very intuitive person, I find intuitions to be incredibly exciting but also infuriating. Infuriating because while I get intuitions all the time, I can’t fully rely on them. Before I can follow an intuition, I need to understand what’s going on underneath it, to examine the basis of it, to follow it backwards before going forward where it points. An intuition is a light illuminating a possible direction, a place to explore, a place that obviously has something significant about it, even if I don’t know what that is yet.

One thing I can also be sure of, however: my intuitions show me that something is important or that something is going on that is worth understanding. It’s a trigger to me to pay attention, to explore, to stay aware of whatever it is I have an intuition about.

And then I realized… isn’t that what our emotions do?!

Our emotions don’t come out of nowhere. They are based in beliefs, based in our past experiences, rooted in our conscious and unconscious thoughts. The upwelling of an emotion is my body’s way of telling me to pay attention, my body’s way of telling that something is affecting me and bumping into some of my beliefs (in either a feel-good or feel-bad way!). I can’t just run wild being led by my emotions, though; I can only first take them seriously as an indicator that I need to explore and go deeper. I honor and respect my emotions by paying attention and doing that deep dive. I honor and respect my emotions by not following them blindly. To follow them blindly puts too much pressure on my emotions and fails to recognize their true value to my well-being and path forward.

Emotions are our intuitions, the little lights focused on something we may not at the moment realize is worth paying attention to. Ok, sometimes these lights are big lights. Floodlights. Stadium-seating neon flashing lights. The bigger the light, the more important the thing it focuses on is to my deep well-being and sense of self and safety. I just don’t know it at the time of the emotion/intuition.

Just recently, I was feeling a lot of anxiety about work. Instead of putting my head down and cranking through daily tasks (battling anxiety through productivity – my favorite crappy way to deal with anxiety), I pushed pause and turned to my journal. I wrote about what I was feeling and started to write out what beliefs are underlying my massive anxiety. You know what? I found the answer on my first guess. It was right there, waiting for me to find it, right under that anxiety spotlight. And it turns out that that particular bad belief underlies a lot of my anxiety in other areas of life and relationships — strange how that works, isn’t it? (/sarcasm) I never would have realized I needed to attend to those things outside of work had I not paid some attention to my anxiety revolving around work.

Our emotions are incredibly revealing, valuable things, pointing us to what we deep-down find incredibly important to our sense of self and sense of security. Emotions are our intuitions that something is off, or that something fits really well. They are worth taking seriously as triggers for further exploration.

The contented smile of someone who spent some time working her way to the beliefs underlying her anxiety. On an ocean-front lanai in Waikiki. Ok, that last part did help with the smile.

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