One of your most effective but least used defensive tools is one you were born with called intuition or “sixth sense.” Intuition is always right in two important ways: First, it is a response to something you should be paying attention to and take notice. Second, your intuition will guide you toward what’s in your best interest.
Unlike worry, intuition will not waste your time. Learning to “trust your gut” will be your top safety skill. Some of the messengers of intuition are nagging premonitions, persistent thoughts, humor, wonder, anxiety, curiosity, hunches, gut feelings, doubt, hesitation, suspicion, apprehension, and fear.
Your intuition indicates that you understand more about a situation than you consciously realize. Intuition records details of encounters that you don’t notice and can pick up on energy that scientists don’t even fully understand. Science has proven that the physical body you see is only .0001% physical matter and the remaining 99.9999% is energy, and reading the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza, reminded me of this. Isn’t that profound? You are mostly energy and not matter! You can pick up on someone’s intentions, whether they are good or evil. Your intuition will try to communicate the unseen and unknown to you in a very subtle but effective way. Google the phrase “intuition as the highest form of intelligence,” and you will likely find many researched articles. Intuition is a clear understanding of collective intelligence.
You get in trouble when you ignore your instincts and start judging based on someone’s outward appearance. Do not judge somebody on how they look or their profession. In post-attack interviews, victims report they initially had a “bad feeling” but then second-guessed themselves and thought it would be wise to trust the person. They all said in retrospect that they should have believed their initial feelings.
I recommend reading The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, to learn more about intuition and predict human behavior. The advice in this book will help you in all areas of your life and keep you safe.
An exercise in The Gift of Fear is using “contrasting options”. This is a powerful assessment tool that you can use in nearly any scenario. “Contrasting options” is when you force yourself to not only assume the good, but see the opposite side as well.
Here’s an example:
A man walking slowly speeds up when he sees you, and proceeds to make a beeline for you. He asks you for the time. He is doing this because:
A. He doesn’t have a watch or phone and no one else can help him with the time except you. Or…
B. He is asking a question to distract you before he takes your purse. (Pretty Loaded students and our blog readers know this predator technique called “The Interview”.)
In Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Talking to Strangers, he explains how humans default to the truth when meeting a stranger. Your operating assumption is that the people you are dealing with are honest and good. Any doubts that come up are not enough to trigger people out of this Truth-Default theory, especially if what the person is doing or saying is a mismatch of how you think they should be acting. If your gut sends you any doubt or suspicion about a person, this is a red flag.
Have you ever relied on “gut feelings” or intuition in your life? Perhaps you didn’t have hard evidence to support your feelings, but your hunches turned out to be right, didn’t they?
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Beth is the founder of Pretty Loaded. On a mission to install strength, awareness, and confidence, Beth began her journey as an educator and speaker after a close encounter with a would-be predator. She has trained thousands of people in person, and through her online training around the world. Beth loves spending her time reading, running, cooking, and painting. She is married and has four wonderful young girls, organic chickens, and lives on an organic produce farm and vineyard.