Self-dismissal. Cutting down your insight before it can possibly have a chance to develop. Shutting down your intelligence before it can do a thing to serve you. Crushing those seedlings before they can grow into plants! Not such a great plan. And yet many of us are serious experts at it! If you haven’t already, you can read the first post on self-dismissal with the first steps to curtail this nasty habit, and where I learned about how to grow through it.
It’s an example I’ve used before, because it’s apt. When a toddler is learning to walk, what do we do? We encourage the child, we acknowledge every time the child stands, even if it’s just for a moment. We clap and praise the child for taking even half a step before they fall over. Every single moment of that child’s learning to walk is about acknowledgement, praise and encouragement. We don’t berate the child for falling, right? No.
But dismissal is actually worse than the berating-the-child-for-falling-while-learning-to-walk example. It is. Let’s think about this for a moment. Let’s say instead it’s a four-year old child who is able to speak verbally and is speaking in their mother tongue. And then let’s say that every time the child started to speak, you immediately shut them down and told them to be silent? And you just never let them speak, ever? And when the child persisted and tried to express themselves in a different way, you told them to be silent, not to move, not to express themselves in any way?
Do you think that child would have positive learning, developmental and social outcomes? Most definitely not.
Learning how to develop intuition – or any other ability, for that matter – is no different. If you constantly dismiss yourself, you’re telling that four-year old to shut up. You’re impeding the ability of your own insight and intelligence to develop at all.
Silenced, that ability goes underdeveloped, underrecognized, and far underutilized. Enough of that.
As scary as it can feel to start to truly feel into yourself and truly listen to yourself (been there, done that. A lot.), consider that maybe, it’s just that four-year old who wants to be heard.
Regardless of where you believe your intuitions originate, it is vital that you acknowledge and encourage your progress, and stop silencing it. Be a more open, listening ear to that four-year old. Less dismissal, more acknowledgement.
Okay, you’ve convinced me to stop yelling at myself. But how? It’s what I do.
Some thoughts before we get into the how-to:
Those seedlings that I plant in containers yield tomatoes, herbs and flowers throughout the summer.
I know they’re tomatoes, herbs and flowers, because I nurture the plants long enough for them to bear these outputs. I nourish them when they are tiny. Before they even look like anything. And when it becomes obvious they’re plants but before they produce anything but stems and leaves, I continue to care for them.
Remember that you don’t need to make any decisions about your abilities yet.
You don’t even know what your abilities are yet! I suggest taking the approach described in the post on suspension of disbelief and waiting until you have sufficient information about what your abilities are and how you want to use or not use them before making any decisions. Maybe right now you don’t need to know exactly what your as-yet underdeveloped abilities are. Maybe right now, they can just be those little hair-like sprouts and tiny seedlings that aren’t easily distinguished as specific plants yet.
Before I can prove my seedlings are tomatoes, or herbs, or flowers, I treat them with the care and intention and acknowledgement they need to develop. If there is a part of you that resonates with this, I encourage you to do the same for the development of your intuition or other gifts.
How to curtail self-dismissal
The first two steps are outlined in detail of Part 1 of this post. I’ve included the shorter, higher-level steps below.
Step 1: Start to take active notice of when you’re being self-dismissive, of anything.
Step 2: Notice any patterns of this self-dismissal.
Step 3: Schedule about 20-30 minutes to do a journaling exercise on it.
Don’t skip this step. Here are some suggestions to get you started on the journaling exercise:
- Write a bit about your observations of how you tend to dismiss yourself.
- How have I noticed myself dismissing a thought, idea, or sense that comes to mind in the past few days?
- Write down all the common things you tell yourself, don’t leave any out.
- What are the patterns for how I’ve been dismissing myself? Do I tend to think the same thing to myself? Do I tend to be more dismissive of myself in some situations than in others?
- Read through the list of things you tend to tell yourself. Do these sound familiar?
- Who or what do these statements remind me of?
- It doesn’t matter who or what they remind you of, and don’t feel guilty about writing it down. Just write down who or what those statements remind you of.
- Reflect on how these statements may have served you in the past, and what life might be like if you didn’t shut yourself down.
- How have these self-dismissals served me in the past?
- What would happen if I didn’t tell myself these things? What would it feel like to just sit with the sense/feeling/idea that comes to mind?
- Write down any of the common dismissals that you want to let go. Then write down what you will tell yourself instead (in a positive way – what you will do, not what you won’t do). For example:
- I am letting go of the need to tell myself, “Stop being ridiculous.” Instead, I welcome myself to say, “I acknowledge I’m getting a feeling about something.”
- Write down as many of the self-dismissals as come to mind, and write a positive new statement to tell yourself.
- Take three slow, steady, deep breaths (don’t skip this, bring yourself back fully into your present physical moment).
- Over the next three days, make a point of catching yourself and making a positive statement instead of a negative one. This step will be a lot easier now that you’ve done the journaling exercise.
I encourage you to follow the guidelines of how to journal as I’ve described in this other post.
All the best with your journaling exercise, and let me know how it goes!