For so much of my life I’ve called myself a bitch.
And for a lot of years I guess that was true; back in my school days I liked to gossip and as an insecure young woman in her early 20s I all too often deflected the things I didn’t like about myself by saying or thinking mean things about someone else.
That’s not something I’m proud of, but it was a part of my journey and one that I worked bloody hard to overcome; learning to roll the 0 judgment I was so good at in the counselling room out to other people so that I can be honest about my own shit and rein myself in anytime judgment threatens to strike.
But what I’ve found in the years since then is that label of “bitchy” is one that gets in the way of my intuition all too often. And what’s more, it’s something I’m increasingly spotting in other people too.
Because there’s a fine line isn’t there? Between the feelings we’re taught are “bad” and the knowings that we need to pay attention to.
It’s not something anyone really talks about when they mention trusting your gut, but for every kindly message telling you to drive a different way to work, or that you simply must book onto that workshop where you’ll meet someone who needs to be in the next chapter of your life; that wise and intuitive voice within will send you other messages – the kind of big fat sirens that a person is not someone you want to be around, or the stomach churning unpleasantness that warns you something bad lies ahead.
The problem – especially for us women – is that we’ve been so conditioned to believe we’re in competition, and to judge one another in a way that feels bitchy, that it can be bloody hard to stop and tune into those warnings as the higher truths that they are.
Like the person I had an unpleasant feeling about from the start, but convinced myself I was just nervous around her because she was beautiful, outwardly confident, older and already successful in her own field.
In fact, I convinced myself so much that I spent months throwing myself into a friendship with her, helping her support herself when her business wasn’t going quite so well, agreeing to make her part of the dream that I’d spent years working my butt off on, pushing away the whispers and stomach churning that kept popping up around her even as I was leading workshops about teaching other people to trust their gut.
Then about a year and a half after we first met, all of those warnings came to fruition when she unceremoniously dumped me from her life; causing all sorts of problems for me professionally, bringing up the kind of crisis of personal insecurity that I thought I’d left behind in my teams, and causing a great big “I told you so” from my intuition.”
Of course this is only one example, there are many more: the friends’ relationships I’ve passed off my own negative feelings about during the times I was unhappily single, only to watch them have their hearts horribly broken; the work opportunities I’ve pushed through because I was “just scared” about when actually they went on to break my heart and Spirit; the relationships I’ve entered into because “he’s nice enough and I really need to stop being so picky” only to find that churning in my stomach turn into a complete energy drain further down the road.
I won’t bore you with more examples – believe me, there are plenty, but I will tell you that if you have a list of these as long as your own arm then that’s OK. But it’s also not, because it stops right now.
It’s time we reclaim the voice of our intuition and learn to pick it out from those ideas of bitchiness, fear and jealousy that we’ve been told define us.
How do we do that?
To me it comes down to four simple steps…
Own your own shit: Get to know the things that trigger you; get familiar with your past and keep those insecurities of yours close enough to know when they’re rearing their ugly head. Getting to know yourself is one of the greatest gifts of human life for so many reasons; including the fact that it tends to make us less susceptible to sneak attacks from our own fear and ego, including those directed at other people.
Learn to pause: I often talk to clients about adding a magic moment into their usual reactions – that split second that comes when you move from doing something out of habit to consciously recognising that thing as something that you’re ready to change. And that counts for responses in the ways we think and react as much as anything.
Teach yourself to pause when you feel a thought you class as “bad” towards a person or situation rather than immediately pushing it out of the way and beating yourself up.
Tune in: Then take a deep breath and tune into that thought, that feeling, whatever is going on inside you to figure out what it really means. Maybe it is that you’re feeling jealous, threatened or something else along those lines, and if that’s the case then that’s OK!
Let me say this loudly just in case you need to hear it – THOSE THOUGHTS DO NOT MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON! But they do suggest that something needs to change or be worked upon. Feel them, give them a little thank you for the warning flag they’re giving you, and then let them go.
Or maybe they’re not. Maybe not matter how much you try to call those feelings the voice of your ego you know within you that they’re something much bigger, much deeper and something that really needs to be listened to.
Trust: If it’s that second one then trust… for goodness’ sake trust. By that I’m not saying you need to share those feelings with anyone, or even change the course you’ve decided on if you don’t want to. But it is a good reminder to tread carefully.
It’s not easy. This conditioning and fear that’s led us to become judgmental is something we’ve carried for a long time; as is the idea that we’re all naturally bitchy, jealous and competitive. But the more we learn to listen to our “bad” feelings as well as our “good”, the more loudly our intuition will speak to us.
And if you’re struggling with feelings of judgment, anger or jealousy; or with really trusting your intuition then check out Soul-Centered Counselling… it might be just help you find a way forward.