Impulse vs. Intuition in decision making: the manifestations of our Ego and True Self
In a recent consultation with one of my clients, we were talking about the value of listening to our intuition in decision making while being careful not to confuse it with impulse.
In many occasions impulse leads us astray while intuition allows us to act from a place of knowing. This is because impulse derives from our fears, our pains and what society thinks we should do while intuition is really there to guide us, protect us and develop us. Nonetheless, there is a fine line between impulse and intuition so how can we distinguish them and in which situations one is more present than the other?
In both impulse and intuition the brain is acting without conscious rational thought so it is only natural that people confuse them when taking an important decision. The main difference is that an impulse is a reaction while intuition is an instinctive understanding based on experience and cumulative knowledge. An impulse will lead you to react to an external trigger without thinking while an intuition will be a sort of an insight or truth you receive after having processed the situation at a subconscious level. To simplify it further and on a more spiritual level, impulse comes from your Ego Self while your intuition comes for your True Self. Before we can fully understand what this means lets get clear on what the Ego and True Self are.
Our Ego Self is the identity, beliefs and patterns that we associate with, as we grow old. It stems from the pains that we have interpreted as such when growing up and therefore make our personality. It is only an image of our True Self camouflaged by labels, perceptions, evaluations and judgments. Many times, our Ego Self is lacking something and is in some way looking to fill that “void”. It is often in the pursuit of success and recognition might it be through making more money, having a better relationship or being better looking for example. In the search to fill that void our Ego Self will react emotionally and impulsively to external triggers. The Ego Self is therefore characterized by the voice in our heads that is influenced by external factors and will make impulsive decisions in an attempt to fill that void.
The True Self on the other hand is our identity that is whole, loving and lovable because it is rooted in the present. It is not influenced by the pains from the past or fears of the future. The same way than when we are born, it is the part of ourselves that has no wants. It carries no wounds and therefore it wanders in the field of infinite possibilities, of creativity and of power. When we act from our True Self we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and have a natural sense of rootedness in our being. It is in this state of connection that intuition emerges and flows.
Intuition therefore stems from a very different state of being than impulse. When we are intuitive we are connected, we feel whole and serene. When we are impulsive however we are acting, or might I say reacting, to our past wounds and acting from a place of fear. Often this leads us to take actions that we latter regret and have to work hard to change our course of action. Unfortunately, impulse can easily override our intuition signals. This is why intuition, just like a muscle, should be developed so it can become stronger over time.
Considering that impulse stems from your Ego Self and intuition from your True Self, to develop further your intuition we have to adopt practices that nurture us and allow us to connect to this deeper sense of Self. Therefore, simple practices like meditation, self-care and taking the time to unwind and attend to our personal needs will not only increase our wellbeing but will also allow us to make better decisions by allowing intuition to flow.