Believe in You

Once she knows how to read there’s only one thing you can teach her to believe in and that is herself.” ~ Virginia Woolf

This speaks to the power of books but also to the struggle for women to find ways to believe in themselves.  One of the most powerful tools that any person has is their intuition, that gut feeling that may or may not drive decisions, depending on how well-developed it is and whether one trusts it.  Recent research has discovered that there is far more to “women’s intuition” than old wives’ tales.

“Intuition is the result of the way our brains store, process and retrieve information on a subconscious level says Professor Gerard Hodgkinson of the Centre for Organizational Strategy, Learning and Change at Leeds University Business School. According to his research, intuition is a real psychological phenomenon which needs further study to help us harness its potential.

Through analysis of a range of research papers examining the phenomenon, the researchers concluded that intuition is the brain quickly drawing on past experiences and external cues to make a decision on a non-conscious level. In other words, it happens so fast that we’re not aware that the intuition actually stemmed from a supercharged burst of logical thinking.” from Rebecca Sato in the Daily Galaxy 3/6/08

When we discover ways to harness this supercharged thinking it will have added applications; but the first step is to trust this phenomena.  Women especially are adept at this particular style of decision-making because the storage of emotional responses is more readily available in the female brain.  Yet women are more likely to second guess themselves and look to external factors to drive a less intuitive response.  This may come in the form of self-minimizing; I should try harder, I’m being too sensitive, too emotional, etc.

It is vital that we support the women in out lives in a way that allows them to trust themselves and teach girls the importance of looking inward for answers to life questions.  For all the wonder of a great book, the secret to trusting oneself is not between the covers.

Coming tomorrow…how one middle school in Montana made a tiny change with big rewards for girls and boys.