I want you to notice what happens in your body when you imagine someone coming to you to ask the simple question: “Can I give you some advice?”
You may need to say it out loud. You may need to imagine the last scenario where someone wrote this to you in a DM or said it over coffee. You may need to remove the question altogether and think of what it feels like when someone simply gives advice without your permission first.
Personally, I feel a wall come up. I feel borders, not boundaries. I feel a miniature army of little warrior Madelyns lining up, one by one, flame throwers, swords and axes in hand. “NOBODY IS GETTING IN HERE!” they are screaming.
Why is this? Why is it that some people can hear unsolicited/solicited advice and feel calm as a cucumber, knowing it doesn’t effect anything about them, while others cringe and go into attack mode the minute someone tries to offer their insight?
There are two scenarios I want to lay out for you, hoping that they give you an “ah ha” moments as to why you are the way you are (please note: both of them are perfect…there is nothing that needs fixing).
Scenario #1: As a child, your imagination, opinions, thoughts, and beliefs were respected, listened to, and possibly even enjoyed. When you wanted to share an idea, it was welcomed. When you were feeling curious about something, your interest was genuinely encouraged. Being your own person with your own path to follow was something that your family abided by rather than suffocated.
Scenario #2: As a child, your imagination, opinions, thoughts and beliefs were dismissed, shut down, disregarded and/or attacked. You didn’t feel allowed to share ideas that were not like your family’s, you didn’t ask questions or dig deeper into hush-hush topics, and you felt (emotionally, physically, spiritually) safer when you were quiet rather than speaking. Perhaps in this scenario, you feel unsafe in your own body because you learned you couldn’t trust your own path. You couldn’t rely on your intuition or ideas because they were always “wrong.”
If you relate more to Scenario #1, it may make more sense as to why another people’s advice or insight is not a threat to your own. It simply is what it is, and it’s something you can take or leave. There is no negative nervous system response to someone sharing an alternative perspective. In fact, you may have open arms to it, looking for as many points of views as possible.
Additionally, people who relate to Scenario #1 may have a smoother time with coaching, therapy, school, friendships and mentors. They can maneuver the waters of receiving outside help while also remaining true to their own intuition (this is not always the case, but even if you have strayed from being this way, it may be more accessible once you begin to honor your intuition again).
If you relate more to Scenario #2, you may be someone who feels your heart race when another person tries to “tell you how to live your life.” This is because your body is trained to think that others are out to own you, control your choices and tell you who to be. The kind of energy you may feel flare up whenever someone gives advice is that of a rebellious teenager, trying to make sure everyone knows you are not property.
This makes sense, love!
It’s a response from your nervous system after it has experienced years and years of being told what to do, feeling your creativity repressed and your desires defeated. It takes time to teach your body to relax and be open to the perspectives of others without feeling like your independence is in danger.
If you relate more to Scenario #2, you may feel slightly more “triggered” by coaches, mentors and teachers when they offer the insight you’re paying for them to offer. But is being triggered bad?
The word “triggered” has a bad reputation due to social media. Everyone is posting trigger warnings before their vulnerable shares to give people an opportunity to avoid those feels. I believe this often (not always) does us a disservice– triggers show us what we have not yet healed. They offer us a beautiful opportunity to feel and grow.
If you relate more to Scenario #2, I would say being triggered in a coaching atmosphere will be a blessing for you. By allowing yourself to feel angry, upset and frustrated at your coach or mentor while they offer insight to you, you are healing that childhood wound.
If you are with a teacher or mentor who will be with you (emotionally or physically) throughout your tantrum, thrashing, pout and rebellion you have struck gold. That is a true teacher, and I’m so grateful to the ones who have been with me through my triggers instead of taking them personally.
So, my love, regardless of whether you relate more to #1 or #2 please know this: advice is merely that. Advice. Insight. An offering.
Nobody is trying to dictate how you live your life anymore (and if they are, GTFO). Nobody can determine your path except for you. You are free and you are allowed to be wild. Breaking limiting beliefs means breaking the belief that anyone except for you can control who you are. You no longer need to defend your right to be eccentric, quiet, loud, expressive, shy, weird, religious, atheist, gay, straight, perky, frumpy, extroverted, introverted, silly, sweet, angry, blissful, sexual, prude, polyamorous, monogamous or whatever else floats your boat.
Nobody can take you away from you. You can let down your walls. You are free.