Sometimes I notice that my throat closes up when I am about to take an action that breaks through some of the gender norms that I learned as a child. This physical reactions still happens today years after I left the town where I was raised, stopped following the religious denomination that preached fire and brimstone doctrine, earned a Ph.D in women’s and gender studies, and cultivated a life so much freer than most of the prior generations of women in my family.
My throat still closes. That’s ok. It’s another reminder of how powerful the patriarchy can be and why I coach, teach and research to disrupt patriarchy’s influence.
Here’s what I do when I notice my throat closing. I wonder about my throat as if I am holding a fossil in my hand & looking with curiosity at the details.
Sure. I might want to throw it or smash it.
I might want to hide it.
I might want to get some research together & analyze it for HOURS.
Sometimes I take these metaphorical approaches with my internalized patriarchal beliefs that show up in my closing throat, but these days (thanks to coaching!) I know that it’s my map to liberation & confidence.
I ask myself about the limiting beliefs that I was taught.
I ask how they are connected to this moment.
I recognize how long they’ve been with me.
I accept that – of course – they are still in there.
I acknowledge that they don’t run the show even when I feel afraid or vulnerable.
I check back in on my throat to see if it still feels tight.
I give my body a few minutes to just sit in calm. Sitting quietly for three to five minutes can decrease the tension I feel in my throat.
I set the fossil aside for now. It can’t hurt me.
I feel proud of myself.
I stay curious and excited to see the next place that my patriarchal conditioning pops up because I know that this healing is a journey. The more I notice and process, the more I heal. Each time I spend in healing is another step in my own liberation from patriarchal-infused limiting beliefs.
I commit to finding ways to treat myself with kindness & compassion.
I remind myself that the inner patriarchal conditioning flares up when I’m embracing my feminist self. And I love that about me.