Running Our Own Race

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I have a question for you: How can we be ourselves if we were taught that listening to our intuition is bad?

“Just do you!” Instagram s

creams. 

"Live your truth!" yell

s Facebook.

"Always be authentic!” that LinkedIn article advises.

And then there’s the regular theme of listening to your intuition. 

All great advice. But do

we really know who we are? Do we know what our truth is? How can we be authentic if we aren't entirely sure? Don't these things come from listening to ourselves?

No One Taught Me

I don’t know about you, but no one taught me to sit in silence, listening to my intuition. In fact, I was told more often than not, that I talked too much, that I was ‘just a kid’ and later, ‘just a girl’ and, ‘just a woman’ who should not be so loud, so nosy, so full of questions, or so full of opinions.

I was a reader, you see. I loved books more than anything. I remember in first grade, Mrs. Redmond telling me that I was a little genius because I read a couple of years above my grade-level. I was so proud! I wanted to be just like Laura Ingalls Wilder. Bright and sassy, a smart girl who climbs trees. Yep! That really was me! 

But I Was Discouraged

When I told people I wanted to grow up to be a writer, I was discouraged and told that writers didn’t make enough money. For certain, if I did become a writer, I’d be a starving one. As though how much money I would eventually make should be the compass that ruled my passions that might someday become my career navigation. I think I was in second grade by then.

Honestly, if I look too closely, it’s downright depressing how much I was told I could not do, should not do, would never do. Thank God for the occasional Mrs. Redmond.

I Just Wanted Them to Like Me

I did end up becoming quite the people-pleaser. Beginning with my earliest relationships, I just wanted them to like me. Unfortunately, this became a pattern that would rule much, too much of my life, landing me in what I will politely call toxic relationships.

Here is the thought puzzle: While I lived in self-betrayal, giving away my power, I still remained a pretty strong-minded person. It’s like I had all these bubbles inside that when under too much pressure, just had to burst to the surface. I tried so damn hard to be quiet, to be easy-going. Small.

And when I did let it come out? Yikes. I’ll just say that most of the time, I would walk away in much more pain, promising to myself to keep quiet next time. Dang, there were times I would’ve made myself invisible if I could have.

We Don't Like to Give Up Connections

Turns out, there’s an explanation for this that makes a whole lot of sense: Dr. Gabor Maté, renowned physician, trauma and addiction writer, explains that when it comes to the decision to give up our connection to others in order to be our authentic selves, we rarely choose the former and almost always forgo the latter. “At some point we found out it was too costly”, he explains, “...to be in touch with our gut feelings.”

That’s our challenge. We might want to be truly authentic, but our environment teaches us that we may have to sacrifice important connections. In fact, we are raised not to be authentic and then told as adults that if we want to become happy and fulfilled, we need to put ourselves out there. Why? Because deep connections are steeped in authenticity. 

It's Okay to Be Human

Do you see why it is important to give ourselves a break here? Why baby steps are not only okay, but essential? This is not a “you” problem. You aren’t broken or damaged because authenticity is hard for you. You are simply… human.

Does this mean we should grab a fist full of excuses and continue to run on autopilot, allowing our narratives around our emotions, body image, money and love to be programmed by others? 

I vote no. We have to run our own race. We have to consciously design our own narratives. And then we need to responsibly own them. 

Healing is Possible

You really can cultivate a life where it is safe to live from your inner-knowing and still enjoy deep connections. Healing is possible! I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s easy. In fact, there may be a closet full of shadows to deal with; however, as you awaken more to your own sense of self, you get better at determining what is fear and what is your truth.

If you’re looking for a place to start, here are three journal prompts for reflection:

See it: When have I been my most powerful, authentic self? What did that look like? Who was there? What was I doing?

Say it: What narrative will honor who I am? This could be a short experiential story or a series of affirmations.

Feel it: How does it feel in my body when I am owning my deepest me? Where do I feel it?  What signals does my body send when something feels true? How do I know when something is off?

This will get you started and get you present. Good luck!

If this has connected with you in any way, or if you have any questions you want me to address in another article, feel free to DM me on Instagram and let me know.

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Charlie is an intuitive high performance coach who helps driven women build their inner castles and create their outer empires through her Release, Redefine and Reclaim Process. After a year with Charlie, clients learn to trust themselves again and unearth the confidence to play at the level equal to their most outrageous goals.