Image courtesy of Chad Wys
Using Intuition to Find Self-Acceptance
Self-care has gone mass-market—and for the most part, that’s a good thing. But when it comes to loving yourself, we haven’t cracked that code quite yet. That’s why medical intuitive Katie Beecher is redefining how we go about it. In contrast with other philosophies and techniques, Beecher’s is more aligned with the Jungian concept of intuition: an “all-loving, all-knowing force” within us that’s the key to self-acceptance, the mind-body connection, and the ability to heal. This kind of genuine self-love can feel simultaneously elusive and worth the effort of hunting down—which is exactly what Beecher helps us do.
(To learn more about Beecher’s process as a medical intuitive, see our Q&A with her: “A Road Map to Your Intuition.”)
A Q&A with Katie Beecher
I was fortunate to begin learning about intuition at the age of sixteen, with the help of an amazing Jungian therapist. Carl Jung believed that the key to healing is wholeness. He taught that by connecting to the intuition—or higher self—and to all of the parts of our personality, we can uncover our inner feelings and true path. This type of therapy encourages self-love and self-acceptance.
With the guidance of your intuition, you can learn what it means to be who you truly are and what you need to do to get there. It is a gateway to your authentic self, your dreams, your goals, and healthy relationships. When you don’t feel alone anymore and don’t need anyone else’s approval, you are able to release the fear that is keeping you trapped and holding you back. Self-love and self-acceptance help you release the need to push down painful feelings—and the need to run away from them using drugs, alcohol, food, or other substances and addictions. Instead, self-love and self-acceptance allow you to think about treating yourself kindly, eating healthy, exercising, meditating—reminding you to be mindful, to live in the present.
Most people have had a “gut instinct” that warned them to get out of a potentially dangerous situation and have had a premonition-type inkling that something was going to happen. This is what is commonly thought of as intuition—and these examples certainly qualify. But my definition of intuition is a little different. It comes from Carl Jung’s definition, which is “God Within.”
Intuition, as I use it with clients and understand it myself, is an all-loving, all-knowing force within us that never leaves our side. It is a source of unconditional love and acceptance, of protection and personal guidance. It is within all of us, and you don’t have to be a medical intuitive or a psychic or have any type of special abilities to access it. (Many people confuse the fear they hear in their heads with intuition, and they are certainly not the same thing; fear has its place if we are in danger, but living in fear keeps us from listening to the loving voice of intuition.)
“Intuition, as I use it with clients and understand it myself, is an all-loving, all-knowing force within us that never leaves our side.”
When I describe intuition to my clients, I tell them that their intuition is always available to them for the answers they seek and that they don’t need to look anywhere else for approval. There is nothing we can do to make our intuition turn away from us or stop loving us. We don’t have to be a certain weight, achieve anything, or do anything at all for it to be there. We don’t have to earn its love.
While there are more similarities than differences, self-love and self-acceptance are not the same thing.
Self-acceptance involves taking a long, honest look at everything about yourself and, in a nonjudgmental way, allowing yourself to recognize that these attributes, emotions, characteristics, and talents are valid and real. They exist. Accepting things about yourself doesn’t make you automatically happy with them or make you stop fearing them, but it’s certainly a first step in that direction. It starts with doing an inventory and identifying what exactly you are trying to accept—which may not be easy but often isn’t as frightening as we make it out to be.
According to a dictionary definition of “love,” it is “a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.” Self-love, then, would be a passionate affection for ourselves. It is treating ourselves the way we would treat people we truly love: with tenderness, understanding, and compassion in our actions and words. You don’t have to take an inventory to love yourself. You can just do it. Too many of us have known self-hatred and shame; love is letting go of that negativity and replacing those feelings with positive emotions.
It should be easy. I believe we are born loving and accepting ourselves. Sadly, we are taught shame, self-deprecation, how to bury our emotions, and the idea there is something wrong with us. Many people have a belief that they need to hide their talents and pride or they will seem conceited and make other people feel badly.
While it seems to be what every other headline tells us we should be doing, loving and accepting ourselves is elusive—and it’s so easy to hold ourselves to impossible standards when the same publications glorify perfect bodies, lavish lifestyles, and romantic, wonderful relationships. We mere mortals—with stretch marks, wrinkles, fat, nine-to-five jobs, illness, and stress—often think we need to keep up. We don’t always realize that just being ourselves is more than enough.
“While it seems to be what every other headline tells us we should be doing, loving and accepting ourselves is elusive—and it’s so easy to hold ourselves to impossible standards when the same publications glorify perfect bodies, lavish lifestyles, and romantic, wonderful relationships.”
Self-acceptance and self-love mean taking an honest look at yourself, amazingness and warts and all. In my work, I find many people have pushed down their feelings for so long that they barely even realize they have them. They have spent so much time worrying about what other people think that they have forgotten that they even have their own opinions—or are terrified to express them. They haven’t connected with their authentic self in years.
It takes a great deal of courage to change how you show yourself to the world, mostly because it means risking rejection. When you start loving and accepting yourself, you’re putting yourself first, saying no, and standing up for what you want. It might mean getting out of destructive relationships or jobs and showing the world that you are important and that you matter, even if it means being alone until you establish a new life.
Carl Jung was one of the first psychologists to write and lecture about the relationship between mind and body—and how intuition uses the body to speak to us through symptoms. He died in 1961, long before anyone took the connection between mind and body seriously.
We have nearly all felt an uneasiness in our stomach when something bad was about to happen. Anxiety is often felt in the gut, head, and chest. We emotionally eat, get stress headaches, and become “choked up” when upset. That is all to say: Our feelings are tied to our bodies. Even though this is widely accepted, many people don’t understand that intuition is also connected with our bodies; it doesn’t just send us information through our thoughts but also uses physical signals. We just need to know how to recognize these signals.
We are not our bodies. We are spiritual beings, but our bodies take us where we need to go while we are on earth. They keep us grounded and present. If you cut off your body, you can’t send it love and you certainly aren’t accepting it—which makes it is very difficult to listen to your intuition. This disconnect often happens if we are in physical pain, don’t like how we look, are ill, are angry at our bodies, or have been abused.
- Listening to the loving voice in our heads. If you are hearing negative things about yourself or fearing irrational things, this isn’t your intuition.
- Listening to our emotions. You don’t have to act on every emotion, but allow yourself to feel everything—positive and negative—without pushing down how you feel. But make sure that your emotions actually belong to you. It is easy to pick up feelings from others. When you are feeling something unpleasant and it doesn’t fit your situation or it is too intense, ask yourself if you could be picking it up from somewhere or someone else; if so, let it go.
- Listening to signals from our bodies. This includes subtle signs. I believe that symptoms are a way that intuition sends us information about what we need to do to change our lives and heal. Medications typically impact the physical, but emotional and spiritual healing also requires intuition, self-love, and self-acceptance.
- Connecting with symbols and coincidences. Our intuition can speak to us symbolically. If you subscribe to the idea that intuition is connected to a higher power or universe, which I do, then it follows that intuition can also communicate with us through our world. Like a song coming on that makes you think of something or someone, a phone call out of the blue, or unexpected events, like time changes to meetings or delayed flights. The key is that you have to be open to these signals and willing to let go enough to trust that maybe your intuition has a plan.
- Talking to our intuition. You can talk to your intuition and even your body directly through journaling, specifically asking questions and waiting for answers. You will hear them and feel them if you allow it. Carl Jung used this technique, when in a waking trance state, to “download” his most important theories and to make contact with his personal guide. If you are interested, The Red Book is the document he created, combining words with incredible paintings. You can also use this journaling technique to talk with people who have passed.
- Using intuition-connecting tools. It’s fun to use devices such as pendulums, runes, and oracle cards to get messages from your intuition. Pendulums are stones that hang from strings or chains—and once you know how, you can program them to receive answers and guidance. Runes are ancient stones you choose while asking your intuition questions, and you can do the same with oracle cards (or angel cards).
- Facing our fears. Make a list of everything you are afraid of, even seemingly insignificant things. Pick one and face it. This will show you that your fear has been overblown and that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for. Be proud of yourself, starting with the first item, and then love yourself enough to tackle more items on your list. Do the same with things you have been avoiding. Often we avoid things out of fear.
- Engaging in self-expression. Art therapy and creative activities in general are other ways of talking to intuition and finding self-love and acceptance. Look for simple mantras and affirmations that speak to you also.
- Engaging in meditation and mindful practices. Individualized dreamwork, yoga (especially Kundalini), Reiki, and other bodywork are wonderful ways of receiving intuitive information. Additional ways: being in nature, giving yourself time alone with your thoughts, talking to God, meditating, enlisting the help of a therapist, or getting a medical intuitive reading.
These are not the only ways of connecting and changing the way you think about yourself, but they are a good start. Ultimately, you are the one who has to make a commitment to treat yourself differently. No one can do it for you.
Katie Beecher is a medical intuitive who does the majority of her consultations over the phone. She has a BS in biology and psychology and an MS in counseling, with a particular interest in Carl Jung.
The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies. They are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop. This article is for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.