There is a dangerous dis-ease in our midst. It permeates the body, mind, and spirit and wreaks havoc everywhere it goes. It causes us to lose our connection to who we truly are and what we KNOW about ourselves. We constantly question and second guess ourselves due to this illness. It keeps us playing small.
What is this horrible dis-ease you say? It's our negative thoughts and inability to trust our own knowing. My Goddess Sisters, we all suffer with this affliction and it's time to say “No More!” Let's take a closer look.
I have worked with many women and one thing that is prevalent is that we live in a culture that teaches us to question ourselves – to doubt our intuitive knowing and our own bodies. According to a comprehensive study by the World Health Organization and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we are taught that girls are weak and boys are strong.
“In every single place, girls are given the message that they are weak, that they are vulnerable. That their bodies are a target,” said Robert Blum, who chairs the department of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins and led the study. “They’re told ‘cover up and stay away from boys,” and when they fail to do so, he added, the “sanctions they experience are pretty profound.”
You can see how this all contributes to the planting and sowing of the seeds of doubt and criticism inside the mind of a young girl. You can see how it can grow into a minefield by the time she matures to a young woman. I don't know about you but I find this very disturbing.
We all understand the consequences of extreme self-doubt and criticism and how it often can go hand in hand with anxiety and even depression. It is a factor in eating disorders, self-harm and body dysmorphic disorder which is a preoccupation with one's perceived physical flaws.
As a child, I was also plagued with thoughts of not being good enough. I had red hair and freckles so I was always the “odd girl out”. I remember my mother telling me how women pay hundreds of dollars to have their hair colored to look the way mine did naturally. And yet, I still felt that I wasn't good enough. Boys wouldn't find me attractive because I wasn't blonde or brunette, my skin wasn't clear but covered in freckles. I wasn't skinny like all of my friends so I thought I was too fat.
I did well in school but got the message that getting good grades meant that I wasn't cool and didn't fit in. My mother taught in the district so my intelligence was questioned as I was accused of being “teacher's pet” because they knew my mother. I couldn't possibly be smart on my own.
I had breasts in fourth grade. I hated that! Again, I was the “girl with boobs” and if any boy showed attention to me, I was told it was because I had boobs and not because I was a nice person. It was all about my body. In other ways, I matured later than my friends and I hated that too! Yet again, I was the odd one. I drove myself frigging crazy and hated the way I looked.
These self-doubts and “not good enough”-ness followed me into young adulthood. Even today, with all the personal development work that I have done, I still wrestle with it from time to time.
What I have found in working with my clients is that we all criticize ourselves in one or more huge areas of life. Some of the most popular targets in common are:
We are constantly comparing ourselves to each other and some “standard” that we had no say in creating and the media continues to shower us with these images of what we should aspire to! As a result, we can't relax, we can't love ourselves as we are, we can't forge deep connections with others or with ourselves and our creativity is stifled. Our voices become stifled. We become a victim.
The world actually teaches us to be victims. Feel that! Can you see the evidence of this in your own lives?
The good news is we can choose to heal from this dis-ease. We can choose another way. The way of the divine feminine. Where instead of spending all of our precious energy turning away from ourselves, we choose instead to turn on and tune in to ourselves.
We live in a world that denies its own inherent bigotry against women. How do we stand up to an invisible assault that does not want to be made visible? How can we weather—let alone triumph over—such a global denial of our experience?
How do we reclaim what has been systematically denied, passed over, and subjugated? How do we heal from this dis-ease?
The elixir for this epidemic is simple: reconnecting a woman to her “turn on”.
“Turn on, as defined by Mama Gena of the School of Womanly Arts, is the source of each woman’s connection to her own life force, her voice, and her sense of internal power. When a woman turns on, she is actually turning on her vitality and connecting to her divinity.”
Choosing to move from self-doubt and criticism to radical, outrageous and raw self-celebration is a life long journey.
It takes dedication and consistency to override the patriarchal conditioning.
Yet, you will be surprised how easy it can be to celebrate the magnificence that is you. Just as you learned to doubt and criticize yourself, you can learn to radically celebrate yourself.
Here are 3 ways to heal Self-Doubt:
1. Dance. Really. Try it. Right now. Even if you don't dance. Even if there is no music. Just allow your body to move the way she wants to move. Think of it as a moving meditation that allows you to connect into or “turn on” your Inner Goddess. Through the dance, you are accessing your Inner Wisdom. Remember, we have not been encouraged to “turn on” . In fact, we have been taught to turn ourselves off. When we are in a state of self-doubt and self-criticism, we are more than likely to allow others to choose for us. Let's choose instead to take back our power and raise our authentic voices. This is what our world needs.
2. Look in the mirror. Wink at your reflection. Tell that woman you see in the mirror that she is hot and sexy. Go on and tell her. Really. No joke. It will change your chemistry. Instantly. And it’s the truth. Try it. Look at your reflection and say out loud: “You are hot and sexy” and then wink at her. She will instantly wink back.
3. Say outrageously nice things to yourself. Walk down the street and practice replacing all of those negative, doubty, critical, crazy thoughts, with positive, encouraging, uplifting thoughts. You could even play with a mantra (or womantra if you prefer) for yourself. The one I have been using lately is: “I am a force to be reckoned with”. It instantly puts a smile on my face. (Don’t knock it 'til you try it, okay?)
Call to Action
My mentor's request is that you play with these techniques. Yes, all 3 of them! Try them on. Turn them into a self-love habit. I guarantee you will start to shift internally and your world will shift externally too. My dear Goddess Sisters, it is time to heal from self-doubt. Here are some additional questions to take to your journal:
Are you ready to replace self-doubt and criticism?
Where have you had enough with self-doubt and self-criticism?
What’s one step you can take in the direction of self-celebration?
How will you choose to “turn on”?
As always, I would love to hear your experiences so feel free to reach out to me and share what the techniques and questions held for you!
Until Next Time...