If you’re a modern-day Cassandra whose predictions about the future often turn out to be correct, chances are you’re more than a little intuitive. You may have an uncanny ability to seek out really wonderful friends (and avoid potentially draining ones), and it’s possible that you’ve been able to correctly “guess” the genders of your friends’ unborn children on several occasions.
These aspects of being intuitive are all well and good, but there are downsides to every ability, aren’t there? Whether it’s because you have a really awful feeling that something terrible is happening to someone you care about, or that you know you’ll be fired as soon as you walk into work that day, a finely tuned sense of intuition can make a stressful situation so much worse. Knowing something bad in advance and having to wait until it plays out causes a ridiculous amount of anxiety, and it can’t just be brushed off as having an overactive imagination.
Whether you’re the intuitive or you’re close friends with one, chances are that you (or they) have encountered at least a few of these difficulties on numerous occasions:
1. Intuitives Know When People Are Lying To Them
Most people will occasionally experience the awareness that someone is lying to them, but intuitive folks will know for a fact when it’s happening. This is difficult enough when it’s a partner or parent doing the lying, since that can cause serious trust issues on so many levels, but it can be even more frustrating when the liar is in a position of authority.
When you know that your boss is lying to your face, you can’t exactly call them out on it because you might get your ass fired. Confronting a professor about a lie can result in a failed class, and we won’t even get into what can happen if the liar is someone in law enforcement.
As far as being intuitive goes, ignorance really can be bliss.
2. Dreams Often Literally Come True
If you’ve ever had a dream that ended up coming true, chances are it might have creeped you out a little bit, despite the coolness factor. Imagine that happening all the time, from dreaming about spilling your coffee at the café you visit regularly to precognitive visions of people’s deaths. It can be several shades of difficult and frightening, and can cause a lot of anxiety when it comes to getting decent sleep.
Some intuitives make a point of taking sleeping pills or other drugs in an attempt to sleep dreamlessly, simply because it can be exhausting to constantly wonder if the dreams they had were just random images, or scenes of imminent doom.
You see, when your dreams come true on a regular basis, images that could be brushed off as silly imaginings by the average person can instead be a real cause for concern.
They can be useful as well, especially if others will listen to you if/when you mention your worries to them, but most people will either laugh off dreamtime visions as ridiculous, or be seriously unnerved when they come true. As such, the dreamer is often forced to choose between scaring people off with their “weirdness”, or remaining silent and carrying that burden alone.
3. Intuition, Although Powerful, Is Rarely Valued
How can you convince your boss or spouse that a particular decision or direction is the correct one to choose because it “feels” right? In a world that values logical, fact-based explanations, having a finely developed sense of intuition is often more of a bane than a blessing.
Intuitive guidance doesn’t carry the gravitas that rational thought does, and is interpreted as being biased and arbitrary rather than a potential course of action. Even when you know (absolutely know) that a decision is the right one, the lack of supporting resources and evidence can often render your feelings and insights invalid.
…Oh, and later, saying “I told you so” makes YOU the jerk.
4. They Can’t Fake Enthusiasm When They Know Something Won’t Work Out
Have you ever just had a gut feeling that something wasn’t going to work out the way you hoped it would, but were pleasantly surprised when it did? Well, intuitive people tend to have a really solid awareness of when something is going to go to hell, and it’s very rarely a case of just being pessimistic.
It’s really difficult, if not altogether impossible, to feign enthusiasm in a job interview or on a date when you know for a fact that nothing will develop further, and the other person is just going through the motions.
5. Being Hyper-Aware Is Overwhelming
Awareness of just how much crap is going on all around can put an intuitive person into sensory overload. Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve been in a department store or Best Buy or something and seen a massive wall of TVs, all blaring different programs. Imagine experiencing that on a daily basis, except instead of just seeing images, you’re sensing other people’s thoughts and emotions, and also tapping into the potential for good and not so good in all of their lives.
We are all so conditioned to believe that rational thought is the only valid source of answers and action, that intuitive people often second-guess themselves when it comes to making a decision. It can be very difficult to navigate the middle ground between just “knowing” that a direction is the right one to choose, and feeling the need to justify that with a logical explanation.
Have you ever seen courses about “trusting your intuitive guidance” in colleges and universities? How about “critical thinking”? There you go.
7. Other People Can Become Leeches
The vast majority of highly intuitive people are also very empathic and compassionate. Being able to tap into others’ energy and emotions means that there’s a lot more room for understanding and empathizing with their pain. As such, intuitives often have a deep desire to help others… and that can be taken advantage of. Often.
Intuitives need to learn how to care for themselves before they care for others, and part of that includes learning when to back away from those who deplete them.
If you’re highly intuitive and full of self-doubt, know that you’re not alone: there are many others just like you out there. It can be a bit nerve-wracking to “come out” as intuitive since so many people dismiss this ability, but if you can find your tribe, you’ll find yourself surrounded by others who sense and see things in the same way that you can.
Similarly, if you are close friends or partners with someone who’s incredibly intuitive, you can support them by believing in them, and encouraging them to trust in their own abilities. Few things are as comforting as having those close to us believe in us, even when we have trouble believing in ourselves.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.