We are all hard-wired with both intuition and ego. Both serve important purposes, but they come from very different sources and frequently offer conflicting advice. Deciphering between the two can be confusing, but there are tell-tale signs to clue you in to the source of your nudges.
What is Ego?
Ego is the term commonly used to refer to the fear-based part of your physical mind that questions thoughts and actions. I sometimes refer to it is as the “small mind” for two reasons: it has significantly less resources than your intuition and (not surprisingly) the result of its nudgings often keep you small.
The ego is the part of your physical mind concerned with your immediate physical safety, protection from embarrassment, or shelter from disappointment. It zeroes in on the possibility of negative outcomes and manipulates your greatest fears and insecurities to encourage you to avoid them at all costs. If the ego had its way, humans would still hide in caves sheltered from the threat of saber-toothed tigers.
What is Intuition?
Intuition is your innate communication with your soul, spirit guides, and Universal Consciousness. If ego is the small mind, then intuition is the infinite mind. Your intuition has access to all there is to be known in the Universe. You may think of intuition as the voice of God or angels that whispers to you.
Intuition is not part of your physical mind; it is part of your eternal soul. As such, it does not die with the physical body like the ego does. And so, intuition has a long-term focus on your eternal spiritual progress.
How can we tell the difference?
Although the voices of intuition and ego seem similar to the beginner, there are tips and tricks for understanding which is which:
Re-Directive, Not Negative
Ego often sounds like a negative Nelly dishing out judgments and poo-pooing your ideas. It says things like: You’re not smart enough to do that, no one will buy that product, or you don’t have the resources to make that happen.
Your intuition, however, takes the high road even when the intent is to steer you away from a particular situation; it almost always focuses on the positive. Let’s say, for example, you are considering a career change that ultimately isn’t right for you. If you receive a nudge or a feeling that stirs fear and anxiety in your gut, that is your ego fearing change regardless of the outcome. Your ego, on the other hand, will communicate a negative response in a very different way; it may focus on how to find happiness in your current career or it may redirect you toward a third option you had not yet considered. Your intuition does not usually deliver a flat-out no. It almost always steers you toward the choice that is the most expansive.
Encouraging, Not Fear-Inducing
Ego is fear-based; it intends to protect you from potential harm at all costs. Stage fright is a good example of this as it is created by the ego with little logical backing. Ego will manipulate your insecurities in an attempt to convince you not to present in front of the group because you’ll be ridiculed for your views or suffer a heart attack before you can even make your main point. It seeks out the worst case scenario and convinces you it is safer where you are.
Intuition is focused on expansion and growth. Because it focuses on your long-term ascension as a soul being, your intuition believes in you and encourages you to overcome those fear-based nudges and go for it.
Soft, Not Loud
It’s a little cliché, but your ego and intuition can be likened to the angel and devil on your shoulder. The ego voice is booming, interruptive, and demanding.
Meanwhile, the sweet intuition voice politely waits its turn, speaks softly, and is merely suggestive. The intuition does not issue ultimatums or demands; it is not nagging or pushy. If you are feeling pressured or judged, you are hearing your ego voice—not your intuition.
Instantaneous, Not Forced
One of the tell-tale ways to differentiate between ego and intuition is the speed at which the nudgings come to you.
Your ego mind is part of your physical brain, so it requires brain power and conscious thought to exist. But intuition finds its power by being eternally plugged in to divine consciousness. You may receive an intuitive hit about your love life while you are balancing your checkbook or about your career while you are mowing the lawn. Intuition often finds its way to us when our minds are engaged in other tasks.
The goal is not to silence your ego mind but to arm yourself with the knowledge to recognize it, make peace with it, and to rise above it. Your intuition has your back if you will only trust it.