Our brain has 2 sides:
- the left side, which is our rational and logic thinking;
- the right side, which is our creativity and intuitive knowledge.
Both sides are needed: a balance of both, working together, without overlooking one or the other, as each one has essential value.
Let’s start by looking at the left side
It’s our intellect. That’s the fancy word. But it can also come in the form of our mind chatter, mind monkeys, or whatever you call that inner critic of yours.
It’s a loud voice.
A convincing voice.
A very persuading and persistent voice. In a rather annoying and repetitive ‘won’t–shut-up-and-sounds-like-a-broken-record’ kind of way.
It wants to talk you into its point of view. It is logical. It lists reasons (and it has a lot of them) as to why you should or shouldn’t do something. It will effortlessly roll out a whole list of reasons as to why this is or isn’t a good idea. It’s repetitive. It says the same thing in different ways, coming at you from different angles. It doesn’t give in easily. It wants to be right.
It is also authoritative and has a very directive nature. It sounds like a stern parent or teacher. Quite domineering. It wants to have its way (in a “my way or no way” kind of manner). Almost like giving you an order, a command.
You will also find yourself explaining to others why you must or mustn’t do this, why it ‘makes sense’.
You will be justifying. Explaining. Sometimes even without anyone asking you for an explanation. You will probably be talking out aloud to yourself. Going over and over all the reasons.
Another clue to know if it’s the one stealing the show is to be aware if there is a sense of urgency “you need to do this now. Quick, quick, quick.” It always seems to be in a hurry, in a rush: “do this now, because XYZ” (list of logical and rational reasons).
There is a lot of emotion in intellect’s voice and reasoning. There is also a lot of judgment.
And it probably makes you feel quite anxious and tense. Fidgety.
To put an image to this, if you think back to your school days, picture that little boy/girl in class who would immediately stick up his/her hand up in class and wanted to be the first to speak – the “me, me, listen to me, I know I know the answer!”
And now for the right side
This is our intuition. It’s an inner knowledge we all have, but without knowing why or how.
It tells us what is right and wrong for us, what is true and what isn’t.
Unlike intellect, intuition is quiet.
It doesn’t judge.
It doesn’t care, as in it doesn’t have emotion attached to it. It’s just a message.
It knows what is best for you, and that is why it is so valuable.
But it doesn’t try to convince you. It is gentle. It will voice itself, but respects if you aren’t listening or don’t want, and so quietens down again. It doesn’t repeat itself constantly. It is neutral. It doesn’t have an agenda. It’s not giving you an order. It’s not questioning you.
It doesn’t care about the timeline (when you do something) – there is no sense of urgency.
It feels natural. It feels right. There is no tension. You feel peaceful.
Now back to that classroom image: I was an average student, and I was mostly in my own little world during class. Drifting off in thought. However I clearly remember several times when a teacher would ask a question and I had the answer. But I didn’t know how. I hadn’t learnt it / read it / heard it, but I knew. The answer would be there on the tip of my tongue. It would pop up seemingly out of nowhere. But I was also shy, and so very rarely allowed myself to share the answer that was coming to me. It made no logical sense – “how on earth could I possibly know?” So you see, I was allowing the left side, my logic mind, take over and ignoring my intuition, which actually did have the right answer.
Avoid falling into the trap
As the intuitive voice is quiet and neutral, it often disappears into the background, and the intellect is more than happy to take over.
By learning to recognise when your intellect is in charge, you will be taking a powerful step in the right direction: being aware that you might be in self-sabotage mode and actually not making the right decision for yourself.
So ask yourself:
- How is that thought is making you feel? (anxious, worried, tense, triggered…)
- What’s the inner struggle between what you are thinking and what you are feeling?
- Start to tune in to the feelings and learn to trust them. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong.
- Don’t jump into action, be patient and trust that your intuition will make itself known. As long as you are willing to listen.