Is it my intuition or is it my resistance? Here’s how to know the difference.

On the one hand, there’s listening to your body, your inner wisdom, your gut feelings, your intuition, or really whatever you want to call your divine instinct.

And then on the other, there’s resistance.

What’s the difference?

This is something I grapple with daily.

I’m a worker. I can push through and produce. I can caffeinate and make it happen if I need to. I get off on productivity.

When I’m getting a signal that it’s time to take a break, call off the event, or not move forward on a project, I get suspicious.

But I’ve found that when I heed that signal, I’m rewarded time after time.


Resistance is when you spend two hours on Facebook instead of facing the blank page when you’ve made a commitment to write.

Resistance is being “too busy” to exercise when you have a very clear desire to care for your body.

Resistance is saying no when your friend wants to set you up with someone when you’ve tearfully shared with her that your deepest longing is for romantic love.

Resistance is succumbing to the details of your business and allowing them to prevent you from moving forward when you have a clear goal to break six figures this year.

Divine Instinct

Listening to your divine instinct is canning a project just before it goes live because the marketing feels really inauthentic.

Listening to your divine instinct is saying no to a great opportunity, even if it’s really shiny and fancy sounding, because it just doesn’t feel right.

Listening to your divine instinct is turning left when everyone else is turning right.

Listening to your divine instinct is canceling a meeting because you’re actually not that excited about the connection and, quite frankly, you could really use a nap.

Here’s an easy rule of thumb:

When we listen to our divine instinct we feel better. When we let resistance lead we may feel short-term gratification but, ultimately, we feel worse.

twitter_standingListening to your divine instinct is self-care. Resistance is self-sabotage. (Tweet it.)


What’s your divine destination?
Where are you headed in this precious life?
What do you really, really want?

Resistance is your sneaky little pseudo-safety mechanism preventing you from moving toward that which you truly desire.

Your divine instinct, however, knows the way and is ready to lead you if you’ll simply listen.

Over to you:

How do you distinguish between resistance and your divine instinct? How do you feel when you let resistance take the lead? How do you feel when you let the divine take the lead?

Leave a comment below  – I’d love to hear your experience with this one.


  • This one’s a keeper, Kate! I’m printing it out and posting it on my wall — the difference between resistance and divine instinct. And you so beautifully told us exactly what it is — one feels good and one doesn’t.

    I know I’m into resistance when I close down any inquiry on my part and go on automatic pilot. For example, when I just head to the fridge and pull out something to eat and very deliberately don’t allow my self-questioning process (are you really hungry? is this really what your body wants?), then I know I’m in resistance and not following my divine instinct. In fact, I’m deliberately blocking my divine instinct!

    Divine instinct usually comes in a quick flash of insight or a quick idea/thought, and my first, initial reaction is, “Well, yes, of course.” There’s an internal nodding of heads going on — almost a feeling of expansion as each part of me checks in and gives something the thumbs-up. There’s no blocking or shutting down going on — quite the contrary. There’s a heightened sense of awareness.

    Thanks for a great post, Kate. And timely too!

  • sabah

    This really resonated with me. I am definitely very resistant to a lot of things that potentially could help me grow and prosper. I don’t really understand the mechanics of my thinking, especially with procrastination. But thanks for this post. Been aware of my resistance issue is a step in the right direction.

  • Christine

    Thank you… The difference between Resistance/Instinct. Couldn’t be more simple. Fixing the problem however…. That’s a bit more complicated. My little voice has been telling me for YEARS that this is NOT the life I want to live. I have been in a constant state of resistance because EVERYTHING has to change.
    September 7th. Will be my15th. anniversary with my (still just) boyfriend. Do I need to say anything more?

    • Kate

      Christine, thanks for your comment. The way to fix it is to simply act. There’s no thinking involved. Today, simply choose a different action than you’ve chosen before. The cool thing is that once you start to act in spite of resistance it becomes easier every time!

    • Kim

      There is nothing wrong with it if it is what you both want. I sense it isn’t, and you are allowing something to keep happening, and what you really want is not.

      Set your boundaries, voice your needs…..if there is inaction then you have your path of action. Hugs

  • Thanks, Kate. This is something I grapple with as well. I’ve come to see that resistance has that feeling of “contraction” to it. The fear gremlins are setting up camp and taking over. Divine instinct has an “expansive” feeling to it, with an easy breathing aspect and a contented knowing-ness… That all is well.

  • Catherine

    Hilariously I read your email, while I was resisting writing some new material for my website!! So thank you for the kick in the butt, I’m going to take the comedic irony of the universe into my writing this afternoon!

    Deep Gratitude and Belly Laughs

    Catherine x

  • Danielle Hendrickson

    AH! I freaking LOVE this. I needed to hear this today. Your message was sent from Above. You’re an angel!

  • Jackie K

    I ask myself daily – What am I avoiding today? How and why?
    Yes,resistance rears its head frequently! I love your distinction between Divine Intuition and Resistance. Thank you!

  • Ronda


    You have no idea how timely this article was for me. For the past year I have been preparing for grad school. I jumped through all the hoops, was registered for classes, and was even given a TA position in which the university would waive my tuition. 48 hours before classes started I began to feel like this wasn’t the right path for me. I spent two days in prayer, meditation, turmoil and vacillating between the two choices. After talking with three different people whom I trust and respect I decided to put school on hold. After I informed the school of my decision and dropped classes then the real anguish started. “Did I make the right decision, did I just throw away an incredible opportunity?” I asked for guidance again and then I found this article. After reading your article I now know that I listened to divine instinct and that this was not resistance. You articulated this so beautifully that you gave me such peace of mind. I also love what Carol Hess says about being on autopilot instead of engaging in a self-questioning process. This was so what I needed to today. I am in tears with gratitude. Blessings to you.

  • Kate,
    I agree with all the comments. I too am resisting. The voice in my head says start your own business. I have started my website but I let the part-time job, the household chores, etc. get in the way. Thanks for the push in the right direction!

  • DiaNE

    Kate, This was such a fortuitous moment receiving your email. I just recently ( less than a week )have been blessed with meeting a man who is very much what i asked God to bring me and i’m freaking out !A girl friend set us up after i told her i was ready for a Life Partner.( Been three years since my divorce) Now my FEAR is creeping in and i want to run away ! So I prayed to God last night to show me why and what i’m doing and along your email came this am !
    So i’m gonna feel the fear , breathe and move through it not against it. Always growth. Thanks

  • Oh yes, my good friend Resistance. I haven’t yet mastered how to acknowledge its presence and send it on its way, although I get closer every day. I like where you drew your lines on resistance vs intuition. Makes perfect sense and definitely reflects my day-to-day.

  • Connie

    How did you know I spent two hours on Facebook this morning, LOL?! I love your examples of the difference between resistance and intuition because I, too, grapple with that one, and those are beautiful, concrete examples. Thank you, Kate!

  • Oh how I love this article! I am constantly wondering the same thing. You articulated it so well. If we tune into our bodies and inner guides, we know instantly whether we’re receiving intuition or resistance. So true. Thank you for your wisdom – I love your work! :)

  • Tara

    I feel like you wrote this one for me! Thank you so so much! I love you bunches!

  • This is a great post Kate! I’ve always had very strong intuition. And most of the time I follow “my gut”. But there are definitely moments where against my better judgement, I take on too much, spend the money, meetup with someone – and I end up feeling crappy afterwards.
    It’s a hard distinction to make (resistance vs. divine instinct) but I’ve found that if I take time, like really, really take time and think about the decision, my divine instinct wins every time.
    There’s something about taking my time with a decision. Allowing myself the space to really listen to my intuition, that makes things a lot simpler. :)

  • I call this my higher power and it always leads me in the right direction. Resistance is when I listen to others instead of myself and that always leads to a bad decision. I’ve been reading about resistance today from Esther and Jerry Hicks and their belief about resistance keeping us on a low vibrational level that will keep us from receiving what we want.

  • Ahh Resistance – leads to self abuse through negative thoughts and actions.
    Following my intuition feels open and allowing, in flow and co creating – its not just all about me. I feel held and supported, empowered.
    Now to listen to my own advise.

  • Franzi

    PERFECT Timing. I was thinking about this question a lot lately! Thank you so much for the post. I love you and your writing! So easy, so on point and so authentic.

    You are freaking awesome Kate!

    (Please publish another book sooon!!) :-)


  • I love this Kate! As an epic pursuer of “shiny new things” the interplay between resistance and intuition is a constant in my life. Your point about short-term gratification and long-term harm is spot on. I always take a few quiet moments to project myself in to the future and envision the results of choice A vs. choice B. Resistance is a nasty devil and can disguise itself as opportunity.

  • Completely brilliant.

  • Hazel Daley

    I totally agree with your statements. I’ve had many opportunities to follow my divine instinct and at times haven’t listened and regretted it and other times when I have listened have had wonderful results.
    Thank you I enjoy receiving your emails which helps me to evaluate my choices in life.

  • I perked up when I saw this email! I was so excited to hear your take on it, Kate. I so appreciate your clarity.

    I struggle with a lot of resistance, especially in writing. The blank page is somehow one of the scariest and most daunting things for me…

    I look at the difference between divine instinct and resistance as what is TRUE and what’s NOT TURE. Truth feels kind and lying hurts. I love your term, “sneaky little pseudo-safety mechanism.” It is SNEAKY! And it is pseudo… because it hurts in the long run, like you say.

    Love all the comments, they’ve added so much insight. I’ve got my sneaky-pseudo RADAR on!

  • Kate, I LOVE this post because I think this distinction is a continual lesson and journey. On one hand, I like the saying I’ve heard of “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s hell no.” BUT, for both me and a lot of my therapy clients, moving in the direction of the life they wanted included a lot of resistance because of all the fear and uncertainty and risk involved. So, I think following our intuition also includes willingness to plod through at times. It doesn’t always feel magical and flowing. But I think you’re right — if there’s an excess of procrastinating (facebook!), that’s one of my clues that my intuition isn’t really on board.

  • Heather

    I got tickets two months in advance to see a speaker/teacher who is so full of divine love and so generous with It. It is clearly NOT resistance to see her speak, for I drove for six hours to see her last time when she was in the area, and it was more than worth it. However, this time, my husband was having slight complications from a minor surgery a couple days ago. This time, going to see the speaker/teacher would have been resistance from being scarred to face what might be not right at the moment with my husband’s health. I can feel the teacher’s love, like calling me. However, if I were to answer that now, I know it is also resistance because staying to make sure my husband is ok is what feels right in spite of the loving pull I feel to go. Thanks for the article. It is incredibly helpful!

  • Confused

    I think that being aware of the distinction between resistance and intuition is definitely helpful when contemplating choices in life. But it is still so hard to see past what might only be initial relief, to predict our future feelings of joy if we persevere through our present feelings of discomfort. I totally agree with Valerie Martin above. Just because something is difficult or unpleasant, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is our intuition telling us to change. It may just be our ego or our conscious mind, rather than our sub-conscious or higher self. (???)
    I’m struggling at the moment trying to decide whether or not to persevere with my education degree. I’m anxious about having to do practical components, I’m loathing group assessment pieces, and procrastination has been my study story. I would definitely be glad to have the degree completed, but is it the right path for me? I’m not sure. Am I resisting as I’m persisting? Or should I persist for a dream to exist?

  • Elena

    I am intrigued by an experience of a friend of mine shared with me today :

    Few years back, she was offered a great job. At that moment her intuition told her not to accept the job.She was proud of her choice,didn’t have ANY regrets. And after a couple of years, she discovered that she actually self sabotaged herself.
    Now she doesn’t believe in intuition anymore, because what she felt is right at one moment, later she found out that it wasn’t right at all.

    I just don’t understand…my intuition NEVER failed me

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