By Stephen Sideroff
The following article by Stephen Sideroff is a review. It is taken from Psychology Today March 31, 2018.
Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, as well as the Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. Sideroff writes about trusting one’s intuition. Sideroff writes “one definition of intuition is a direct perception of truth, independent of any reasoning process.” He contends that there much validity to trusting this powerful ally. He cautions that there are obstacles, including “unresolved issues” often hidden/undetected that lead people “astray” from using intuition to our utmost benefit.
The consequences of having unfinished or unresolved issues “signifies” that feelings from the past live in us. Sideroff, an advocate for addressing issues, writes that feelings don’t vanish without first being acknowledged and “digested.”
Unconscious Drive For Completion
There are consequences to distracting and avoiding feelings. A person may spend decades, even a lifetime without facing their past. Sideroff notes that the “unconscious drive for the completion (feelings) can quietly direct much of our behavior. We can also experience a “trigger” in the form of unexpected reactions.” Sideroff shares with the reader that while working with clients, he has observed people who have made “bad choices of partners.” This choice may be an unconscious attempt to deal with unfinished emotional childhood and other issues. Sideroff makes a very astute observation. “It is easy to see how we can mistake this drive for completion as an accurate intuitive awareness.”
Sideroff cites psychologist and neuroscientist Stephen Porges’ work. Porges discusses the continuous assessment of safety or danger at any given moment by the autonomic nervous system. This neuroception, a brain function that works below the surface of our conscious awareness, can be responding to a previous dangerous event that triggers defensive behaviors despite no apparent threat.
Fear Not Inner Guidance
These old experiences can influence intuitive messages in convincing people that it is inner guidance rather than fear. Sideroff comments that “We might say something doesn’t feel right” and shy away from deciding or acting.
Sideroff emphasizes that many people like to stay with “safe boundaries.” We know and are both comfortable and familiar with them. Staying in this “safety zone” may be “inappropriate and interfere with new learning and development.”
Power of Intuition
Sideroff acknowledges the power of intuition in the decision-making process. We may depend upon on it before analyzing situation particularly when there is not enough time or accessibility to obtain facts.
Sideroff offers some advice. “When you are also aware of your unfinished business that can influence intuition and recognize that we tend to be influenced by what’s familiar, and shy away from what’s uncomfortable, you will be better served by your intuition.” Intuition signals may increase in frequency and accuracy with greater understanding of that which is not yet addressed. This includes conscious awareness profound roles that these play in the choices that people make.
Imagine this. A decision needs to be made. You tell yourself “Oh, that is my fear speaking, not my gut.” You pause. You relax. You tune in. You take a deep breath and make a decision from your gut. It feels solid. It is. You know the difference. This is your sixth sense speaking to you.