Confessions of an Intuitive
By: Bethan Denney
If there is anything I desire most, it is to understand and to be understood. Much of my life I’ve felt that my thought process differs from most. When I was younger I routinely stood by observing and keeping my thoughts silent while my classmates, teachers, friends, and family easily vocalized their logical and reasonable ideas for projects or competitions or actions, with me dragging behind struggling to keep up with their thoughts and how they arrived there. I often felt slow, with lack of accurate perspective, and confused by others and myself. I contemplated each and every little thing I came across, and attempted to add it all up in my head to understand the world and human existence.
I can remember considering the hundreds of people that we come across daily, the multitude and abundance of life stories surrounding us, and it mystified me. The idea that we see people, and we desire to connect, and how each of us longs for human connection, to be heard, cared for, and acknowledged sparked a yearning within me to learn more about people.
I was a rather quiet child, loving to simply observe and absorb the lives around me, which are all so beautifully complex and unique. The thought that there are such different lives and people having lived through such different experiences leading to how they are now entranced me.
I lived a lot of my life telling myself I wasn’t different, I wasn’t special, I wasn’t any better than anyone around me. Teachers and mentors helped me to build the type of mentality of humility and to always look past the surface of everyone individually, and to attempt to understand their background, before placing judgement, if at all. A large amount of my life I’ve felt incredibly misunderstood and misinterpreted, and often unappreciated. I’d internalize these feelings to a point of unhealthiness and frustration, often even thinking I was stupid and incapable of functioning like “normal” people, considering how differently I reached conclusions than others, or how extremely different my conclusions were.
To this day I sit in classes and interpret information sometimes to an incredible opposite of my peers. What’s changed is that instead of thinking I lack brain cells or don’t have a tangible thinking pattern, I’ve realized I simply have a different one than others. After finally and gratefully making friends with like-minded people, I came to realize that there were, in fact, people who thought like me. For the first time I finally felt understood, validated, and human. I came to learn that as opposed to the norm who mostly follow logical thinking and compile details to arrive at a solution, I replace this with listening much more largely to my internal compass, per say, and considering first and foremost connections and patterns in things.
Studies have lead psychologists to believe that people make decisions and think either logically (more commonly known as sensors), or by intuition, which is described as a thing one knows or considers from instinctive feelings rather than conscious reasoning. According to Myers-Briggs studies, sensors make up at least 75% of the population while intuitives compose the remaining 25%.
Both types of people have a hugely vital role in the world. The issue is that people who rely on sensing are the majority, thus are viewed as the norm, and a lot of societal activities are designed with them in mind. Being intuitive, I absorb all of my surroundings and can feel them emotionally, so a lot going on around me can be extremely over stimulating, even at simple things like sports games or concerts or even smaller get-togethers. After participating in such events, no matter how much I may enjoy them, I am often overwhelmed and need a chance to process, and easily question and become envious of how my more extroverted and sensing friends can continue with full energy and speed. Occurrences such as these can make intuitives feel out of place and, simply put, different.
I often feel like I come across somewhat strange and confusing to the sensor, who as opposed to my instinct to evaluate the “bigger picture” and my sometimes extreme future orientation, is realistic and takes small steps while focusing more in the present. Before I make a decision I envision each and every possible outcome in the long-term future due to it. I analyze and create a mental map of every path I could go down and see the results of each. However, a sensor evaluates the then-and-now aspect of the decision and views it in more of a short-term concept: how an action will affect them immediately. The sense of time to the intuitive is relative and even sometimes hard to grasp, while the sensor can easily live by the clock and set timetables.
With high intuition, I easily and often overwhelmingly tune in to other’s emotions. The instantaneous connection and understanding I sometimes feel with those around me, even strangers, often leaves me dumbstruck and confused. It’s hard for even me to contemplate. I commonly meet people for the first time and feel as though I’ve known them my whole life. It sometimes feels like I live in a constant state of deja vu. The unconscious reasoning that propels intuitives to know or do something with a total lack of logical reasoning or meaning is hard to grasp. The sensation of “knowing without knowing,” as it has been described, is a common and often constant one. Instead of ignoring or overriding with logic as the sensor might, an intuitive listens to and follows the guidance of a “gut feeling” often without even realizing it.
The way intuitives view the world is profoundly different than most. While sensors are much more comfortable with facts, details, experiences, information, and practicality, the intuitive entertains the ideals of the abstract, conceptual, creative world. Not to say that the types act only on these things, in fact the contrary, both types rely on an assortment and mixture of the aforementioned strategies. However, each type shows great perforation and instinct for one or the other. The sensor tends to prefer what is real and verifiable, while the intuitive is more of a dreamer and idea generator. While my classmates easily focus on and memorize facts, I much prefer analyzing why people act a certain way or knowing the way they think, and quickly dismiss what I view as inconsequential to the big picture.
I often experience deep, sometimes unexplainable, connections with others.
Intuitives have a sort of empathetic accuracy, a term that refers to “the seemingly magical ability to map someone’s mental terrain from their words, emotions, and body language,” according to Psychology Today. Intuitives can tap into other’s emotions, in a way, and experience how they feel by simply observing them. It may seem outlandish and impossible, even to us, but nonetheless existent. By subconsciously analyzing every aspect of a person’s presence within seconds, I can immediately know what they are feeling and even start to feel the same. It’s an incredible unignorable almost sixth sense of taking on others emotions. I often feed off of other’s energy to the point of exhaustion. Intuitives can be overwhelmed by these abilities, picking up other’s feelings drains energy due to a high rate of changing emotions.
I can remember walking through grocery stores as a young girl and observing rushed moms with worried expressions hiding their stress while grabbing for their children as they rush away to grab sugary cereals, or seeing middle-aged men with heavy coats and dark beards with solemn and slightly sad expressions grabbing for frozen meals, and absorbing all of their emotions. I’d glance at them and feel an immediate feeling of solitude, loneliness, or stress. As we’d check out I’d analyze the checker with a blatantly obvious fake smile, and the bagger staring blankly and expressionlessly down as they’d toss our fruit and bread in the same plastic bag as our jars of pasta sauce and milk cartons, and my mother’s stern and unimpressed expression as they did so. I’d take in feelings of boredom, disdain, and frustration. I’d soak all the feelings in, I’d let them trigger my own emotions, I’d allow them into my pulsing veins and beating heart and feel them throughout my body. It was always an incredibly exhausting experience.
I’m a painful contradiction. I greatly long to be with a multitude of people of all sorts, but I oh so easily tire by doing so. It is common for the intuitive (particularly when introverted) to be overcome by emotion and a desire to help those around them, to the extent of even falsely accepting responsibility for the emotions of others.
The intuitive commonly lacks interest in mundane, practical things and routines. I all too often rebel against routine, which is something I’ve always had a large dislike for. School has always been a huge mountain to climb for me in this sense. Living with every day and hour and minute planned leaves me feeling unfulfilled and restless. The desire I experience daily to escape the routine and do something, anything, unplanned and different, often suffocates me. It’s something I’ve always had a hard time with, the deep and impenetrable longing to be anywhere than where I am, always wishing to be somewhere else doing anything else, the fear that I’m missing out on something bigger than what I’m part of, eats me up.
I commonly must remind myself that I’m doing what I must do, experiencing what everyone else is or has or will experience, and that I’ll be free of it once I’ve “done my time.” And through talking myself into rising in the morning and making myself turn at the school’s entrance and collecting my books and mind and walking into the classroom, reminding myself how lucky I am to have access to education, the anti conformist within me screams that the grass is greener on the other side and that through schedule there is only discontentedness. And while I know I can’t be the only one who goes through this process daily, while I’m not the only one internally crying out for change, that doesn’t help the fact that it’s hard not to completely retaliate.
And perhaps that voice within me is right, I only will feel discontent until I escape the norm, I still convince myself to continue with school and activities, and to use the opportunities that arise to become educated, while of course academically, more so on people and seek the like-minded. Sometimes all we can do is accept the path necessary for a chance at future fulfillment, and make the best of it.
Sensing or intuitive, we must learn to understand and appreciate and care for one another. And although I’ve spent much of my life feeling misunderstood, and likely won’t ever be truly understood, (will any of us?), finding like-minded individuals with a similar value and view of the world is encouraging and healing. This is true for all of us. Creative thinking, ambitious future-planning, deep connections, and unique views the intuitive offers helps to bring balance and peace to a world otherwise overcome by logic and reasoning. Intuitives have much to offer humanity, alongside the sensors. The ocean of people we live in can be exhausting and seemingly impossible to navigate. But the desire to understand and be understood is one that can be fulfilled by humanity if we strive to do so. Becoming educated on the vast differences of people among us, and the amount of individuality that we come across daily, is of huge importance to this ideal.
Appreciate the intuitive, appreciate the sensor, and strive to understand.