“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.” – Lao Tzu

One of the greatest things about getting older is also becoming wiser. Even the dullest among us hardly makes it to midlife without learning a few lessons from the hard knocks that life seems to be so adept at dishing out. I like to think we are all souls having a “human experience” for the purpose of learning lessons that make us better souls.

Several years ago, I started going to therapy to help me deal with my father’s terminal illness. I began a journey of learning about the tools I have to not only cope with grief, but also to grow; to learn from experiences that I perceive as “negative” and to guard my peace from people who would disturb it.

Each of those tools and how I’ve learned to use them could be their own column because my experiences have been rich. But, the tool that has been on my mind lately is that of our intuition.

As I reflect on the mistakes and bad decisions I have made in the past, I can see a pattern of me seeing my intuition as a barrier, not a helper.

Because of my background in a fundamental evangelical church, I mistook my intuition for something like being sinfully judgmental.

When my intuition made me feel a certain way about someone based on the things that they were saying or doing, I would almost instantly feel guilty about it because I was “judging” them or perhaps I was “projecting” from a past experience and not giving the person the benefit of a doubt.

When you have had to overcome your past and you felt the warmth and love from people who didn’t judge you, you become much more of a grace-giver to others. So, when new people in my life would tell me about the things they’ve done in their past, I wanted to give them the gift of my unconditional love and acceptance. I set my judgments aside and let them have a fresh start with me.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful and benevolent of me?

It wasn’t. In fact, it was the suck!

I ended up inviting every type of drama-filled scenario into my life. My peace was non-existent and I was unable to see that the common thread in all of the friendships and relationships I had with people who were destroying my peace was that I had ignored my intuition about them.

I could actually go back to specific conversations with people and recall things that they said to me that revealed the thing about themselves that I really needed to know to protect myself, yet I chose to ignore it. In so doing, my life became a whirlwind of drama, liars, addicts, alcoholics, cheaters and all of the bad junk those people were attached to.

Last year, I made a decision that I was going to change this one thing about how I make decisions regarding who gets my time and energy. Although I still struggle with some guilt about not knowing “for certain” if someone is really good or bad for me, I’m getting much more comfortable with trusting my gut. I now experience the peace of knowing that I have a badass tool, that I’ve become skilled at using it and now see results.

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