Stages of development of the female intuition, part 1: the early years
As a woman and a mother to a little girl, and a coach whose client base has been comprised of women 98% of the time over the last eight years, I can only speak to what I know: females. I know there are a good number of men who follow this blog, or who have worked with me a few times over the years and while this won’t apply to you directly, please still take a read and use it to your advantage to understand the ladies in your life. It is my firm belief that all children are born highly sensitive and highly empathic, but society talks them out of this. As such, they need you to “get” this just as much as they need to get it for themselves. Without a tag-team effort, we’ll continue to bring up girls who are sheepish, disconnected, ignorant to the abuses around them, don’t trust themselves, act out, or go through life disillusioned and distrusting. The problem isn’t them — it is what they have been told about what they observe and how much to trust their reactions to it (and how much punishment they receive as a result).
The feminine intuition is a wild beast, much like a horse, that starts out carefree, unrestrained, and observant of every movement, touch, and tone of voice. The wind moves a certain direction and she feels it. The grass shuffles a certain way and she hears it. A stranger approaches and she reads his energy to discern if he is trustworthy or not. Anything that could impede on her freedom is swiftly run from. Over time, though, this “animal” becomes trained in the ways of others for sheer survival or necessity. It doesn’t want to be tamed, but it does so because it has been tricked — roped and walked into fences and gated pastures where certain “benefits” are offered. “This will be good for you”, “look what I can give you”, it is told. It has been told it’s own spirit cannot be trusted — at least not fully — so it takes commands from those who say they know what they are doing. After a while, it believes others more than it believes the callings of its own soul. And this is, partly, what has landed us where we are now. Women have been talked out of their instinctual needs and reactions.
I was a first-time mom when my daughter was born over six years ago. I had no idea what I was doing in labor, in birth, in breastfeeding, and in caring for a new child. Everything I learned from my midwife, birthing videos, books about parenting, and even my education degree and years as a teacher could never have prepared me for the reality (and I definitely did try to prepare myself). Becoming a mother was my first initiation into intuition because, despite what any book told me, my own baby gave me every indication of what she actually needed at a moment’s notice. Her cries and their varying tones, her smiles and babbles and their causes, her likes and dislikes, her need to be at my side for damn well three years was contradictory to everything I had read in books written by professionals. I began to trust her just as much as I began to trust my reactions to her.
When she was born, I saw a wisdom behind my newborn daughters eyes; a wisdom I had never seen before. A wisdom that comes from something that had just been in touch with the divine and was yet untainted by any imposed ego. She didn’t just look at me, she looked through me and judged or questioned the things I was doing. I could see her trying to make sense of it. I could see her discerning whether she could trust. She wasn’t just fascinated by movement or speech, she was fascinated by intention. I wanted more than anything to prove to her that my intention was good.
I raised her the way I would have wanted to be raised. I exhausted myself to meet her needs, not because she demanded it, but because I knew if I broke her trust and showed her too early that the world was not a safe place, she would not consider me safe either. I wanted her to believe in her own needs and put them first, even when every book I scanned told me to put her on a schedule to meet my own. I wanted her to learn through experience and collaboration, not just because I said so.
What I have observed over the years, both from her, others, and myself, is that the female intuition largely begins developing around age six. The first six years are an amalgamation of input that the child begins processing and trying to translate: what is trustworthy and what is not? What can be expected out of life and others? Who makes her feel good? Who listens? Who believes? Who imposes or forces? Who takes her seriously? Who sacrifices of themselves to help her? She begins keeping a record though even she isn’t aware of this.
Around age six, cognitive dissonance begins to creep in which leaves the girl questioning deeper realities. Now she begins to understand there is not one side to the coin, but there are two: are they saying one thing but doing another? Are they telling the truth? Why do people treat her in certain ways? What does she deserve? No one has told her to question her sense of reality. In fact, she likely has been told what life is, what to believe, who to be, and how to act from day one. Regardless of the indoctrination, she secretly begins questioning and seeing duality or polarity. She may ask you outright questions about how things work, why things are the way that they are, and how come this or how come that. She seeks truthful answers and will quietly note any signs of falsehoods — or perhaps even delve into further lines of questioning if she feels you are sugarcoating or glossing over something important.
If the cognitive dissonance becomes too great to bear (if she becomes confused about the truth or feels she cannot trust her caregivers), the child will begin acting out in anger, frustration or resentment. Based on the dualities of what she has observed, she is keeping too much a secret at this point and you will need to find ways to gently draw out her confusion to help her gain clarity; to help her find a way back to her soul amidst the confusion. This means creating a safe space when she is relaxed and not distracted to figure out the source of the anger or frustration. Do not ask the question you want an answer to directly; ask around the question, so to speak, and once she feels it is safe, she will lead you to the question or problem herself. The way to earn her trust is to do this gently and to make a point to do it. If no one recognizes her frustrations and tries to help, she will go deeper into anger or hiding because she will feel you are not like her; that you are not empathic or trustworthy. And if you outright ask her for the source of the problem, she may feel too ashamed to even admit to it and pretend nothing is wrong (because she will feel guilty for questioning in the first place). She is smarter than you or she realizes.
It is important to take these things seriously when she is at a young age. Without doing so, the teen years (the sequel to this blog that I’ll write soon) will become chaotic and toxic. If she has not learned anyone can be trusted to tell her the truth, she will certainly not trust you when real life problems present themselves as a confused adolescent. The resentment will keep building over the years and explode when she is hormonal and stepping into her power as a young woman. Earn her trust now by honoring her instinctive needs, her questions, and her feelings with the truth, with help, and with recognition. Teach her she is right about things and can be trusted as well as trust her caregivers.