The Resonate Podcast with Aideen

Balancing Masculine & Feminine Energy With Michelle Hallum - Episode 46

February 28, 2024 Aideen Ni Riada Season 1 Episode 46
Balancing Masculine & Feminine Energy With Michelle Hallum - Episode 46
The Resonate Podcast with Aideen
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The Resonate Podcast with Aideen
Balancing Masculine & Feminine Energy With Michelle Hallum - Episode 46
Feb 28, 2024 Season 1 Episode 46
Aideen Ni Riada

Michelle Hallum specialises in empowering women in mid-life who are struggling with imposter syndrome to fully step into their leadership roles. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and ICF Accreditation rooted in Jungian Psychology.

Connect with Michelle

LinkedIn: @michellehallumcoaching

YouTube: @michellehallumchannel

Email: michelle@michellehallumcoaching.com 

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening! To book a free consultation with Aideen visit https://www.confidenceinsinging.com/contact/

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Show Notes Transcript

Michelle Hallum specialises in empowering women in mid-life who are struggling with imposter syndrome to fully step into their leadership roles. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and ICF Accreditation rooted in Jungian Psychology.

Connect with Michelle

LinkedIn: @michellehallumcoaching

YouTube: @michellehallumchannel

Email: michelle@michellehallumcoaching.com 

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening! To book a free consultation with Aideen visit https://www.confidenceinsinging.com/contact/

00:03 Welcome to the Resonate podcast with Aideen. And I'm here with today with Michelle Hallam from Barcelona in Spain. Hi, how are you? Great. So glad that you're able to be here today. And I would love to just let people know a little bit about you. So Michelle specializes in empowering women in midlife who are struggling with imposter syndrome to help them fully step into their leadership roles. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology.

00:33 and an ICF accreditation rooted in Jungian psychology. Tell us a little more about that background, that Jungian background, Michelle.

00:43 Well, the young in psychology is absolutely fascinating. I kind of came across it a little bit when I was studying psychology at university, but the main focus was on Freud. So everyone knows Freud, but not a lot of people necessarily know much about Jung. And he made some real big contributions to the world of psychology, including information about complexes, the Myers-Briggs.

01:08 personality test is all based in his kind of typology and all the rest of it. But he kind of got rejected a little bit from the psychological world because of some of his more abstract and unique theories around spirituality and something called the collective unconscious, which is this idea that we've all got this collected unconscious that is

01:35 it's part of humanity, it's kind of evolved over time, much like our DNA, but kind of from a psychological point of view. And with that, there's all sorts of things, yeah. It's quite heady. I mean, like it's, he's been called, I think, like the father of the spiritual psychology. So a lot of people don't want to go near that, they don't want to touch it. Whereas actually, once you start reading his work and once you start understanding it,

02:05 It's incredible. It just, it doesn't fit very well into the kind of, the standards that of testing and experimentation that maybe some of the other more clinical forms of psychology can take. So, you know, it's not really been accepted very much into the world of psychology in the past, but it feels like it's having a bit of a rebirth. Cause as we're entering into these new times, I think people realize that the way

02:32 things have been happening the way we've been doing things, they're not working. And we need to start looking for an alternative way to see the world, deeper meaning, an alternative way to understand ourselves. So suddenly people are really starting to connect to these ideas because when they're used in a practical sense, you have an experience of them. So it's actually even closer to people than if it were a study done by other people that.

03:00 you can't connect with because it's very academic. Whereas I feel Young's work, especially Shadow work, which is what I use a lot with my clients, it really is something that once you've experienced it, you're a believer, you're converted as it were, because you see it, you understand it, it makes sense to you. That's so interesting. I actually came across Jungian psychology through my mother as a teenager. She had loads of books on psychology.

03:28 And I remember reading a couple of things that he'd written. And then I studied psychology as well. The one thing we did in my course that relates to that collective unconscious was I was asked to interview members of my family about the Irish psyche, about how in general Irish people think and what would have brought those beliefs about. And it was fascinating for me because my mother is American.

 03:58 I really had gathered, gleaned more from her. I had more of her psyche. And when I interviewed my grandfather, for instance, and he told me about the history of the civil war in Ireland and the divisions in politics in Ireland, they were things that I had no connection to until he explained that to me. So it's very interesting to understand that wherever we come from, people have a way of looking at the world. It's a culture.

04:28 And we tend to see things in the same way as most people within that culture. Yeah, but this is where I can see, especially now at the moment, you know, there's a lot of divide across the world. Maybe there always has been, but with the rise in digital technology, we're very aware of all of the conflict and war and unrest in the world, division of peoples and all the rest of it.

04:54 And as you said, if you go back in the psyche and you kind of look historically, then we can trace back kind of all of these memories and things and judgments and beliefs that kind of get passed on generation to generation. And in fact, it's only by kind of raising our consciousness to all of this that we can start breaking those chains and making choices about, well, how do...

05:19 How do we want to continue the human race? Do we want to continue in these repetitive patterns of destruction and war and division? Or do we want to look for the things that kind of bring us together and unite us and create a future where people can actually feel more in collaboration with each other, feel that relatedness with each other, rather than what I see in the world at the moment, which is a lot of distrust and a lot of...

05:49 misplaced anger maybe and essentially we are all the same beings trying to get through the same day most of the time with the same things and the same problems and it's by raising that consciousness and having that interconnectedness with other people that we can really start to let our defences down a little bit. And when we start letting our defences down...

06:16 then we can be vulnerable with each other and then we can really connect with each other. And this for me is essential for personal change and for more cultural and global change. It's beautiful. And I know you work a lot with women. How do you think that cultural kind of collective unconscious is affecting women today in terms of how they use their voice and express themselves? Well,

06:43 Again, you know, if we look back historically, this is something that I have to admit I'm not, you know, historically speaking, I'm not an expert on, but I have been looking into all of this because it's informing my work. But there's this idea within young in psychology, and it's not only in young in psychology, but you know, this idea of the feminine masculine energies, it's within each and every one of us. And this doesn't mean that if you're a man, you have masculine and if you're a female, a woman, you have

07:13 feminine. It's like every single one of us has female masculine energies. And it's like yin and yang described in like Chinese philosophy. So there's, if you look across the centuries, there's lots of different ways to describe this in mythology as well. But you know, it's been apparent that there's always been this masculine and feminine force that needs to be in balance for there to be unity and peace within ourselves.

 07:42 and within the world. And this used to be honored. We used to be very respectful of the earth, very respectful of the seasons. We would follow the cyclical patterns of the things around us. And as we've evolved as a people, as we've become more modern, and especially I'd say with the whole time in Europe, especially with the burning of witches and all of this kind of stuff where...

08:10 The feminine was really repressed, this idea of being connected to the earth, understanding the earth, and in some way being in connection with that was distrusted. It was seen as evil. It was seen as something not to be allowed. And it got destroyed. It, you know, by doing that, that this feminine energy was pushed underground. And we've seen this rise of masculine energy and we can see this kind of manifest in the world now.

08:37 with the patriarchal society that we live in. And again, this isn't to sort of like be against men because men are suffering just as much as women under a patriarchal regime. And it's because we've got too much of this masculine energy kind of going around the place, influencing everyone and making people be like, go, go, go, go, go, disconnecting from the people around us, disconnecting from ourselves, disconnecting from the earth.

09:07 And it's actually this bringing into the feminine energy that we need to kind of rebalance all of that so that we can remember what's really important, which is the connecting with others, that we are interconnected, that we do all have an effect on the people around us and on the earth we live in. So just looking back at that kind of history of the collective unconscious, you can see how by not having space,

09:35 equal space for the masculine and feminine energies within us and within society, it's creating destruction all around us. And just to say if it was the other way around, if there was too much feminine, that would also be happening. So like I said, this isn't about man hating or blaming men. It's something deeper and more bigger than just people. Yeah. No, we're using the word masculine and feminine.

10:04 And I suppose each of us has a different idea of what that means. So from your perspective and from the Jungian psychology or from the, you know, bringing more consciousness and more awareness to it, what are the qualities of masculine and the qualities of the feminine that we're, we should be trying to balance out? So in Jungian psychology, Jung called the masculine energy the animus and the feminine energy, the anima. And

10:33 the anima was very representative of the unconscious. So this can be our personal unconscious. Like instinct?

10:45 Um, not really because this, this kind of is the world of archetypes, which is something else in young year psychology. Although, you know, the animal could be described as an archetype and you know, really, these are all kind of quite abstract theories as well as you can quite imagine. So it's a way to kind of conceptualize some of this. I'm trying to get you to simplify it, but when you're talking... I know, and I'm making it more complicated. Okay, let me, let me try and explain it another way. So, um..

11:13 The creative force that is within each and every one of us, and as a singer, you'll know this, this sense of something new being born and you don't know where it came from. You know, if you write a song or if you write a melody or if you create something from nothing, this is the anima. This is coming from somewhere that you don't even know where. This is what, in the sense of unconscious.

11:41 And then the animus represents the kind of the practical container that we need to be able to put this creative energy. So this will be, again, I'm gonna try and use kind of musical terminology. If you were writing a song, then if you just had a melody, but it had no structure, then it might be quite nice, but it's the structure that gives it

12:10 the power, the strength, you know, and the repetition of like a chorus, sorry, a verse, and then a chorus, and then a verse, and then a chorus, or whatever structure you might choose to use, the structure is the animus, and the music and the creativity is the anima. And if we see that playing out in life, or in the world around us, everyone is very kind of animus driven, which is, you know, goal related.

12:39 very much about action, about doing, about achieving things. Whereas the anima is much more about being, being in the moment and allowing things to just unfold as they are. And that this sense of creativity that each and every one of us has within us. But because the animus is so powerful at the moment, a lot of us aren't even connected to that creative side of ourselves. And...

13:09 they, there's a lack in society. You know, you only have to look at school and education and look at the school subjects and how they're prioritized. They're very animist based subjects that we recognize as important in society. Sciences, maths, languages, whereas the arts, the music, all of these kinds of more creative dance, you know.

13:36 These aren't necessary. These are seen as kind of extra activities for kids to do at school rather than the primary activities. So just I don't know if those couple of practical examples give you a better feel for kind of the sense of what the masculine and the feminine are. Yeah, that's so interesting. And within, say, women who are wanting to work with, say, or professionally succeed.

 14:02 How do you help them to balance those energies out practically for success in their work? Well, you mentioned the imposter syndrome. A lot of women, because they're trying to compete in a kind of animus driven world, in a masculine driven world. And again, when I use the word masculine here.

14:26 I'm not even talking men, I'm talking about those priorities that are given to achieving results. You know, numbers, facts, figures, du-du-du-du-duh. When women are trying to achieve and work in that world like that, then they can feel like imposters. Because maybe when that voice of creativity comes, if we're not tuned to it, if we're not willing to listen to it, if we're not willing to allow it, if we don't have the space to allow it.

14:56 because we're so focused and distracted by being the other way, then that is a crushing of us, our soul to a certain extent, or part of our soul. So when I work with women, it's really about helping them understand that this is really part of who they are. It's part of who we all are. And there is, it's not just all in their imagination. And, you know, intuition has got a place at the table.

15:25 And it's something that needs to be honored and cultivated and really respected. And when women start seeing this, when they start kind of putting that into practice and they see it pays off, that's when they start believing and going, oh, okay, I get it now, I see it. It feels counterintuitive because we've all been brought up to behave in this world like this way, which is ignore your kind of intuition or, you know.

15:55 go with the logical all the time, these things are more important. So when we actually get to experience tapping into that creativity, that intuition, and we see that actually it was the best thing we could have done, then you can start trusting it. And so it's all about self-trust and it's all about recognizing that imposter syndrome is actually because you are an imposter, because you're trying to be something that you're not. And as soon as you start being who you are supposed to be,

16:25 the imposter syndrome just falls away.

16:30 It sounds amazing. Because so you're saying that we need to trust our own instinct in things as much as think it through and be practical.

16:46 Yeah, and recognize that inner voice because I don't know about you, but I've got quite a few inner voices, you know. It's like you can... and this is part of the process. It's recognizing which ones are this kind of true inner voice, because the ego has got a tendency to be a very strong voice telling you that you're not good enough, telling you that that's not the way you should do it, telling you that you're going to fail or whatever it is, it's your own personal...

17:15 relationship with your ego and what it chooses to tell you to kind of keep you safe in its mind or I don't know if it has its own mind but if we're going to give it a personality, why not? So it's about tuning into the different voices that you hear within you with the messages that they're giving and this can be emotions also like you know a lot of people experience anxiety and depression and...

17:45 Unfortunately, the way society has dealt with that up until now is to medicate it and see it as a problem that needs to be medicated away. And please, I'm not saying out, you know, if you're taking medication for anything you shouldn't be, you know, it's like that. That's not my place. I'm not a doctor, but I know from my own personal experience that my anxiety and my depression that I've experienced and I experience when it needs to come up.

18:13 It's coming up for a reason. It's coming up to give me a message. It's coming up to talk to me. It's coming up to tell me that something isn't right. So just medicating these things away is, is basically again, pushing away the animal, pushing away this, this inner intuition of things aren't the way they should be, and I have to do something to change this. So it's just recognizing, understanding and trusting that.

18:41 you can listen to these voices and you can act on them and they will guide you in the way that you need to go. That's beautiful. And do you think there's a place for using our voices as women to help us find ourselves? So there's, because we were speaking before about the book, Women Who Run With Wolves and Clare's right.

19:09 called Estes talks about the voice in there as a tool for for reclaiming the feminine. What would be your take on that?

19:21 Well, like I said, you know, only what comes to mind straight away is witches, you know, it's like I think they used to have some contraption that they would put, it was like a ball that they would put in their mouth and tie around the back so that they couldn't actually speak because they believed that they would put spells on the witch hunters and all the rest of it. So, you know, these women that were essentially wild women, that were women of the earth, that were women that were in touch with the feminine.

19:49 were literally gagged and silenced. And this memory has continued through the generations. It's been passed on from woman to woman. So even if you feel like you look at your immediate history and your immediate like family history that you know, and this is what happened to me, I thought, well, you know, I come from a family of quite outspoken women. And, you know, I don't feel like that applies to me.

20:18 And then as I started learning more about this, it's like, oh no, it's happening on a deeper level. So we all, if you think about the way that women and men react to.

20:31 a situation where somebody's in need, for example, women will more likely put their own needs to the back and help the person that needs help because we're all kind of, there's some belief in us that we have to be people pleases, we have to look after others, we have to care for others, that our voice is not important as somebody else's voice. So if somebody's got a complaint, if somebody's got a problem, then it's them that needs to be listened to before ourselves.

21:01 And this is a really difficult place for women because we are, I think, caring and compassionate and all of those things, but that doesn't mean that if we don't share our voice, or let me put that another way, we can still share our voice and still be all those things. We can still say what we wanna say and what we truly believe and what we truly feel, and we can be compassionate and caring as well. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

21:31 And I think this kind of historical attempt to silence women, to silence the truth that women have to tell is what's happening now. What we see in the world now is that I think there's an uprising of women that are not willing to be silenced anymore. And I see it and I feel it and it feels like a powerful force is up and rising, which.

21:59 you know, makes absolute sense because the psyche, whether it's your personal psyche or like the more interconnected collective unconscious is always seeking balance. It's always seeking to integrate into a place of wholeness. So whatever's been happening one way, it's gonna have to come back the other way to kind of balance those things out. And I feel like we're in that moment. Women are finding their voices and people like you are helping them do it as well, which is amazing.

22:28 Yeah, the practical even use of the voice and allowing sound to move through the human body can be so powerful because we repress tears, we repress cries, we repress like er, you know, sounds of frustration because we are putting other people first or we feel like, no, it's not appropriate for me to say something. And it's that.

22:57 giving ourselves permission because I feel like we have been taught and I don't think it's just girls, either. I think boys and girls have been taught that they need to wait their turn in situations. In school, you have to put your hand up before you're allowed to speak. And we are waiting for someone else to ask us what's going on. And nobody's asking sometimes. And.

23:22 Sometimes the feeling of, oh, I need to be able to say something that is very vulnerable, but how do I do that when no one's creating a safe space for me to do that?

23:38 And interestingly, I've been researching for a workshop that I'm going to be doing on unconscious bias around gender. And, you know, girls, I mean, I don't really like getting into this because I don't like generalisations in general. But, you know, girls tend to be more...

24:03 a studious and they can follow the kind of instruction at school better. They can be quiet, they can sit, they've got a longer attention span than boys, all these kinds of things which make them, you know, better in inverted commas. Students, especially from a teacher's point of view, you know, that's how you want your students to be. So the girls get rewarded for being this way also. They get rewarded for being good girls. Whereas boys kind of have more problems with that and that's to do with physiology and...

24:33 biology and other factors that kind of feed into their psychology of how men have kind of evolved over the years. And, you know, they tend to get punished, but the result of that, punished as in, you know, they're may be sent to out of the room more often or they get more criticism or they get more, they feel like they fail more often or whatever the thing might be. And how that actually plays out when we get into the workplace is

25:01 women will continue to kind of like be very astute and be very accurate and very detail-orientated and et cetera, et cetera. And their bosses are very happy with them. But the boy or the men are kind of more disruptive. They're kind of challenged their boss or they're challenged what's happening or they just go with ideas. They don't necessarily follow the rules. And what happens is, is they're the ones that get further because they've got more, what's the word, not charisma, but they...

25:31 they spark something in the people around them, you know, because they are kind of challenging the status quo. They are being innovative in some ways. And so they'd be the ones that kind of tend to move forward in promotions and stuff more often because they've got thicker skin as well. They're used to being told to shut up or to sit down or to get out. You know, girls might kind of, and I read one study about this that, you know, one woman was saying that she had a great employee, a woman.

26:00 But if she ever criticized her, then she would just burst into tears or have to excuse herself while she went out of the room to cry because she wasn't used to it and she found it too much. Whereas for a man, he's so used to being told all of these things that he's more resilient and more able to do that. So I think there's something going on on so many different levels here, but I think allowing girls...

26:30 to be kind of bad or kind of almost encouraging girls to be bad or not necessarily using the education system as a place to even categorize children in that way. Like I think there needs to be a whole upheaval of the way we do everything because if we're rewarding behaviors in school that then aren't useful further on down the line, then there's a gap in the kind of the system.

26:59 of what we're actually doing with kids in school and then what they're going on to do later on in life. So, you know, all of these things, I don't quite know how they all relate, but I can sense they are all interrelated and it starts with girls feeling more confident to speak up and feeling more confident to kind of use their voice and challenge the things they see around them rather than getting caught in this trap of being a good girl is the thing that I want in life.

27:29 Hmm. So stop trying to fit in and start letting yourself stand out for good or bad and see where the chips fall. Oh, it's been an absolutely fantastic conversation, Michelle. And so interesting. We could talk for ages. Um, we have to start winding things up. Is there any last thing that you'd like to say to the listeners before we finish up?

27:55 That's a hard one. Yeah, I think something you just said there actually sparked a memory in me that really resonated with me. One of my favorite people, Brene Brown, was saying the opposite thing to fitting in is belonging. So if you're trying to fit in, then you're probably changing who you are and modifying your behavior or the way you speak or the things you say so that you can fit in.

28:23 Whereas actually belonging means that you get to be exactly who you are as you are with no filters and you are loved and appreciated for that. So I think my advice would be for people to be going for that, don't try to fit in, find the situations that challenge you and make you feel uncomfortable and then see how that resonates with your values, your beliefs about who you are.

28:53 and make sure you're listening to that inner voice and staying with that. So you find places to belong rather than just places to fit in. I love that. And I know that you do create spaces for people to work on their shadow and those kinds of workshops. Those could be places people could maybe seek out to find belonging.

29:17 Can you tell us a little bit about what you offer and how you would suggest people stay in touch with you or find out more about you? Absolutely, thank you. I do monthly New Moon shadow coaching sessions. So I combine the symbolic power of the New Moon, which is all about looking deep within, being introspective and pressing the reset button of where you are in life and where you wanna go. And I...

29:45 coupled out with Jungi and shadow coaching, which is really about using your projections to understand more about your hidden unconscious values and beliefs that might actually be keeping you held back in some way. So by going through this process in the sessions, it can help you identify what parts of you really need to be looked at for you to be shifting out of these.

30:13 these behaviors that are maybe keeping you stuck and helping you move forward so that you can actually hear that inner voice and move into spaces where you do belong. Beautiful. I will be putting some information in the show notes to help you connect, I should say, with Michelle, including how to join her mailing list and any other links that she's been able to give me. So thank you everyone for listening.

30:42 And like, I feel like we need to acknowledge that that masculine feminine energy is in each of us. So if you're a man and you've been listening, I hope you've also been able to glean some good advice from Michelle. Thank you everyone who's been listening. It's been a pleasure to have you with us, Michelle. Goodbye from the Resonate podcast until next time. Thank you so much.