Trust your instincts.
A phrase you hear a lot whether your a mum or not.
And it’s true. We all have gut feelings, intuition, inner guidance if you like that tells us what we need to know.
Too often we confuse our intuition with our fears.
Our intuition tells us what we need to know. What we know to be true. Our fears tell us what we worry about. What we fear is going to happen.
Say you have a poorly child. Your instincts might tell you that they will be fine. Your fears might be telling you that there’s something seriously wrong so you worry about what you should do. Problem is, fears win. Nearly every single time. This can make us anxious, fretful or downright panicked even when deep down we know everything is fine.
Or lets say that you are struggling to get started with breastfeeding. Your fears might be telling you that you aren’t good enough as a mother because your baby isn’t feeding well. Or that you must be doing it wrong. But your instincts will be telling you that you are doing fine and that it’s normal for things to take time to get established.
There are lots of times as a mum that we need to rely on our instincts. Which is why it’s so important to be able to distinguish what your instincts and your fears. If you can tap into your instincts you’ll feel comforted and sure of your decisions. If you let your fears override things you’ll be wracked with indecision and anxieties about doing the wrong thing.
So what is intuition?
Intuition is hard to define but essential it’s an ability to understand something without needing to think it through. Now a lot of people think that intuition is very spiritual, that we are being guided. I’m more of the view that our brains work fast. Like lightening fast. So our intuition is just our ability to instantly assess something based on what we already have in our subconsciousness.
It’s made up of our past experiences, signals from others, our knowledge, feelings, needs and assessment of what’s going on. It’s an unconscious process that happens without us being aware of it. And it’s not wrong.
Fear is different
Fear comes from a very different place to intuition. It’s based on what has happened or what we think might happen rather than what IS happening. When we look at things from a place of fear we’re bringing in a whole host of other thoughts, emotions or anxieties into it. It’s not a comfortable place to be and is very emotionally charged.
So how can you make sure you are tapping into your instincts and not your fears?
Firstly, ask yourself if what you are feeling is comforting and affirming. If it is, it’s your intuition. If, on the other hand, you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed, anxious or afraid then it’s fear.
Also think about whether what you’re feeling is about the present. Or is it based on past wounds or worries about what could happen.
So in the breast feeding example, your instincts about the present will tell you that things are just tough because it’s early days. Your fears will tell you that you’ll fail at breastfeeding in the long run or that your baby will suffer if you don’t get this right.
And sometimes our instincts will tell us something frightening, that we should be worried. But say for example, your instincts are telling you that there is something really wrong with your baby when he is sick, you’ll still feel calm because you know you need to act on this. That you need to get help or take her to a Dr. Even though it’s frightening, you will feel deep down that you need to do something and so do it.
On the other hand, our fears generally keep us stuck or prevent us from taking action. We’ll worry and fret about what is the right thing to do. What could the consequences be. How do we know what is for the best. It feels a lot more uncertain than our intuition does.
When we act on our intuition we can feel that it is the right thing to do. When we act on our fears we feel anxious about the outcome, about whether we’re doing the right thing.
It isn’t always easy to distinguish the two and takes a lot of effort getting to know and understand what your own fears are. But if you can learn to separate out the two you will be a much more confident mother and better able to deal with whatever situations motherhood throws at you.
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