Let’s talk about it. Do you know what it is? Imprinting is what happens when someone else tries to help us understand something, and we take his or her statement as truth, without vetting it through our own intuition first. A classic example of this is when we relinquish our authority to someone else’s. Let me share a recent experience of my own:
Last fall I was struggling with something that seemed overwhelming to me. So, naturally, I sought advice/coaching/guidance. Most of what was discussed was a validation of things I already knew or felt, but needed reminding. (yay!) As a result, some seeds were planted or watered. But there were some suggestions that were new to me that felt “off.” However, because I had sought out some of the best intuitive people I knew (and because I spent good money on those coaching sessions), I felt inclined to listen and believe what I was hearing as 100% truth. Imprinting done.
The suggestions given to me, because I accepted them into my reality in some way, were now imprinted on my psyche and my intuition, whether they belonged there or not. It wasn’t until a couple months later that I was discussing it with a dear friend who brought up the subject of imprinting. In essence I had allowed someone else’s truth to become imprinted in my reality and, even worse, my imagination: the source of my manifesting and creative abilities. Oops!
There is no malice (usually, hopefully) in imprinting. In fact, it’s typically based in an effort to help. But there is a difference between imprinting and seed planting. I have often described myself as a seed planter. With my clients, in my writing, and in my workshops, my goal is to share seeds (aka: ideas) that may (or may not) take root in each person’s individual soil. The seed will only take root if the soil is ready (ie: the client thinks the seed is good for their garden).
Imprinting also is about sharing, but it takes it a step further. Imprinting leaves an indelible, yet invisible, mark on the ground where it’s placed, because it’s already a seedling, growing and taking up space. It also uses some level of “truth-telling” and “expertise” as its fertilizer to take root. It’s not insidious, though. It simply is what it is.
The main difference, therefore, lies within the recipient.
(doesn’t it always?)
In seed planting, the recipient feels entirely in control over what is allowed to go into their garden. A seed will validate or remind them of something they already knew, intuitively. In imprinting, the recipient has relinquished some of that control, or authority, over themselves and their soil. A seedling has been planted with an established root system, and it takes up space and changes the soil.
We all do it. I did it. Someone we esteem (or hire) has said something to us, based on their wisdom/experience/knowledge, therefore it must be true (even if it doesn’t feel 100%). Imprint done. The big question to ask is: is it bad?
If you know me, by now you know I don’t like the categories of “bad/good.” Imprinting is, therefore, neither. I would simply say it’s not helpful. Why? Because it hasn’t been filtered through your own intuition/wisdom/experience/authority. Nobody is a better authority on you, than you, even if they have the best of intentions. I’m not saying don’t seek out guidance or coaching, especially if you’re wrangling with something. Going it alone is not a solution, and I think we could all use more coaching in our lives.
What I am saying is: don’t allow others to imprint something on you that may not be your truth. If their idea isn’t right for your soil – let it wash away without leaving a mark on the ground. Hold that space for something that will take root and flourish, something that’s in alignment with who you are and what you hold true.
How do you do that? And how do you remove imprints that are already there? Well, those are blogs for another day – but I’d start with identifying your core values and reconnecting to your intuition. Those are always healthy starting points, for anything. 😉