Is It Selfish To Be Who You Were Born To Be?

November 28th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger


By the time we were seven or so, most of us had bought into the “good girl” programming. Since our very survival depended on pleasing our caregivers . . . really . . . it was the most intelligent thing to do at the time!

And how did we know which behaviors were the “good girl” ones? Easy . . . the big people in our lives smiled and hugged us when we performed to their standard, and scowled, or shouted, or said things like “shame on you” to squelch behaviors they didn’t like.


Without being aware of it, most of us have an incredibly strong desire to avoid the psychological and emotional pain of shame. We don’t consciously think to ourselves “I am not going to do such-and-such because I don’t want to feel deep despair at the core of my being.” We instinctively, and unconsciously, resist our heart’s desires and soul’s impulses, by labeling these desires and impulses as selfish, just as we were taught to do!

We were told that nobody would like us if we were selfish. Or we wouldn’t go to heaven. Or we’d be punished. Or whatever . . . so we did our best to fit in and do life right.

End of story . . .

Sort of . . .

For awhile . . .

Until eventually the fairy tale life we were told would be our reward for being good, started getting ragged around the edges, and we noticed happily-ever-after just isn’t happening, no matter how hard we try to make it come true.

Then what do we do?

We blame ourselves!


So here is the dilemma . . . in order to carve away what is not working in your life so that you can soulfully re-shape what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for, you will have to face the fear of being seen as selfish, and neutralize the energy of shame.

It is not that hard to do when you are . . .

. . . curious about discovering your passion
. . . committed to shedding the burdensome “good girl” cloak
. . . willing to pay attention to what you like and don’t like
. . . claiming the right to get expert support in uncovering and trusting your inner compass of joy
. . . willing to do what it takes to make a place in your life for YOU to bloom and blossom

Ironically, in most cases, the person who will give you the most grief about following your heart is . . . YOU! Once you “get it” that your heart is your “inner compass of joy” that is always pointing in the direction of having a soul-satisfying life, you can quickly transform the fear of being selfish into the excitement of discovering your passion.

“Rewarding” doesn’t begin to describe the deliciousness you feel when you spend your days in alignment with who you were born to be, doing what it is that you came here to do! Believe me, the people around you will bask in your radiance, feeling your joy and love when you are living your life from the inside out!


Neutralizing shame is a bit trickier than facing fear, because the programming of what is shameful is hidden outside of our conscious awareness where it runs our lives without our knowing it.

Two of my mentors, Katherine Woodward Thomas and Clair Zammit nailed it when they said “you can’t grow yourself, by yourself.” We all have blind spots that keep us from seeing the obstacles to having a life that works. That’s why every good coach, has a coach!

With me as your coach, I’ll be asking you inspired questions that will reveal your blind spots that were installed when you were a child, at a time when you had very little power.

Once you see what is holding you back, you are free, as a grown woman, to make conscious choices about what truths you will live by.

BOTTOM LINE: It takes courage to be who you were born to be. Having a trusted advisor with you on the journey makes all the difference. The reward for stepping into your greatness is a solid connection to that “peace that passes all understanding.”

TIP: Saying “yes” to yourself is a first step in becoming yourself. Ask yourself “What is one action I can take today that will move me in the direction of saying ‘yes’ to a heart yearning or a soul call?” It doesn’t have to be a giant leap forward. Each small baby step leads to the next, and the next, and the next. Each step taken reveals the next step to take.

P.S. You’ve heard it before, and I am here to tell you it is oh, so true . . . the joy and the juice of life is in the journey, not the destination. Living each moment in alignment with your heart and soul, in equal partnership with your rational mind, is a reliable formula for a life worth living!

P.P.S. A life of dull discontent, albeit often filled with the toys and glitter of things, is often the fate of those who choose to not answer the call of their heart and soul.

So, where are you in discarding the selfish label and neutralizing the shame energy? How strong is the unexplored desire to be a “good person” driving you to live your life in pleasing others instead of answering the call of your heart and soul?  Enter your comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

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Have the Holidays Become a Burden?

November 9th, 2011 by Jennifer Grainger

I have launched my new website: for women ready to carve away what is not working in their lives, and soulfully re-shape what remains. What follows is the text of the first “Become the Woman You Were Born to Be” newsletter I published today.


Welcome new readers! Although this is the 72nd eNewsletter I have published, this is the premier issue of the Become the Woman You Were Born to Be eNewsletter, which is written specifically for women like yourself, who are ready to step out of the roles you were trained to perform, into the freedom of being who you were born to be. Yay!

With Halloween behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Remember as a kid how much excitement and anticipation you had for the holidays . . . how it seemed to take forever for it to get dark enough to go Trick or Treating . . . how the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed an eternity?

Well, fast forward to present time when the pressure to produce a Martha Stewart holiday is everywhere, including in your subconscious mind of how the holidays are “supposed” to be celebrated.

The question is: do you enjoy being the woman in charge of making the holidays magical, or has holiday magic-making become just one more chore to get through. Is “tradition” or Martha Stewartism getting too much “should” time when you think about your holiday to do list?

It is not surprising that each year more women are opting out of pulling off a traditional holiday in favor of self-care by choosing to spend the holidays in unconventional ways that rejuvenate their souls and make their hearts sing.

Like . . .

. . . going away for a few days with the people you want to spend time with (which may be just yourself if your heart and soul are craving some alone time to regroup). Brian and Sylvia, my former in-laws, once opted out of the holiday hoopla by going on vacation without leaving home. (This was long before the concept of a “staycation” was in vogue.)

They told their family and friends they would be at a cabin in the woods for the holidays. They filled the larder with goodies, brought in a stack of firewood, unplugged the phone, and put an “out of order” sign on the doorbell. They put on their coats and hats, got in their car, drove a few miles out of town to a “special occasion restaurant” for brunch. Then returned home as if arriving at a remote cabin in the woods.

Feeling like naughty children who had cut school for a day at the beach, the stolen days were filled with spontaneous laughter and cozy together time.

Have you thought of something you’d rather do for the holidays, and then dismissed it because it was too “far out” from what has become custom? Does thinking about bringing up the idea of doing something different (like not spending it with extended family) seem too radical? Do you need justification for tossing tradition out the window (especially for your own inner-critic who is so quick to shout “selfish” at you)?

This may help.

Every tradition began with a one-time event and simply carried on from there. There is nothing that says you can’t start a new tradition anytime you want. You could start a new tradition of being non-traditional, how about that?

We often forget that our holiday traditions originated in a time when we were an agricultural nation. Not a lot went on in the winter. Days were short. Night was long. Plenty of time to plan and look forward to Thanksgiving with family and friends that you hadn’t seen or talked to in ages! Christmas gifts were mostly handmade. One to a customer.

How crazy is it to let a last century tradition dictate how you will spend your holidays when you are living in a time of instant everything? There is no down time that needs to be filled with something to do until spring arrives!

We are in a new century. Life as we have known it for many generations is falling apart in every sector of life. The old rules, the old ways of doing things, the old ways of family structure are disintegrating right before our eyes.

This means that living our lives from the outside in, that is, looking outside of ourselves for the “right” thing to do, just won’t fly anymore. Yet making the shift from being outer-directed to being inner-directed is not that easy, especially when the concept of “selfishness” is so ingrained in our psyches.

BOTTOM LINE: There is no time like the present to be asking yourself these two insight-generating questions: 1. What am I doing? 2. Why am I doing it? Well, OK, add this third question: 3. What do I want? (as in, what makes my heart sing and my soul jump for joy?)
Then start pushing stuff off your overloaded plate, starting with the changes that are the easiest to make and meet with the least resistance!

TIP: Look out for the “you are sooooo selfish” gremlin to jump out at you. It can’t help it. It is a survival technique from hundreds of years ago when “self-centered” people got exiled from the tribe where certain death awaited them. The cosmic joke is that unless you are currently centered in your self in this drastically changing time, you are in danger of missing the signals you need to be in the right place at the right time when sh*t happens.

P.S. When breaking with tradition the only “reason” you need is “I don’t want to do this anymore, because I don’t want to.” Simple as that. No further explanation needed. Not to yourself. Not to anyone else. Anyone who demands a “reasonable reason why” is a lunkhead . . . just my opinion, of course.

P.P.S. If making changes to holiday tradition that lighten your load and make the holidays a joy for you is likely to be met with fierce resistance from the people who benefit from you working like a dog to get it all done, consider getting support from me to help you gently carve away what is not working and soulfully re-shaping what remains into the life your heart and soul are yearning for. You are worth it,  and you deserve it. Yes, indeed, you do!

I’d love to hear from you. What are your plans for the holidays? Leave  your comments below!



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