How many times have you been told, just trust your intuition? Too many times as far as I am concerned. But first an article praising intuition:
Here is how Gary Zukav defines intuition in the article: “It is a very sophisticated system that allows you to know more than you can with your five senses.” He speaks mostly of communications across miles or even across different worlds. I absolutely believe that happens. Following her death my mother wrapped a quilt of love around me that she had withheld during my childhood. She asked forgiveness for not telling me how proud she was of me. Until then I felt nothing I did was enough for her.
Here is what I think is a more useful definition of intuition from the Free Dictionary: “The act or faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition; a sense of something not evident or deducible; an impression.”
And here is why I suggest not placing all your decisions in the basket called intuition. Lots of what we call intuition, things we know without knowing why, come from our very early experiences. This means they can be good or useful bits of knowledge; but they also can be misleading. Abuse is a good example. Having been hit or abused as a child leads one free to strike out when hurt. That is an impulse and an instinct and comes to feel like what must be done if you listen to your inner being. Sadly, if your inner being is a very abused child, that inner being and intuitive voice should be ignored.
Parents are often told to follow their intuition. Well … only after some reality checking and careful thought. One of my sons as an infant had to cry for about twenty minutes before he fell alseep. My instinct, my intuition, and most of the parent advisors of the day, said “Comfort him if he cries for more than ten minutes.” Well, that may have worked for many babies, but not this son. Comfort him, put him back to bed and he then had to cry for his twenty minutes.
My husband’s intuition said to let him cry it out. His was the intuition that worked.
WHAT IS A PARENT TO DO?
See intuition as another source of advice, another place to visit when problems loom. Probably the most useful approach to intuition is what it tells you about your limits. I could take ten minutes of crying, my son needed twenty.
As with all advice here are some tips:
- See intuitive ideas as suggestions.
- Know that intuition is personal and subjective. What works for you might not work for another.
- Listen to your inner thoughts, but critically.
- Seek the advice of others, particularly experienced parents.
- Know the bias of professional advice givers.
- Be careful of miracle solutions.
- Never give in to intuition that says hurt, strike out. The only time for inflicting physical harm is when you need to do so for your own safety. Emotional abuse like name calling, coldness, constant degradation, is never appropriate.
- Experiment until you find what works best for you, your child, and those you love.
If you still want mostly to trust your instincts, remember what Billy Wilder said, “Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.“
AS ALWAYS, PRACTICE KINDNESS
Be kind to me, like this post or share it. You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well. You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises. Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.
If regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed. That is the time to think about therapy.
Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life is wonderful with children in your life.