Truth and Validation


Myosho Virginia Matthews speaks of inner authority when she says, ‘Women, especially seem to have difficulty finding and trusting that inner authority.  I know very few women who trust their truth. I could count them on one hand. But I know hundreds of men who trust their truth because they’re validated from the beginning by their culture, at their schools, in their professions. So women are going to have to find their authority, their courage, their confidence in their perceptions and understanding.’
from The Unknown She, by Hilary Hart


When we’re young, we’re taught HOW to do things. We learn them, either directly or indirectly, from our parents, caregivers, teachers and others.

We watch people to learn how to do things.

We watch them to see what is right behavior.

We learn, very early on, how to ‘be’ in the world; whether we say ‘that thing’ or not, whether we trust our own feelings and express them or not, whether we trust ourselves…or not.

We learn that some ways of being are okay, and some are not. It’s really important to teach kids the difference between right and wrong. And yet, right and wrong can be a really long slippery slope. I know. I raised two daughters, and now have three grandchildren. I know I passed on things that don’t serve them. I know just how easy it is to pass on moral judgments that are much, much more than simply helping children to survive in the world.

This quote from Virginia Matthews points out something key that is so important in these times: in general, women are not taught to trust their truth. This truth is the internal compass one uses to navigate life. This is the ‘thing’ we check-in with when we choose. As we open to living our life from what really matters to us, from those things that bring us alive, from that which we love and brings us joy, this compass is critical to trusting that we do have authority, we do have wisdom, and we do have value.

At the core of this, though, is how we are taught to see our own nature, because if we’re taught we can’t trust our own perceptions, what follows is a deep distrust of the way we experience our own nature: instincts, feelings, thoughts, bodies and wisdom. And, if we see boys and men being validated, then somewhere we make up that it is being a woman that can’t be trusted.

If we are not validated from an early age that our truth is real, and that it is the foundation of our personal authority, then we grow up always looking to someone else for this authority.

This truth is the core ‘knowing’ so many of us are striving to find ‘out there’. This truth is our integrity. In the end it is all we really have, because it is at the core of the essence of our nature as sacred beings in sacred bodies.

I have struggled with this one all my life. Trust in my own perceptions; my own knowing; my own experience; my own understandings.  And when we’re asking ourselves the question, “What is it to be female?”, trust in our experience is imperative to recognizing truth as opposed to all we’ve been told it is to be female.

What is it like to grow up with your perceptions validated? I turn this question over and it’s as if I can’t quite grasp what the experience would have been like, as a child, as a teenager, as a woman, to have validation mirrored to me in such a way that I so believe in my own authority that there’s no hiccup between perception and action.

It’s not that I feel a victim to this lack of validation. And, it’s not as if I never trust myself. Sometimes it’s clear. It’s that I wonder how it would be to not have it even be an issue.

Of course, nothing is that black and white. I don’t know if that is what it’s like for men. I’m curious if and how they feel validated, or if it is even a question for them.

I know that somewhere I almost always know my own perception. And yet, I don’t always trust it and stick with it, especially when others, whom I’ve been taught ‘know better’, try to convince me otherwise…or want something different…especially when my perceptions tell me my response is ‘No’.

Sometimes, my perception is so fleeting, as if it was simply a scent wafting on the wind.

Sometimes, my perception is right there, so obvious to me as it registers in my psyche. But then the ‘No’ seems to just slide away.

Sometimes, in that little hiccup, I can sense a quick questioning of myself, of what I heard or saw, of what I think about it, of what I feel I have the right to do with it.

That little hiccup is the re-playing, over and over again, of the ‘other’ making it very clear to me that I was wrong in my perception, that I shouldn’t really trust myself.

That little hiccup is a gap, a catching of my breath, a knotting of my heart, that causes me to question myself. And as soon as the question takes hold, I hesitate. And in my hesitation, I am no longer standing on a solid footing of inner-authority.

What I’ve come to see very clearly that the real question at hand is, “Am I willing to face my own fears of what will happen if I do claim my inner-authority? Of others’ perceptions of me? Of how I see myself in the world?

Maybe this last question is the most important one. I, for one, had a self-image of a nice girl, one who was easy-going, not too opinionated, not too strong, not too weak. Boy, has that image been shattered over the last few years…and, thankfully so.

It hasn’t been the easiest thing to really see my shadow, all the ways in which I am quick-tempered, opinionated, hard to get along with, manipulative, fearful, boastful, self-righteous…the list could go on and on.

I’ve discovered this seeing truth, and acting on it, takes courage. It has taken humility to own up to these aspects of personality I would rather avoid. But in the facing up to them, I’ve begun to find some freedom, freedom to trust myself and my own experience, and to speak out in the world of what I envision and the wisdom I’ve gained from a life richly lived.

This truth isn’t the universal truth; it is simply what I know in my own heart. There is no way anyone else could tell me whether or not this truth is true. I can only know it from how it feels. This is my compass.

I do have authority, authority from within. This isn’t authority over others. It is the authority to know that what I feel, and what I have to say, is just as important as any other human being.

It’s also the authority to realize there is a true need, right now in these times, for us to share our own perceptions about what is happening in the world and the wisdom we have that might make a dramatic difference in how things turn out as we try to heal all the damage that has been done.

It comes from trusting that at the heart of who and what we are is a basic goodness that is, at its root, sacred. It comes from knowing that this basic goodness is the goodness and sacredness of all of life.

Others can tell me I am wrong, but it is up to me to stand tall and firm, like a deeply-rooted tree, in what I know in my heart. This is easier for me when I feel called to say, “YES”. It has been much harder for me when I feel called to say, “NO”.  ‘No’ challenges. ‘No’ can be perceived as negative. Yet, sometimes ‘No’ is exactly what needs to be said, especially the ‘No’ that can change everything, that can lead to the sweetest ‘Yes’.

And, you?

How was your truth validated as a child and young woman?

Do you sense a similar hiccup between your own perceptions and your authority to act on them? If so, what have you found works to keep you honoring and living your truth?

Is there a ‘No’ in you waiting to be owned and spoken?

[This post is part 2 of a two-part series on Truth and Authenticity for Dian Reid’s blog challenge, as well as Bindu Wiles #215800 blog challenge.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

17 Replies to “Truth and Validation”

  1. Validation from the beginning. Wow. Like you, not a victim, but left wondering how that validation would have felt. But here’s what I think – society and culture doesn’t so much validate men as the masculine. So we all are validated for traits like logic, reason, competition, achievement. Masculine traits. And men operate more fluently, mostly, in this realm. Women suffer from the repression and devaluation of intuition, feeling, nurture, compassion, connection and compromise. But men suffer too – and sometimes it’s harder for them to reclaim the feminine traits in themselves – traits that would benefit the world. We more readily see what needs to be reclaimed, not an easy task to be sure, but one more and more of us seem to be undertaking.

    And yes, owning ALL the pieces of us, our shadows becomes a necessary part of the journey. I am in the middle of that process. Learning to re-listen to the inner wisdom, to recognize the hiccup when it happens, to see the shadow pieces and love them as part of me, love me for all that I am. I hope that means I can, I am, stepping more and more into my own authority, listening to my own heart, believing in the good at the core of me. And maybe helping others to do the same.

    The world needs us all to be whole – embracing both feminine and masculine strengths. Saying NO when we need to in order to get to the YES.

  2. This resonates deeply with me, Julie. Excellent timing!

    I can’t imagine saying it any better than what you have written here. I have consistently struggled with believing that I have the same authority as the men in my world seem to have…even when I know in my gut that something feels healthy for me or my kids, I “hiccup” and let those thoughts of self-doubt creep in.

    Needed this reminder. Thank you.

  3. Love this: “authority from within. This isn’t authority over others. It is the authority to know that what I feel, and what I have to say, is just as important as any other human being.”

    And the thought – the pondering – about validation from the beginning – wow! I have wondered…it seems to me that the whole intuitive, feeling-oriented (as opposed to thinking, acting — and I DO mean “opposed”) deal is sooo undervalued in our culture — in men as well as women – in organizations – everything…

    BUT I feel a change a’comin’ (hey wait, that’s a song…). And the hiccup – Julie – such a big deal to name (thank you for that) – and to look at and be ok with…maybe like with “real” hiccups — when the panic around them subsides (when you stop thinking you’re never going to breath again) — they’re no big deal…

  4. Wow. Did I ever need to read this today! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    This is exactly the place I’m struggling right now. And happily, it’s a struggle I’m winning a little more regularly every day. This morning, for example, I started doing annual performance reviews with my staff – something that I dread every single year. Every year I have to address the same concerns with the same staff and it never makes any difference. And usually, after the review, there’s a period of poor communication between those particular staff and me that lasts a few weeks until we can put the difficult conversation behind us.

    Well, this morning on my bike ride to work, I realized that I had been approaching the performance reviews the way I was TOLD to approach them, and every time I did so, it was a source of frustration. Suddenly it occurred to me that I had enough wisdom, after 13 years in management, to be able to trust the way that worked for ME, not just HR management.

    So I started things off on a totally different note, threw away the template and the notes I’d tried to compile to fit the old method, and just had an open and relaxed conversation. A MEANINGFUL conversation, in which I mostly invited the staff person to talk about their year, their concerns, their goals, etc. And then I did my best listening AND I asked them to help me figure out the best way to support them individually. I started out the morning with one of my toughest staff, and I think we just had the BEST CONVERSATION EVER. Wow!

  5. Your writing, Julie, always holds such truth. You speak your truth, what you know to be true, and it resonates with me so deeply because I know for certain that we are connected through the sacred feminine.

    I just got off the phone with my coach and we talked about sharing my story, and how I can pinpoint the exact moment I began to believe I would amount to nothing in my life…the moment my grandfather told me it was so, and simply because I was not—am NOT—a man. Today, I am grateful for that fact, but it’s been a long and windy road, full of hiccups (yes, thank you for naming that part of the process!) and questioning.

    As I look at what’s worked for me, I can finally put a name to it and am working furiously to share it with others because it’s so important to understand that who you are is your greatest asset, regardless of who you are. Awareness without judgment. Mindfulness of the impact of my external being on my internal being. And inspired action that results as I allow integration of this awareness and mindfulness to flow through my being.

    Deep breath, and a release of gratitude to you and your beautiful being, exactly as you are, my dear.

  6. As always, Julie, a beautiful, poignant, and rich/full/juicy post. Just like your heart.

    I ached as I read it – aware of my own loss; the many years (from childhood into my 40s, frankly) in which I could not and did not even know how to validate my own truth.

    The road back, the journey into validation (and celebration) of my own truth has been arduous – but so worth it! To be able to stand in myself, on my own, strong, confident, assured, and in this know-that-I-know-that-I-know space brings me such rest, comfort, and relief.

    The constant saying of “yes” to myself…often while hearing the “no’s” of others remains a challenge. But the more I do it, the more I trust myself – and my truth – the easier it gets. And, simultaneously, hopefully, I’m able to extend increasingly more compassion to myself and to the no’s around me.

    Always easier said than done; no less true.

    I SO appreciate you.

  7. Thank you for this post, Julie.

    Oh, it is so wonderful to return home with all of you. This has been a long time in coming! Renae, your words came right off the pages of my unpublished manuscript, because they represent my life’s work. (I’ve even formed a Facebook group around this very theme. I hope you all will join! ).

    It is impossible to be validated in a society that devalues the feminine. As a gynecologist, I’ve seen the health effects on thousands of women, but I, too, recognize the effects on men. Here’s the positive: we are coming together now to restore the balance…and when this happens, our world will be strikingly different. Exciting times! I am so thankful for each one of you who bravely steps forward in creating this change by reclaiming your own truth.

  8. okay, darlin, you’ll be seeing my name pop up with comments here several times because this is just too big to get one comment around it in one visit.

    first: i. love. that. quote. love it so much that i read it out loud to myself.

    and i’m wondering if we don’t add “mind reading” to the list of amazing things about julie daley. trust. this is big. women trusting themselves; women trusting other women.

    when i first met you and discovered your juicy blog, i was somewhat taken aback by the word “female.” “feminine” – i’m okay with that. comfortable. like it. but “female”? i put my arm out to create a little space between me and that word. see, somewhere alone the way, i came to believe that being female is undesirable, something to be embarrassed about, something to (constantly) apologize for. and to precede the word “female” with the word “unabashedly”????

    when i think of all the things i did and said in an effort to be “just one of the guys”, i sag. when i think of the time i covered up every picture of every female in that teen magazine with the article about the popular male singing group – taped construction paper over the females – a teen magazine, i tell you. when i think of all the persisting back problems i caused by trying for so long to kiss my elbow because someone assured me that when i did, i would become a male.


    “authority”. there’s another word i have a love/hate relationship with. i’ve spent a goodly portion of my life pointing out the authorities donned in the emperor’s new clothes . . . always using self-depcreating humor and my biggest southern accent, of course. it’s the only way i talked with authority to men for the longest time. it’s the way i erased myself over and over and over again.

    i don’t want authority over anybody else. oh, sure, i like being listened to every now and theny, but mostly, i just want the authority that comes with trusting my own self enough to let my words see the light of day; with diving into the pool even if my legs come apart and bend on the way to the water; with smiling as punctuation instead of an eraser.


    thank you for enkindling these vitally important, these essential conversations. i’ll be back with more to say on this one. i’ll undoubtedly be back. . .

  9. I’m reading these comments and feel a bit overwhelmed about how to respond to each one of you. The comments you have graced this post with are astounding in their depth of feeling and sharing.

    So, I’ve decided to write another post that speaks to all of you, and to what I’m feeling and thinking after reading each of your comments two times.

    I feel so blessed to know you all, to be the recipient of the gifts of your wisdom as you so graciously take the time to come here to this blog, read the words, take them in fully and share the impact they have on you.

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

  10. Hmmm….I am smiling from my head to my heart to my toes. This blog – and you Julie – are so deliciously special to me. The conversations that happen here are so FULL and feel transformative – like we all walk away thinking and feeling more deeply into ourselves. The women who come here, share here, are powerful forces of change, of truth, of love and compassion.

    I can’t quite articulate my thoughts around what you wrote as they continue to reverberate through me. So I will live (funny, I meant to say “leave) it at that.

    No, I’m wrong, I will add that having a young (3 year old) daughter, I am acutely aware of wanting her to know herself and trust her truth. I want to validate Who-She-Is in the biggest sense and yet sometimes I think it’s the smallest comments that have the greatest effect. She will likely not go to school for a while (until she chooses to) as I want her to be able to learn through her passions instead of having her instincts, her feelings, her sensitivity beaten out of her in 20 minute intervals. Oh…I have so much more to say but I’ll stop for now.

  11. Alana,
    Yes, all the women who come here are “powerful forces of change, of truth, of love and compassion”, just like you.
    I absolutely love everything shared here, because it deepens my own wisdom, and helps me move deeper into understanding of how this might all actually unfold, to move from the place we find ourselves now, to a transformation of consciousness that is pushing and pulsing to be born.
    Don’t stop now…share all of what you have to say…I am listening with an open heart.
    Love to you,

  12. “That little hiccup is the re-playing, over and over again, of the ‘other’ making it very clear to me that I was wrong in my perception, that I shouldn’t really trust myself.”

    are you spying on me julie? wow. i see myself in this post. i am the young girl who struggled because i learned to give my inner authority over to others… for approval or acceptance or love. or peace & quiet. always a compromise i thought/think will be ‘fair’ but never is. nothing is worth living outside your own personal integrity. nothing.

    today, at 41… i’m awake to the high cost of “misplacing” my inner authority. no longer willing to pay the price. learning, like Dian said, that my only real asset is in being me… without compromise or explanation.

    and i feel comforted and grateful to be surrounded by so many others who have journeyed to their own inner authority or whose reclamation of it is imminent.

    it’s happening now. right now. for some of us, it’s happening right this very instant!

    thank you for sharing this. a gift of seeing myself and accepting more of myself and the journey that brings me home to me.

  13. I am late to this party, though I’m ever so thankful to have showed up. This post speaks straight to my heart. I learned from my Mom that being one of the guys was much more important than having deep and meaningful relationships with women or myself. I am so thankful to have come into the awareness that that is not truth. I’m about to turn 40 and I realize the importance of using, knowing, trusting, embracing my inner authority. All of this scares me, and exhilarates me all at the same time – but I’m ready to step into it. There are many No’s waiting to be owned and spoken by me.

    I am so thankful for your words (always). I honor this space, and the women who show up here. Big love.

  14. This is AWESOME, and right in line with where I am in my heart. Totally in line. We don’t trust ourselves, we can’t even feel our own feelings. It’s time to validate and stand strong in what we believe. Thank you for your writing. May you ever learn the corners of your heart.

  15. Thank you for this beautiful piece.
    I recently took a step out and trusted my inner knowing ~ I left a coffee shop and broke a date with a friend who was 45 minutes late to meet me. The ‘nice girl’ inside was screaming at me that I was a ‘bad’ friend for leaving…but my truer self said, “Honey? If you don’t leave now, you’ll resent it. This doesn’t feel right. If you stay, you’ll be denying your own truth, which is that you feel hurt, and you need time to cool off.”

    I let my friend know that it was too late and I had to leave. She understood. Later, she apologized, and we had a great, affirming talk about how to prevent such a situation from arising again.

    It’s like the beautiful question you asked: “Am I willing to face my own fears of what will happen if I do claim my inner-authority? Of others’ perceptions of me? Of how I see myself in the world?”

    That day, I said yes. The challenge continues in saying yes moment-to-moment.
    Again, thank you!

  16. Caroline,
    Good for you! Yes, moment-to-moment. And, it sounds like you and your friend reached a new place.
    Thanks for leaving your thoughts with us!

Comments are closed.