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How to Recognize Your Intuition: 10 Key Characteristics

In my experience, intuition can be challenging to identify, especially when you're just beginning your development process. Below I've compiled 10 of the key characteristics of intuition to help you better understand and recognize that inner voice, feeling, emotion, symbol, image, or knowing that you experience and that we call intuition.

How to Recognize Your Intuition

Intuition is...

  1. Calm, Non-emotional

  2. Example: As you leave for work, a gentle “go the back way” comes into your mind, or simply a feeling or knowing about a person or situation. Your intuition doesn’t scream at you or come from a place of fear or anger.

  3. Repetitive

  4. Example: A friend told me about a thought she had about her adult son. Her mind kept drifting back to thoughts of him, with no particular reason. She heard from him on occasion but nothing recently. That afternoon, he called her to chat.

  5. Short and to the Point

  6. Examples: Leave, Turn right, Call home. Sometimes just an image - you see a person and know you should call them. If you are simply thinking with your logical brain, it will be a lengthy or detailed ‘explanation.’ Your logical brain doesn’t know how to be brief!

  7. Subtle

  8. Example: Forgetting something and then finding it somewhere else cheaper or a better product; shopping for a specific item in a different place in the store - knowing it’s there.

  9. Positive

  10. Example: “start drawing again” or “say something nice to her, she needs it today.” Intuition isn’t negative and will not tell you to do something bad or that you wouldn’t normally do. It operates within your values system!

  11. Draws/Attracts OR Repels You

  12. Example: You feel drawn or pulled to a thrift or antique store, you love or totally dislike a home when you’re looking at real estate.

  13. Pops up Quickly and then Disappears

  14. Example: “You should start drawing again” or “take that course.”

  15. Varies in its Form

  16. Example: Can be signs (animal, literal, words, feelings, emotions, energy, simply a “knowing”, etc.). Three different people could walk into a room and sense that they don’t like it there. One might feel energy, another senses the emotions of people in the room (perhaps from a recent disagreement), a third kept having thoughts that they shouldn’t go or wouldn’t enjoy themselves if they went and feels confirmed when they arrive. We all receive intuitive information on different ‘radio channels.’

  17. Sometimes It seems Irrelevant

  18. Example: Hearing a repeated song on the radio, sometimes being drawn to buy something or pick up something along the road and then find out a week or two later it was exactly what was needed to complete a project.

  19. Right

  20. Guidance we receive is always correct, it is typically our interpretation of it that is the issue. Sometimes we need to look back at the question we asked to see if we were too narrow in our question. For example, I often get asked if someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend is “right for them.” Well, what does that mean? Sometimes, someone is right for us because they are the loves of our life...other times they are here to teach us something about ourselves and perhaps things end badly. Both are right for us at that time. Our intuition isn’t wrong - the question we asked was answered correctly. Sometimes we ask for guidance at a time when we’re stressed or filled with anxiety, or perhaps even have an answer already in mind. At those times, we can easily misinterpret what we receive to fit what we need or want to hear. Bottom line: we need to be in a calm, grounded place to receive and interpret our intuitive guidance!

I hope this list is helpful in sorting out the guidance and messages you receive. I know that experience with intuition and practical exercises are the most helpful in getting comfortable with your personal style of intuition. Joining an Intuition Circle is the best way I know to do that - in an environment where you are safe to explore your gift and get validation of what you're getting!

Thanks for stopping by,


Dr. Carol A. Pollio


Intuitive Investigations®

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