Is it really your intuition guiding you? Maybe it’s fear

What if that voice that’s whispering to you isn’t your inner wisdom but your inner fear, a Dragon, a Monster?

This happened to me last week.

See, despite all the problems and failures I’ve had, people think of me as “strong”. And I have to admit that I like that people think that about me.

I think of me as “strong”, even though I know my weaknesses.

This is hard because I want to talk about something without giving too many details, but I’m going to try.

Something was happening last week that felt like an old pattern, something I did not want to deal with.

I started to feel/hear “Walk away, walk away, WALK AWAY!!”

I was already starting to mourn the ending, even though I hadn’t walked away yet. Gathering the strength to do so was in itself a grieving process.

I was certain that my “inner wisdom” or intuition or whatever was telling me this was doomed to be a failure. I mean absolutely, positively certain. I was journaling about it, I was working myself up into an emotional cyclone over it. I was unable to concentrate long enough to do paid-for readings (which is unprofessional as hell).

And then something popped up in my inbox that made me shift gears.

First of all, I’m in complete inbox overwhelm lately. During the telesummit a few months ago, I had signed up for dozens of email lists and haven’t had the energy to trim them down yet. Most days I don’t read any of the emails I get, or I just glance through. Some days one or two jump out at me and say, “Read/watch/listen”, whichever is appropriate.

And one day, Christine Arylo’s Love Letter jumped out at me. I don’t know why. I hadn’t looked at her stuff in months (if you don’t know Christine, she’s built her business and reputation around self-love. She’s a bit quirky and funny. Check her out at Madly In Love With Me!)

Something in there reminded me of one of The Four Agreements – Don’t Assume. [As an aside, remind me to tell you guys about working with Don Miguel Ruiz before he became famous.]

Assuming goes two ways. Assuming you know what someone else is thinking or feeling and assuming that they know what you are thinking and feeling.

And that’s what I had been doing. I had been taking something personally that really didn’t have anything to do with me.

I was also expecting someone else to know – at a distance! – how I was feeling and pursue me to force me to tell him/her how I was feeling.

And that is not fair in so many ways.

The Voice, the one now SCREAMING, “Walk Away, WALK AWAY, WALK AWAY!” was doing all that assuming.

So, I watched Christine’s video again and sat down to compose an email.

I didn’t even know what to say or how to express what I was feeling.

But I did the best I could with it.

It was cathartic; I even cried while writing it.

I felt immensely better for writing and sending it.

I didn’t get an immediate response. I didn’t expect an immediate response.

But the longer I waited for a response, the more the Voice started up again. “See, told ya so!” it was now saying.

I was feeling panicked.

What if. . . .

What if I opened up to the wrong person at the wrong time?

What if I made myself vulnerable and received nothing in return?

Why wasn’t I listening to my intuition?

Could I handle being hurt again?

But, in my best times, I have been able to say, “Feel the fear, and do it anyway.” Push through the fear, do what you’re scared of. Yes, there’s potential for it to go wrong, to be hurt, to fail, but how do you know if you don’t try?

And then . . .  I got a response.

It was appropriate, kind, thoughtful, and genuine.

The fear bubble burst.

The Voice was gone.

That Voice was the voice of fear, NOT my intuition.

But how do you tell the difference? The Voice of fear was so strong – so much stronger than the gentle pull in the opposite direction.

Christine’s video resonated so strongly with me at exactly the right moment – that was intuition guiding me to what I needed to hear.

That voice, that guide is so quiet and gentle most of the time, it’s hard to recognize it at times.

Photo from Unprofound.com

Before you act on something, especially if it’s a negative something, or makes you panicked, stop for a moment. Breathe. Ask, “Does this act serve my highest good? Will this help me feel more fulfilled/loved/helpful/relieved or will this just hurt?”

Sometimes you need to cut people out of your life, toxic people, people who only hurt you even if it’s under the guise of helping you. Be clear about why you are doing that if you do. Make sure that it’s not based on a million what-ifs (assumptions) that haven’t even happened yet.

Be kind to yourself – ask for what you need. After all, you can’t get anywhere if you don’t move out of your comfort zone.

As I was in the middle of writing this, my new friend and Wild Sister Marylin over at Soft Thistle posted about asking for help and being vulnerable. 🙂 Same wavelength, lady!

Self Love: Feeling Worthy

A few weeks ago, Diana posted a fantastic post about feeling worthy. In it, she quoted a Facebook post by Paul Carter.

click to return to the previous page
photo from Unprofound.com
What seeds are you planting in your mind?

The greatest gift you can ever give yourself is the undying belief that you are worthy. Someone who doesn’t value their own self worth cannot fully accept anything gifted to them or anything earned.

If you do not believe you are worthy of someone’s love, you will never experience it. If you do not believe you are worthy of adoration, you will never experience it. If you do not believe you are worthy of adoration, you will never receive it. If you do not believe you are worthy of being strong you will never know it.

Inhale and grok* the belief that you are worthy of things both gifted and earned. .  .

There is a lot here.

We’ve often heard that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love someone else. But this feels .  . . more. . . somehow.

How do you change your belief in yourself so much that you feel “worthy of adoration” without becoming completely narcissistic?

And if you don’t believe it, deep down, what kind of damage does that do?

Diana talks about not liking it when her friends don’t have a sense of self-worth, when they are down on themselves. I totally understand that. When people I care about do the same thing, I can’t stand it.

For example, when C starts being down on herself, it’s really hard to watch.

Here is this exquisite, beautiful, smart-as-hell, strong, strong-willed, talented, kind, good with small children, energetic, fantastic human being. And she will get down on herself for not being good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, good at martial arts enough. She was raised with a lot of positive reinforcement, and she still has all the same emotional fragility a lot of us have.

And nothing I say helps, because it’s coming from inside.

I know I do this, too. I talked about it a little in the compliments post, learning to just say, “Thank you,” and not add qualifiers or things that diminish the compliment.

When I look at things, particularly the last 10 years, I have not believed that I was worthy. It appears that deep down, I don’t believe I deserve good things. I create crises to ensure I don’t get good things.

I do things that make my life harder. There was a point where money was a big concern, and I missed a deadline for financial aid, and lost money that I needed. It created an even bigger crises.

And I continually do things like that, create situations that turn into crises

I didn’t believe I was good enough for the dream job I had.

I didn’t believe I was smart enough for my major.

I didn’t believe I could be successful.

I didn’t believe I deserve good things.

I am still struggling with these feelings.

Every time I make a step towards something good, some success, financial security, emotional support, anything, I do something to make that thing move further away.

I can tell that I’m changing a bit now, that the inner work I’m doing is starting to bring some success. But it still feels like. . . two steps forward, one step back.

I think one thing that’s helping me is hearing all these successful people talk about their fears and insecurities. Even Oprah!

The show has taught me there is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering, and that is unworthiness. Not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for. Even people who believe they deserve to be happy and have nice things often don’t feel worthy once they have them. 
There is a difference, you know, between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness. . . . 
What I got was we often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or worthy enough.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/The-Oprah-Winfrey-Show-Finale_1/6#ixzz2QUhF9Kfk

So, how can we turn it around?

I think starting with Louise Hay’s exercise of looking in the mirror and telling yourself, “I love and accept you just the way you are.”

After all, if you can’t do that, how can someone else?

One of the things, besides Diana’s post, that brought this up for me was this TED talk, with Amy Cuddy:

Pay particular attention to what she says about “Fake it until you become it.”

I’ve always hated, “Fake it til you make it,” advice, mostly because I know people who are or have been suicidally depressed and no one around them knew it. They were certainly faking it every day.

But I love her story about her experience with impostor syndrome, especially when she was approached by a grad student with the same feelings.

If you are already doing some kind of daily (or regular) writing exercise, such as affirmations, gratitude/blessings, or just journaling, what about adding to it just a little bit? Add in one sentence with something you LIKE or even love about yourself.

  • I made someone laugh/smile today. 
  • [Name] said s/he thinks I’m awesome.
  • I figured out something important today
Whatever you can think of. I don’t think it’s easy. I’m still having trouble coming up with something to be grateful for every day. But I am adding this to my daily (well, near daily) writing.

What seeds are you planting when you talk to yourself?

What have you done to find a sense of self-worth? What have you done to help someone else feel better about themselves?

*grok – For those unfamiliar, the word comes from Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, a tale about a human child/man raised on Mars by Martians who returns to Earth and tries to figure out human society. In the book, it’s a Martian word that doesn’t translate well into any human language, but sort of means to understand something so completely that you feel it in your bones, you know it instinctually.

Creativity and "not good enough"

I have caught myself being stuck with the “not good enough” feelings lately.

I’m not a good enough writer.

I’m not a good enough teacher.

I’m not a good enough friend.

I’m nowhere near good enough to do anything creative.

I have a friend who is in a similar head-space.

Getting myself out of that space feels impossible. I try to counter it, but the position that I’m in for right now (financially, emotionally, socially) seems to confirm it.

But trying to get my friend out of that space, and suddenly I’m all optimistic. I can see the good things in life for him, but not for myself. So, I find myself listening to what I say to him.

And it’s all true for me, too.

“It’s bad/hard right now, but in a few years, it will be better.”

“Yes, you can do that, I’m certain you can. Here, let me help you.”

“People care about you.”

“You are creative, and you can totally reach your creative goals. How can I help?”

The things I’m saying to him, to inspire him, are things I need to hear.

That’s interesting, I think. How often do we do that? Give advice to someone that is just what we need to hear?

I was researching something on optimism/pessimism, and came across this fantastic piece by Ira Glass (of This American Life on NPR). Watch it. . . Listen to it. . .


Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

“Everybody who does interesting, creative work went through a phase of years where they had really good taste but they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. It didn’t have this . . . special thing. . . that we want it to have. Everybody goes through that; it’s totally normal. The most important thing you can do is a lot of work.”

 For some reason, this just really resonates with me.

I’ve told myself for years that if I was really a writer, then I would write more. But it all always sounds so stupid when I read stuff back later. It never feels “good enough” to share with others.

For years there are things I’ve wanted to do, started to outline to do, and just ended up saying, “I’m not as smart as dy/dan” or “I’m not as quirky as Havi Brooks (and her duck)” or “I’m not quite as upbeat as Leonie Dawson” or “I’m not as gutsy as Naomi Dumford.”

I’m not organized enough.

I’m not brave enough.

I’m not good enough.

I bought Havi Brooks’ Monster Manual (that’s a link to the description of the manual and coloring book, but if you’d like to buy it, please buy it through here. I just checked and the price has gone up quite a bit – it is now $60 for the basic kit, but I’m pretty sure I only paid $25) a couple of years ago to try to work through this particular Monster.

my coloring and notes

Havi calls this the:  

PUHleeeeeeze,everyone else is doing the thing you want to do better than you ever could so why even bother – really why are you still even thinking about this

Monster.

Obviously, since I haven’t done much with it in almost three years, just looking at it and coloring it didn’t help me much.

But maybe I can do something now.

The recommended method of dealing with it is to say, “Ok, so what? What if that’s true?” and go from there. . . I think I need to meditate on that for awhile.

What holds you back from doing what you want to do?