On Being Trained Out Of Our Instincts

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I’ve has several conversations with people the last few days and a personal experience yesterday that all relate back to a similar core theme:

Many of us have been trained out of following our instincts and intuition, and beyond that, actively discouraged from following similar instincts of self-protection.

Let’s backtrack slightly.

When we talk about balance or a nervous system that is “regulated”, we aren’t talking about a perpetual state of calm or zen. What is meant by that is the ability to occupy different energies and states of being so when it’s appropriate we can move away from something (healthy flight response), when it’s appropriate we can move towards something (healthy fight response) and similarly, that we don’t get “stuck” in a place of hyperarousal or activation when it’s not necessary. The essence of it is about being able to take the right action in the right moment and to be able to return to a rested baseline when that moment is over.

Although I have done a lot of work and had a lot of reparative experiences that allow me to hold my centre and meet experiences where previously I may have frozen or removed myself, this morning, at about 5.30 am, I realized something about myself.

The overriding message I received growing up in response to expressing someone treating me badly, or deciding how to meet a situation where I disagreed with what was going on was this:

Just ignore them. Ignore them or it will get worse. Don’t make a big deal. Just walk away. Don’t add energy to it.

Granted, this can often be the right approach. But when we are taught it as the ONLY approach and alternatives aren’t offered in the face of different experiences such as:

Hold your own. We can take action to meet this differently. Let’s find strength to meet this situation…

…then we prevent ourselves from developing a healthy relationship with the fight response.

Many of us have had the familiar experience of expressing something that was true for you, finding yourself in the midst of behavior that is not ok, or being on the receiving end of unwanted attention and defaulting to freeze or flight.

Deleting the comment.
Not showing up to something.
Changing the subject.
Changing course completely.
Sucking it up even though you know the situation is unhealthy for you.
Doubting yourself and taking on more than is your fair share to take on.

Constantly turning away entrenches the pattern, does nothing to heal the energies, and sees us further disconnected from our own backbones.

It’s true: Knowing what’s right action is not always clear cut. The choice to leave or not to act IS sometimes the best one (and certainly in the climate of the moment, we need to value and protect our energy).

But there is a difference between conscious inaction and inaction that results from habituated response or the inability to stand in your own power.

Notice your patterns.

Get the support you need.

Notice the power dynamics at play and observe where you position yourself.


❤️ Jane

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