Why Self-Trust is a Feminist Issue
Growing up, I was super into things like candle magic, astrology, and pentacles without ever being taught about them - something inside me just knew I was magical (we all are) and wanted to explore what that meant.
I was smitten with a metaphysical shop we'd visit each summer in New Hampshire without knowing what it was or why I was drawn to it... until I visited as an adult and realized it’s 100% in line with where I am now (spoiler alert: there were crystals, Tarot cards, pendulums, candles, Boho clothes, intuitive readings - all the things I’m into today. Are you surprised? lol).
The truth is, I knew all along who I am and the work I'm here to do.
But, distrust settled in when I was told that what I was interested in wasn't ok.
That it wasn't “normal.”
And most horrifyingly (at the time), that it wasn't what a "good girl" would do.
When my mom found out about what I was pursuing in my evenings after school, she forbid me from practicing "witchcraft" because growing up Christian (even though she only rarely went to church) she saw it as evil.
I think part of her reservation was also that she worried I'd be cast out of friendship circles and not accepted in society, which was something she also struggled with.
My mom thought she was doing me a favor by "protecting" me, and I can see that now. But at the time I remember being infuriated because I couldn't ignore the pull towards the mystical world. And I didn't have the knowledge or tools to make my case or express this at the time.
I turned to books to ease the discomfort, and it only confirmed my suspicion that there was more to life than just what I was experiencing in my day-to-day.
Fast forward about 20 years and I now see the interwoven issues caused by the patriarchal society we're living in, and how feminists (myself included) are continuing to challenge the idea that we have to abide by the rules laid out by men and Christianity.
I know this struggle isn't unique to me.
I hear from so many women that they either grew up in fear of ever upsetting their parents and obliged all of their wishes (even when it went against what they knew they wanted, or what felt right for them), and/or that their parents never trusted them as children, which led them to believe that they couldn't trust themselves.
Raising a toddler I can see how much of an impact my behavior, actions, and words have on him.
Who we are is so much more than just nurture versus nature. We're wired internally from the cultural and familial conditions and beliefs we're exposed to. We're biologically programmed to stay in line with the people who are keeping us alive (like our parents).
In order to demonstrate we belong within our families and communities, we can find ourselves forgoing what we believe is right or standing up for ourselves even when we know we've been wronged.
We might neglect challenging the cultural and societal systems because we fear we'll be exiled and could possibly die. I know this sounds extreme, but it's true - especially for young children.
I'm no perfect mom, but here are a few of the things I'm doing differently than how I was raised so that my son is able to build a solid foundation of trusting himself and his instincts, while also being able to lean on me and my husband for support.
I never discount his feelings, or tell him how he is/isn't feeling. I don't want him to think feeling anything is wrong because I know no emotion is bad, and it's healthy to feel a range of things (even when it doesn't always feel good).
I allow him to fully express himself - even when it means he's crying and screaming and throwing a tantrum on the floor. I don't tell him to be quiet when he's raging, even though it's uncomfortable for me to see him upset. Instead, I get down on his level and offer comfort and support if he'll accept it, otherwise I leave him be and usually he's over it in no time.
When he tells me something's going on in his body (like "my tummy is hungry") I acknowledge and honor it because I want him to know it's ok for him to trust his physical sensations, too.
I recognize that so many of us were not raised this way (*raises hand*) and that's ok. Time isn't linear like we're led to believe, and we can alwaysgo back to those painful places and work to heal them when we feel ready.
Do you give yourself these courtesies, or do you struggle with fully expressing yourself or sitting with uncomfortable feelings? Do you ever find yourself discounting (or maybe even ignoring) your physical sensations?
I want you to know, IT IS SAFE TO TRUST YOURSELF. Your thoughts, intuition, feelings, and physical sensations.
You have every right to trust your own inner wisdom and guidance above other people's opinions.
You're entitled to taking inspired action towards what lights you up instead of letting others dim your light.
And if you need help getting there I'm 100% on board with shining a flashlight on the path so you can begin to put one foot in front of the other.
Watch my latest video to hear more about my story and some suggestions for ways you can rewrite yours. It’s never too late.