about intuition and high sensitivity.
Let’s dive into the topic of intuition. I will guide you through my journey to reconnect with my inner voice and tell you why this can be even more important for highly sensitive people (HSP). I give tips to recognise the intuition’s voice and a few exercises to help you use this inner wisdom in your everyday decision-making process.
Do you think highly sensitive people are more intuitive?
Yes. And no. Let me explain. Highly sensitive people (HSP) tend to be very intuitive. However, they also are great empaths and very receptive to external and internal stimuli. This allows them to adapt to circumstances and people in a specific way (I call them chameleons). This is a useful quality of course, but it comes with an even bigger curse.
Imagine you are a child and possess this ability. You can adapt to please everyone, to be liked, and avoid conflicts. Sounds good?
Now imagine you are a grown-up and keep on pleasing everybody and avoiding conflict.. Still sounds good ? .. read on.
The false self
I came across this phrase recently and that resonated with me. In his book ‘Am I hypersensitive ?’, Fabrice Midal explains what the false self is. “They [HSP children] are an enigma for their surroundings, but also for themselves. They know that they are different from other children and feel guilty about it; they sometimes hide this difference under a “false self” very early, which in the end, adds to their difficulties.”
It often happens very early that HSPs use their high sensitivity as a tool to adapt to the outside, to match the expectations of others; creating tons of false selves and shutting down their inner voice.
Why I decided to learn to reconnect with my intuition
A few years ago, I realised that I was having trouble trusting my guts, making choices was especially painful. I doubted myself and always asked others to help me make decisions. I felt like I didn’t know what I wanted and who I was anymore.. What happened? I had lost touch with my intuition, my inner compass. That little girl who got so good at being liked, learned to turn off that inner voice, not trusting, nor following it. She adapted so well to the outside, that she almost forgot the inside.
If you are there too, know that this is not entirely your fault.. as Albert Einstein wrote:
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
So what did I do?
> I learned to reconnect with the feminine part of myself: the allowing, receiving, accepting, opening, and trusting part by reconnecting with my body awareness and taking more distance from my mind.
> I developed techniques to recognise my intuition and confidence to trust it. I trained it like a muscle.
> I learned to express my needs and who I am in a clear and precise manner. I learned not to fear confrontation anymore.
Living in a male-oriented society, where “yang” qualities (power, pushing, reaching, going fast, etc.) are dominant and more valued, highly sensitive people are confronted with a double challenge. On one hand, they need to accept to be different and learn to trust and follow their intuition again. On the other hand – as they often are more “yin” type of persons – they have to develop the courage and solid ground to position themselves as HSPs in this type of society.
What is intuition anyway?
I got so interested in the topic that I started investigating and asked people around me what it means for them. Let me share a few definitions I got with you:
“The moment and feeling when my values decide to speak up.”
“Contemplation. Words from the soul.”
“When you have that strange feeling in your gut that tells you it’s obvious.”
“The openness to one’s instinct and extrasensory perception abilities.”
“Recognition, trust that you recognise something that you already knew.”
“When I let life speak through me.”
The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “An ability to understand or know something immediately based on your feelings rather than facts.”
What would be yours?
Intuition, that shallow voice of the soul.
This voice is so shallow that it takes practice to hear. As soon as you let the mind take over again, you lose the connection to intuition. This is not something we have been taught.
I read a wonderful book from Luis Ansa (La Voie du Sentir), in which he speaks about the convexity and concavity of the human being. He mentions the male side of us as being convex: intrusive, wanting, longing, fighting, going outward. On the other hand, our concave side, the more feminine part of us, is the receiving end: open, trusting, and accepting. Intuition manifests when we are in this posture of allowing life to flow through us. This is probably why some call intuition, inner wisdom. It’s indeed impossible to force or push, yet is always there if we learn to listen. We should be thought how to connect with it because our intuition knows what’s right for us and the world. It can show us the way, towards us for the good of all.
Luis Ansa writes (translated from French): “To live only in convexity is to put all your marbles in one bag. To seek success in life, to accumulate all sorts of things, is good, but don’t forget that one day you will leave it all. [..]
If you are so obsessed with a certain form of success, it is because you are conditioned by your social environment. For an Amazonian Indian, success is catching a fish in the river and eating it; or having a banana tree that produces bananas. Because he does not live in a consumer society that constantly creates external necessities. And because he doesn’t have that pressure in front of him, he can become concave and capture the mystery of life. […]
In the concave world, you dive into the feminine part of God. The concavity is the feminine principle, the roundness, the capture. There is no inquisition, no punishment.
And when I see women proceeding in work like men, I say to myself that this is really stupid. Dive into your feminine and don’t try to understand. What do you want to understand? When you understand it, you kill it. So stay in the body and go, men and women, into the feminine. Go deep into the feminine and become sensors.
The concavity, […] it is a virgin space into which the mind does not penetrate. Because the mind devours, it wants to know everything, to understand everything, that is its nature. It devours everything it touches because it is greedy. So, in this concave space, it does not enter. Through vigilance, we keep him quiet, we tell him: “Don’t get involved, don’t get involved! Leave it, it’s none of your business.” This virgin space is the space of the soul.”
Intuition, a feminine quality in all of us. Women and men.
It seems useful to clarify that we all possess a masculine and a feminine part. However, most of us (even the women), have lost touch with most of our feminine qualities due to our environment (education, religion, society, etc.). Our world is built around masculine values and hypersensitivity has generally and wrongly been put in the box of a ‘feminine weakness’. Intuition is a feminine quality and as Patrice Wyrsch explains in the introduction of his book called ‘Neurosensitivty, the power of the highly sensitive’: “In this decade we will experience a great transformation. The root of this transformation is in ourselves. In our perception. In dealing with the sensitivity of our central nervous system and thus our perceptive abilities. No matter whether this neurosensitivity is reduced or increased.
Gradually, a new, holistic consciousness is emerging. While the old consciousness was mind-based, the new consciousness is intuition-based. From “I think, therefore I am” to “I perceive/I am aware, therefore I am”. For we are not primarily our mind, but pure consciousness.”
The reconnection to intuition requires a big leap of faith, a jump into the unknown, out of our control. This is again, the complete opposite of what we have been taught. Control rules the world; who would even want to let go of it, even a little bit?
Luis Ansa beautifully said: “Let this sensitive part, which has been despised, crushed and trampled on by religions as well as by an essentially intellectual education, do its job. Be simple, let the body capture, and don’t be afraid that things won’t turn out well. Let go of that huge monster that wants everything to go right. By wanting everything to go right, you go from the state of love to the state of duty, and then there is suffering. A being who loves is not in pain.”
So this is my question for you: do you accept or even know the feminine part in you?
How can I recognise my intuition’s voice? a few tips.
On my ‘intuition journey’, I tried to collect a few pragmatic tips, which I hope can be helpful in your exploration too. I tried to distinguish qualities of the mind/head and intuition: how does the mind speak VS how does intuition manifest? This is a precious guide to reconnect to my inner compass every time I struggle to identify whether I follow my mind or my intuition.
Just adding a side note here: it is of course, totally useful and necessary to follow the mind at times. I just believe it’s important to be aware of what we follow and why. 😉
Mind/head says ‘I have to’, ‘I must’, ‘I should’, ‘it would be better if’…(guilt feeling). Is loud. Usually closes the body and feels like pressure or tension (for ex.: tense jaw, tense shoulders, and neck, cold). Often changes but seems logical. Can be fear-based.
Intuition says ‘I can’, ‘I also cannot’, ‘I would like’, ‘I wish’. Is very shallow and requires silence. Is allowing and giving permission. Usually opens the body and feels soft, relaxing, good (for ex: the solar plexus feels free and open, warm). Will always come with the same message, over and over again, and can sometimes not make any sense. Is mainly love-based.
Four exercises to learn how to use intuition in the decision-making process
1. “What do I say yes to?”, “What do I say no to?”
Write your question on a paper, for example: shall I take this offer?
Then, create two columns and ask yourself these two questions:
- What do I say yes to (if I take this offer)?
- What do I say no to (if I take this offer)?
Try to write your answers spontaneously and quickly, just adding what’s coming out right now – this will prevent your head from taking too much space. What do you observe? Make your conclusion.
2. Feet on paper.
Write your options on a piece of paper and lay them face-up on the floor (so that you can see what’s written on them). For example: “Yes, take the offer”; “No, not take the offer”.
Take a deep breath and connect with your body. Stand with both feet onto the first piece of paper. What do you feel? Observe all the bodily sensations, try not to use your mind too much, but connect to the body. (You could feel warm/cold, sense of tension/relief, feel light/heavy, perceive colors or images, etc.)
Do the same with the other piece of paper and write down what you have noticed. Make your conclusion.
Take the same pieces of paper and make a ball with each, so that you can’t read what’s written on them. Throw them on the floor or in a bowl and mix them up. Now, take one piece of paper and open it. Imagine that this is the decision you have to take. What’s your reaction? Again observe bodily sensations: are you happy, relieved, excited, or on the contrary, stressed, disappointed? Make your conclusion.
4. The statue
Put yourself in a room where you can be alone, undisturbed, and focused.
Imagine you decided to go for option one. This option becomes your reality. Now create a statue with your body that represents how this makes you feel. It can be anything from lying on the floor to standing on one foot, to closing your eyes, to….. let your body guide you into the final position. Once you are in this “statue”, feel and observe. Do the same for the other options. Make your conclusion.
What is high sensitivity?
High sensitivity is a hype word at the moment and a lot is being said around this topic. I find it interesting to explore a bit more and would be happy to hear from you if you have other inputs!
Fabrice Midal mentions: “It was not until the early 1990s and the courage of a few unconventional researchers that the concept that had initially scandalised people appeared: that of emotional intelligence. The intelligence of the heart. […] The trail of emotional intelligence has been reinforced by discoveries in the fields of neurology and psychology that have revealed the fundamental contribution of emotions to all logical thinking, thus definitively sweeping aside Descartes’ distinction [between matter and spirit].”
The business insider (link below), develops: “It has been known for a long time that there is such a thing as high sensitivity. Research today assumes that it is an innate personality trait. Psychologists such as Ivan Pavlov, Carl Gustaf Jung, or Alice Miller conducted studies at the beginning of the 20th century, but despite this, intensive research in this field has only been going on for a good 20 years. None of the luminaries mentioned above summarised the results in a comprehensive manner – only Elaine Aron, a psychologist from San Francisco, did so. She was the first to coin the term “Highly Sensitive Person”, which is still summarised as “HSP” today.
Contrary to what many people assume, sensitivity is not an illness or mental disorder. Unlike the personality disorder ADHD or the anxiety disorder sociophobia, high sensitivity is a fundamental personality trait.”
In the Schweizerische Ärztezeitung (German, link below), we learn that Elaine N. Aron assumes that “sensory processing sensitivity” is in most cases genetically inherited – except, for example when it arises as a result of trauma. However, high sensitivity is not a disease or disorder, but a variation of the neuronal system, estimated to be found in 15 to 20 percent of people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, and culture.”
Neuro.. what ?
Lately, I found Dr.’s Patrice Wyrsch research particularly interesting. He prefers to talk about neurosensitivity, rather than high sensitivity. He explains that “Neurosensitivity is the ability to register and process environmental stimuli [which can be external (the feelings of others) or internal (our own feelings)]. High sensitivity or increased neurosensitivity is thus the increased ability to register and process stimuli. He adds that according to Prof. Dr. Michael Pluess, this perceptual ability is based on the (different) sensitivity of the central nervous system. Therefore, all organisms with a nervous system have different levels of sensitivity.” He explains that a minority of people disposes of a highly sensitive trait. This means that these people see/feel/sense/perceive more than others. Their reality is different from the vast majority of people.
Isn’t that fascinating?
Did you enjoy reading this article? Would you like to receive the next one directly into your mailbox? Then subscribe here to my ‘sporadic letter’ in which I share tips, inspirations, news&updates and little gifts that I gather along the way..
• La Voie du Sentir, Luis Ansa
• Wahrnehmungsfähigkeit, Neurosensitivität, die Kraft der Hochsensitiven, Dr. Patrice Wyrsch
Find more about his book on my personal blog here: ‘Neuro .. what ?‘. And on his webpage, where you can also find a test to evaluate to which sensitivity group you belong – only in German).
• Suis-je hypersensible ? Farbice Midal
• Jeder dritte Mensch gilt als hochsensitiv — das bedeutet es für die Karriere und den Arbeitsalltag – Business Insider