In life, you sometimes have to make difficult decisions. Maybe you’re in a toxic relationship and you’re struggling to get out. Perhaps you’ve lost passion for your job and need to decide whether to continue with it or move on to another career. In situations like these, we often have a gut feeling telling us what we should do, but in many cases, we choose to ignore it. Why is that? In this article, we are talking about some of the main reasons people are afraid to listen to their intuition with some tips on how to overcome those fears and start trusting yourself. 

One of the biggest reasons people disregard their instincts is their concern about making the wrong choice. For example, you might have a steady job that gives you enough money to pay your bills and put food on the table, but you’ve lost your passion for it. You want to start your own business, but you’d have to quit your other job to do so, and you’re afraid to lose that stability. Or maybe you and your partner have been together for a long time and they want to get married. You do, too, but you feel unprepared for such a huge commitment. Perhaps in these examples, your inner voice is telling you to take the leap, but you’re tempted to ignore that impulse and stay in your comfort zone. 

The issue with that solution is that by remaining in the same place, you forfeit the chance to grow. So instead of outright rejecting what your intuition is telling you, do some research. You could ask the people around you about their experiences making the change you’re considering or consult the Internet for some problems others in your situation have faced. Once you are informed, you will feel more confident in your final decision. 

Sometimes you can do all the research in the world and you might still come to the wrong conclusion. Maybe you start that business and realize you are clueless about how to run it, or you discover that you really were unprepared to take the next step in your relationship. These may seem like worst-case scenarios, but even they can be made positive. Yes, you’ve made a bad choice, but now you know more about what works for you, and you can use that information to adapt your approach in the future.

When following your instincts, it’s important to remember that mistakes are inevitable, but instead of letting that stop you from taking risks, start thinking of your missteps as learning opportunities rather than failures. With every decision you make, it’s best to go in expecting the best while being prepared for the worst. Every blunder is a chance for new knowledge. 

On the flip side, maybe you find yourself trying everything, joining every club, even the uninteresting ones. You have far too much on your plate and your gut is telling you to drop some things and focus on what you enjoy. Or maybe you’re plagued by a different predicament and that same anxiety is keeping you from living. Perhaps you spend all your time checking Twitter or Instagram and wallowing in jealousy over the cool things you see other people doing. Meanwhile, you are ignoring the good happening in your life. These two problems may seem very different, but they both come from the same fear of missing out, commonly abbreviated as FOMO, a phenomenon that is becoming more and more prevalent in the modern world. Luckily, we have some tips to assist you in overcoming this issue and start appreciating what you have.

The first step to defeating FOMO is to accept that you are one person and you only have so much time. Instead of attempting to do everything, start focusing on the things you truly enjoy. Individuals’ different interests mean that what’s exciting for someone else may be boring for you. You have so many options, so why waste time with things you dislike? By focusing on what you want, rather than what others gravitate toward, you’ll feel happier and more fulfilled. 

The key to making this happen is to learn to distinguish what is really important from what is desirable. When you see a friend post about an exciting activity they did, you might feel jealous. In this case, pause and consider where your envy is coming from. Do you care about the activity or are you just interested because your friend is doing it? 

Follow your instincts in these moments. Your subconscious knows what is the most important to you and will steer you in that direction. When you start to feel afraid of missing out, remind yourself of all the great things in your own life. Remember to be grateful for what you have, but still willing and able to go after what you want.

Intuition is a hard thing to describe. It’s an impulse toward change. By trusting it, you will transform in incredible ways. It was through following her intuition that Nancy Solari, host of the National Living Full Out Show, got to where she is now. In a recent episode all about following your instincts, Nancy addresses some questions and talks about how she used her intuition to make life changes as she gradually lost her vision. For more information on how trusting your inner voice can aid you in your Living Full Out journey, you can listen to this radio show at livingfullout.com/radio-show/. Just click on the episode titled “How Following Your Instincts Through Difficult Times Propels You to Live Full Out.” 

Remember, your gut feelings can be your greatest ally in facing hard decisions.

Contributing Author: Ariel Zinkan