In the 1950’s it was called the ‘burnt chop syndrome’. Still in 2016, women are continuing the trait of looking after everyone before themselves. But in doing so, we put ourselves at the bottom of the pile, which serves nobody.
Often we women know it’s wrong to not self- love and put ourselves on top of the pile but we seem paralysed to change things. Even when we are doing the behaviour, we feel something could be different and continue to do, do, do for others, before we do for ourselves.
We have evolved from hunters and gathers; women innately care and nurture. It’s an embedded trait. We witnessed our grandmothers and mothers doing this. It is confirmed in media stories, novels, movies and documentaries. Most of the animal kingdom does it, therefore our unconscious mind thinks it’s normal. Life has changed incredibly since the Stone Age or any ‘age’ and today women are working more than ever. Today, we work full-time, part-time, we do shift work and offer to be on call for extra work – all for the finances to support our lifestyle choices and our family. In doing so we split ourselves to look after our family, achieve household chores like washing, ironing, cleaning, weekly shopping, being taxi driver for the family including weekend sports. We care for our partner and nurture our relationship. There is so much to do, and so many responsibilities that we literally forget about ‘us’. There is only a finite amount of time we can continue forgetting about self. Carrying on will eventually create resentment, anger, frustration and dissatisfaction, which can lead to relationship issues, self-esteem and self- worth challenges. We are all wired differently, therefore our coping strategies will be different and it can be a number of years before we feel the impact of the choices we are making today. We get caught up in our story, we totally forget about ourselves. We don’t see we are doing it. We go to bed exhausted, our relationship slips because we are so tired and on the spiral goes. We can end up with fatigue and stress issues and our health ends up suffering.
When busy, it’s easy to forget to give to ourselves. We forget about nurturing and caring for us. Self-care equals self-love! When we love ourselves we are happier. Like a pebble being thrown into a pond, the ripple effect on the water is perfect. It’s balanced, it’s even, it’s pretty, it has magical movement and creates a sense of peace and control. When we operate from this space, we benefit hugely – as does everyone around us. Imagine operating from the place of the ripple? Imagine being in the middle, creating the balance and peace? Now, imagine the impact it will have on those we love. When we operate from this solid place of being, we are strong, in control and balanced.
Is it a challenge to stay here? Yes, it can have its moments. However, if this is a place we want to play more in, we simply make a decision to do so and make the changes. Choice is very powerful. Looking after ourselves, making us a priority just as we make our partner or family a priority, is creating a new habit. Some say it takes 21 days to create a habit, some say it can happen in a moment. On an aircraft, we are told to put our oxygen mask on before helping others. Change will make us stronger.
“It is not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority – It’s necessary!” – MANDY HALE
Tips for being on top:
- Do something small every day for yourself, (a five-minute meditation, 10 deep breaths, walk, jog, read or simply stop and take time out).
- Ask for help. Give your children responsibilities which also support their independence.
- Create regular date nights, dinners, movie nights, even sit on the balcony at home together looking at the stars. Discuss holidays, dreams and your goals for 12 months, or even five years’ time. Plan for the future, keep the romance alive.
- Ask questions of the children, your partner. Learn about their needs and desires.
- Once a week, do something special – this can be as simple as walking on the beach, in the bush, having your nails done, visiting a long time friend or meeting the girls for coffee. Taking time out for self is vital to us being our best.
- Take an ‘Inspirational Living Retreat’ for the weekend, nurture yourself, re-energise and focus purely on what you want from life.
- Educate yourself by learning something new – you deserve it!