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Honing your Intuition as an Empath: What if my heart and my head say different things ?

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Many emotionally intense, sensitive, and empathetically gifted individuals are also highly intuitive people, who experience life with a sense of ‘deeper knowing’. Their innate empathetic and intuitive abilities are constantly at work, even without their conscious awareness. However, learning to recognise, manage and master the gift of emotional intuition can be a lifelong process.

Before you can fully befriend and manage your intuitive abilities, you may be caught in webs of conflicts amongst different parts of yourself, and their seemingly contradictory motivation. It may feel difficult to differentiate between your true heart’s desires and your head’s voice, between your own feelings and other people’s energies. If you have not identified your own desires, intention and motivation, you may slip into falsely identifying with other people agenda, and be trapped in a constant state of emptiness or confusion. This sense of internal chaos can also manifest as physical illness, tension and pain, and the inability to make even the smallest decisions in life.  At the very beginning stage of your psycho-spiritual development, your heart’s strong pull and sensitivity may feel like a deficit, or a burden— something you wish to be rid of. In trying to deny your own gifts, and your own voice, you may even get stuck in trying to prove to yourself and others how you can ‘be normal’, and be ‘like everyone else’.

These inner conflicts are particularly confusing when it comes to interpersonal and romantic relationships. Naturally intuitive people have a strong ‘sense of knowing’ that there is more to another person’s story than what meets the eyes. However, if you do not recognise or trust your intuition, it can feel like an alien, intrusive voice that contradicts your rational mind’s agenda. For example, you may find yourself feeling drained, or needing to engage in self-soothing behaviours (like comfort eating or spending) after spending time with certain people; or you may feel compelled to say no to what on paper is a golden opportunity.  The truth may be that your highly sensitive intuition had very quickly picked up cues that are missed by others, thus you find yourself wanting to go against others’ advice or ‘the obvious’ decision. If your logical mind or rational reason have not caught up with your intuitive senses, you will experience it as a confusing ‘head-and-heart-split’.  On the flip side, you may find yourself being drawn to someone, defying all logic and reasons, and it is not until much later that you realise within the attraction is an important message that points to your deepest values. Your intuition – or ‘tacit knowledge’, is an immaculately designed calculator that combines all that it knows about your desires,  knowledge and past experiences- including those that you do not consciously remember-  to make decisions that are best for you. When skillfully honed, it is your perfect guidance.  Thus, if you are able to discern your heart’s voice from the noise that comes from outside of you, or at least recognise the various parts of yourself that are telling you different stories, you will be able to live with more clarity and ease.

There are various tools and exercises we can use to start sharpening the ability to listen to our ‘soul’s cry’, one of which is to start asking ourselves a different kind of question.  When we set our intentions, we have a tendency to envision our future based on external factors—the amount of money we would like to earn, the people we would like to be with, the places we want to live in. Very rarely do we give ourselves the space to inquire about our desired states of feeling and being. Danielle Laporte in her work ‘The Desire Map’  reminds us that most of the time we are not chasing the goals themselves, but the feelings they bring— Many of us had the procedures upside down, outside in. One simple way of getting more acquainted with our soul’s compass is to change the angle of the question: instead of, or on top of, inquiring about your circumstances, ask yourself— say in a year’s time— How would you like to feel? What are some of your most desired feeling states? Here are some examples: Love, ‘being in communion, sense of clarity, contentment, optimism, sense of purpose, security, power, determination, freedom… and etc.  It is best to use words or phrases that resonate best with you and make them as specific as possible. Another practice that you can incorporate into your daily life, is to attend to and recognise the nuances of your bodily and emotional feelings— these are often direct energetic responses to the information that comes in and most likely point to a part within you that is deeper than your conscious mental chatter can manage.

With the consistent practice of self-inquiry, you open up a space for the valuable messages that come from your soul/ intuition/ core desires. Once you are able to hear and receive them, you are then in a position to align your daily choices, commitments and actions in a way that is congruent with your deepest calling.

‘Your Soul is the destination—and your feelings are the road signs directing you to it.’ – Danielle Laporte


You may find yourself being drawn to someone, defying all logic and reasons, and it is not until much later that you realise within the attraction is an important message that points to your deepest values.