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Living Your Best Life: Tapping Into the Wisdom of Your Inner Knowing

What exactly is your inner knowing?  This is synonymous with what others might call self-confidence, intuition, trusting your gut, living in alignment, the voice within…Regardless of how we refer to it, being in touch with our inner knowing means that we look towards ourselves for guidance and validation.  It’s the belief that no one can truly know what is best for us other than ourselves as no two people are the same. 

Does this mean that we have it all figured it out or that we can’t ever look to others for guidance or find mentorship from those that have achieved what we want in life?  Of course not!  Trusting our inner knowing means that we know we aren’t perfect and that we trust ourselves to ask for help when we need it.  The difference here is that the way we move through life is we first look towards ourselves for guidance, wisdom, and validation BEFORE turning towards other for assistance.  This is oftentimes the opposite of how we’re taught to do things though.  

So how do we get to that point of turning inwards first and outwards secondly? Read on….

Does Everyone Have an Inner Knowing?

Some people feel that they truly do not have an inner knowing or cannot trust themselves to make any decisions.  Maybe they are feeling a sense of shame about decisions they’ve made in life or feel that they are impulsive or whatever the fill in the blank is that has caused them to believe that others have it all figured it out and that they can never get there.  This is simply not true and this is where the importance of really discovering how our past experiences have impacted us and continue to dictate how we show up in life is so crucial.  

When we have not developed this awareness, and worked through processing those past experiences, then oftentimes it is not our grounded, solid, inner knowing that is guiding us in life.  It is our dysregulated nervous system that has developed the belief that we are not safe or certain protector parts of us that are well-meaning but cause us to react and act out of past wounding.  It is the societal, cultural, gender, religious, family of origin, etc conditioning that has programmed us to believe that we must show up, act in the “right” way, and live a life that others have deemed appropriate for us, even if that prescribed life or way of being is not in alignment with who we are at our core.

How This Happens

Some people think that it is only those childhoods that are abusive or consisted of Big T traumatic events that have an impact on us and how we move through the world as we become adults. This is simply not true…no one gets out of childhood free of impact, good or bad.  It might be easier to imagine how those things we as a society have deemed as traumatic or abusive can impact someone and it is often trickier to identify how we may have been taught to abandon our inner knowing since it is often done in less obvious and even what some might view as well-meaning ways. 

Think about it, how might you imagine it impacts a child if they are upset about something (maybe they got physically hurt, or got their feelings hurt by another kiddo, etc) and they are told something along the lines of, “you’re okay, it wasn’t that bad” or “you’re being too sensitive” or “you survived” or “I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way” or “stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.” 

Or another example of this might look like a kiddo not wanting to give someone else a hug or a kiss or even feel comfortable spending time with a certain family member or family friend but they’re told by their caregivers to, “just do it anyways” or “you don’t want to hurt ______’s feelings, do you?” or “it’s not that big of a deal, it’s just a hug/kiss, this is what families do.”   

The last example (although there are many others) that  I’ll give that falls into the “well-meaning/more common” category is the kiddo that wants to pursue some sort of career or dream but they are told things like, “that won’t make any money” or “that’s a waste of a degree” or “good luck with that, that’s not going to get you anywhere in life.” 

Again, I want to reiterate that these are common things that many of us heard as kids and our parents, caregivers, whoever it was probably thought that they were helping us become strong, polite, and successful adults by making these types of comments.  They also probably heard many of these things as they were growing up and assumed that this is how parents are.  This is where it’s important to hold space for both the fact that many parents, caregivers, family of origin members were well-meaning and did the best that they could AND they are not perfect humans AND sometimes their best still had a negative impact on us. 

Regardless of the why or the specific statements that were made, or actions that were taken, these types of statements have common themes of how they leave us feeling.  Those include:

1.  We cannot trust ourselves

2. Our feelings, wants, or needs are not valid

3. Others know better than we do about the path we should take in life

4. It’s too risky to follow our inner knowing because it might lead to being exiled from the group or others withdrawing from our relationship

How This Shows Up

What can be so tricky about trying to identify how this is showing up in our adult lives is that we live in a society that for a very long time, and continues to do so, promotes a sense of abandoning your inner knowing and even rewards people for doing so.  

Think about it, the person that often over gives and is in constant service to others, even to the detriment of their own well-being, is seen as “selfless and giving.”  

The person that constantly overworks to the point where they can’t even enjoy the fruits of their labor and hates their job but makes a certain amount of money is seen as “successful and hard-working.”  

The person that doesn’t give in to the “temptation of their sinful desires” and continues to live a life that others have deemed as “the righteous, free of sin path” but feels miserable and depressed is seen as “holy and good.” 

What’s even more challenging about this dynamic is that we as humans are a social species and the thought of being exiled from the tribe can feel like life or death.  As children, this is certainly true as we need adults to help provide for us and to help us survive.  Once upon a time not that long ago, this was even true as we moved into adulthood.  This is why the threat of others withdrawing love, support, or validation feels so scary to us. 

Regardless of how depressed, anxious, physically sick, miserable, addicted, or even sometimes suicidal self-abandoning can make us feel, we believe that if we have the approval of others, we must be on the right path.  So, we keep staying at the same miserable job, we stay in the unhappy relationship, we keep people-pleasing our way through life, we keep hiding parts of our identity…all to the detriment of our health and wellness.

How to Break This Cycle

The first step to changing any sort of pattern of behavior or old ways of operating is having awareness that there is an issue of some sort.  Until we are at a place where we have accepted that things do not feel good for us and the responsibility falls on us to do something about it, we’ll keep remaining stagnant.  One of the reasons I believe people don’t take this first step or might not stick with it is because this is not easy or always comfortable work to do.  

The fear of what we might uncover if we start diving into getting to know ourselves better and revisiting the past can also feel terrifying.  Therefore, it is crucial when we start anything new or pursue a goal that we get really clear on our why and that it feels important enough to stick with the work, even during the hard times.  Maybe your why is you don’t want to feel depressed every day or you don’t want your children to have to struggle with the same things you have struggled with.  Whatever it is, get clear on it and keep it at the forefront of your mind. 

The second step is to find a modality of healing that works for you.  This can be therapy, coaching, psychedelic-assisted therapy, journaling and meditation…whichever option you choose it ideally is:

 1) helping you figure out why you do the things you do and processing past experiences that are keeping you stuck 

2) teaching you how to be present and mindful so you can be aware of where old patterning is showing up 

3) figuring out how you want to show up instead of how you used to 

4) sticking with it, even when life gets hard.  This step takes the longest as this is not an overnight process! 

The third step is practice, practice, practice!  None of us are perfect and regardless of how far you get on this path of healing, you will stumble, fall back, or question yourself.  This is all completely normal and part of the process AND it doesn’t mean that you give up or that it’s all for nothing.  This is where having a guide, therapist, or coach can be especially useful as they can serve as the reminder that we often need of this step. 

Next Steps…

How do you feel after reading all of this?  All feelings and parts are welcome!  Getting honest with ourselves about things like this can be tough and feel overwhelming…the good news is you don’t have to do it all alone!  

If this post resonates with you and you are interested in beginning the journey of becoming conscious and reclaiming your inner knowing as you heal from within, I would love to talk more with you to see if I might be the right fit to help you embark on this journey.   Feel free to send me a email or give me a call.  If I’m not the right guide for you, I also love helping people find a person that is the right fit for them so please do not hesitate to reach out!  I look forward to hearing from you!