instincts

We all have instincts that do their best to serve us well. The problem is that many of us are no longer tuned in to our instincts. We have forgotten how to trust our instincts due to conditioning by parents, authority figures, and society in general.

 

Our ‘essential self’ (the natural raw version that we are born into) become eroded and diluted over time. We are taught, slowly but surely, to tune in to our ‘social-self’ and ignore our ‘essential- true self’.

The brain-washing “No” phase

In our toddler years, we are taught the word “no”. Don’t touch that, stop doing that, say “Please”, say “Thank you”, etc. We are bombarded by rules and trained to fit in with what society and others find acceptable. Sadly, customs and culture mess with our inner wisdom and we learn to trust other sources such as our parents, what society dictates and what we need to do in order to be liked and validated externally.

We are also ‘trained’ to yearn for external validation from others as the gold standard for self-worth rather than trusting our instincts and our values to guide us. We forget how to live a life that is “inside-out” and become addicted to living lives that are “outside-in”.

Disclaimer: Some conditioning is necessary, how to take care of ourselves, get on in the world and self-actualise BUT the majority of the conditioning we receive creates limitations, closes down creative neural pathways in the brain and stifles our development.

The difference between “inside-out” and “outside-in”

Living a life that’s inside-out is the more fulfilling choice. When you live a life that is “inside-out”, your inner world represents your core foundation. Your main resources of strength, resilience and self-validation come from within yourself. The reason that living inside out is so valuable is that it is a consistent state of being that does not rely on anything or anyone external in order to be able to feel confident and competent.

External validation, in other words – “outside-in” is rather precarious in terms of consistent confidence and self-reliance. This is because you need an external element in order to feel safe/resilient.  When an external element is required for an inner state of self-belief and self-reliance, it needs to anxiety and a feeling of being out of control.

Of course, it goes without saying that we cannot always feel competent and resilient 100%t of the time, but when you possess that inner strength and trust your instincts and intuition, you will experience less anxiety.

Trusting your instincts

When I look back at my life and at the mistakes I have made, it’s clear to me that if I had learned to trust my instincts, there would have been less upheaval and distress. This is particularly true when I think about past relationships. I can think of many times when my instincts are telling me that something wasn’t right, yet my desire to be loved overrode my world meaning intuition.

I am pretty sure that we can all think of a time when our instincts tried to warn us yet we ignored our inner wisdom for whatever reason.

The reasons we ignore our instincts

Our instincts keep us safe but they are not always congruent with what we want in life. I wanted love and acceptance (oops “outside-in” approach!), and instead of giving it to myself (that seemed like a dumb idea and not as important as love from others), I yearned for it from men in my life. The inside-out approach of loving and valuing myself would have been so effective (and would have helped me establish healthy boundaries) but it was not to be earlier on in my life. Early childhood trauma is the antidote to trusting yourself.

Sometimes the messages we received when we were young teach us not to trust ourselves. Perhaps we had parents who told us that we were stupid or not as clever as one of our siblings. Whatever the messages were, they taught us that we were inherently inaccurate in the way we knew ourselves and this could have had a huge impact on our relationship with ourselves.

There are too many reasons to go into in this post, but suffice to say there are usually reasons behind everything that we do as adults, whether we realise it or not.

Reasons to trust your instincts

They are there to guide you and always have your best interests at heart.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Trusting your instincts I will help you find the correct path/direction in life

You are wiser than you think

Tuning in to your intuition does not mean you have to blindly follow your instincts. Instead, use them as a guide.

The more you trust your instincts, the more your confidence will grow in your ability to navigate life’s problems.

Trusting your Instincts means you are leading an “inside-out” approach to life. Yeah, baby!!

Your self-belief will improve

Your faith in your own resilience and coping skills will increase.

It takes practice to Tune in and trust your instincts but it is never too late to start. They are your friend and never underestimate your inner wisdom!

Mandy X

 

 

Mandy Kloppers

Mental healthblog run by Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist. Mental health blog covers Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Psychology and relationship counselling.

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