We look at our watch and it says 11:11...a friend's tarot card reading is right on the money...a double rainbow appears as if from nowhere...we happen to hear our deceased father's favorite song just at the moment we're making a big decision... How do we know if what we're experiencing is a sign--from above, from our deeper intuition, from our souls, from those around us--or if we're just creating an excuse?
As humans we're taught not to trust ourselves, our gut feelings. Instead, we are encouraged to seek the facts, find concrete evidence, and show proof. Often that's a good thing -- I'd like to know that the car I'm buying really is as safe as the manufacturer says it is, that the medicine I'm giving my mom has undergone rigorous testing, that the drinking water is pure. But our emotions, our hearts, aren't quantifiable -- we can't find them ranked and rated in Consumer Reports -- so we have to go with something we are all born with but often lose sight of: intuition.
It's so easy to talk ourselves out of what our hearts are telling us is right. I do it all the time. My ego may say it's just a fortune cookie, a shooting star, a coincidence, and it's not until I listen to my inner voice that I realize that it represents something bigger. When I acknowledge that inner voice, I fill with a feeling of calm and warmth, almost like love.
Sometimes other people encourage us to ignore our intuition. If someone tells us over and over again, "You shouldn't feel that way," or "You're not very smart," or "You should really go to law school" when what we love is music or dance, we'll learn to believe it. I know I did. I believed my parents when they told me my conception was an "accident," and I believed the nuns at my elementary school when they told me I was a "problem."
If the reinforcement of our false beliefs is too strong, we're not going to see the signs when they appear. But we'll know the sign is real if we:
- Let go of doubt and fear.
- Don't predict the outcome.
- Hear what others have to say.
- Decide and do for ourselves--our true selves.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more