I think of intuition as a guide to our most authentic self. When we can trust ourselves, we can follow our intuition where it leads us and in turn, we can be the truest version of ourselves. Our lives feel freer, more intentional and purposeful. We spread joy and comfort to others by bringing unique beauty, solutions, perspective, and genuine presence.
Throughout my 10 years of teaching both commercial art and creativity to adults, I’ve noticed something about women and intuition. A pattern I’ve seen in my classes are students who’ve been assigned female gender at birth are more likely to second guess themselves, not follow their own inner guidance and ask permission to go ahead with an idea. They need to make sure they’re prescribing to the rules. One of my students told me “no one has ever given me permission to pursue the idea that I wanted to”. My student’s assigned male gender at birth are more likely to do what they want, have confidence, break the rules, not listen to feedback, and follow their gut. I’ll admit this is a generalization but I’ve seen it over and over again in my classroom.
We tend to think that women are more likely to follow their intuition than men. We’ve all heard the phrase “women’s intuition”, and there’ve even been studies showing that women as a whole are more in tune with non-verbal cues, empathy, and even precognition. If this is true, shouldn’t we be able to create a life we love and bring incredible things in the world?
Yet, when I read about the world's most intuitive people, there are rarely any women listed.
If you need a guidebook on how women can take back their authenticity, Glennon Doyle’s new book Untamed nails it. In it, she shares about how boys are taught to look inside themselves for answers and girls are taught to look to others. She gives an example of a time that she walked into the living room where her kids and their friends were hanging out. She asked, “Anybody hungry?” The boys immediately answered “YES” and the girls looked at each other for a while as if gathering information in order to make a decision. Boys are encouraged to take chances, speak up and “trust their gut”, women are told that trusting ourselves is dangerous.
As women we’re taught we can’t depend on our own ideas, our emotions, our bodies. We don’t take chances, we try to follow the rules, we dismiss our needs and our feelings. We’ve been ignoring our intuition for so long in favor of doing “the right thing” for our kids, our friends, our family, and the world that everything feels like a struggle. The reason why it feels like a struggle is because we’re pushing against our own knowing. Our intuitive nudges lead us to curiosity, which leads us to authentic motivation and brilliant solutions. Without this, we’re trying to motivate ourselves by following someone else’s rules, and many times, these rules don't create the solutions we uniquely need. We’ve replaced our inner knowing for what the influencer is selling, the latest diet, mom guilt, or the hustle.
But what would happen if we asked our intuition for the solution instead of looking to google first?
I’m so passionate about helping others to listen to their inner voice because it took me so long to get there myself. I spent my entire life and career doing “the right thing” and ignoring that powerful, yet subtle voice inside myself. This caused so much physical and mental stress inside of me that it led to breakdown after breakdown. I know that my life would have been a lot smoother, more fun, and I would have gotten to a place of authenticity a lot faster if I could have trusted myself with large and small decisions.
Your intuition is like the GPS that keeps you on the path instead of getting lost on detour after detour.
I finally decided that I’d had enough of the struggle to keep in line. For the last two years I’ve practiced asking my intuition about everything from “what do I want to eat right now?” to “what is my highest purpose?” and what I learned confounded my strong analytical side. My intuition is faster, kinder, more honest, more fun, easier, healthier, costs less, makes more money, and is more reliable than my logical mind. Also, it always, always chooses the best path for me.
This is the perfect time to get quiet and listen to what that voice has to say. It takes time and patience to develop trust with yourself, just like any relationship. Try starting small by asking yourself what you really want to eat or how to schedule your day and listen deeply. The more you practice, the more it will become second nature and you will trust yourself with the big decisions.
Women have powerful, empathetic, courageous, insightful solutions, ideas, and art that will never be shared unless we learn to trust ourselves. What will teach our daughters? Will we tell them how they “should” be or will we tell them to follow their truth because the world needs them.
“What the world needs is more women who have quit fearing themselves and started trusting themselves. What the world needs is masses of women who are entirely out of control.” — Glennon Doyle, Untamed
Esther Loopstra is an artist, educator, and mentor who gives individuals and businesses the tools to tap into their higher potential through intuition and innovation in order to create endless possibilities and fulfilling opportunities. She will be teaching an online workshop on April 22nd about how to learn to trust your intuition in a practical way every day. For more information go to
Art by Maggie Stephenson