The social conditioning of women’s role as care givers and nurturers is so well-embedded, it is hardly surprising that the need to meet our own needs goes out of the window because many of us feel that it will clash with fulfilling our ‘duties and expectations’ which are to meet the needs of others first.
This may result in us neglecting our needs, conflicts and resentment, which consequently affect others too, especially our nearest and dearest. Recently I conducted a research call with Carla. She is a business woman running 3 businesses, a parent of one child and also a carer for her parent. She told me that it was down to her to make sure that every single thing is running smoothly. Therefore taking time for herself was non-existence. And she said she would feel guilty if she did take time for herself. She took on every job there was in the business and family, including waiting for an engineer to come and read the electric meter in her parent’s house. She felt exhausted, frustrated and resentful. She longed for the simple things in life such as talking to her partner about life and having coffee with a friend and chatting about nothing and anything.
Listening to her saddened me. Just because she, you, me, we can do anything it does not mean that we have to do everything. We absolutely do not need to say YES to everything and fulfil all these duties that have been placed upon us. Is it really our role and responsibilities anyway? Are we really the only persons to do them?The answer is no, it is not. We need to stop trying to do everything just because we can. Carla, you, I and we need to build strong boundaries.
Establishing my own boundaries took a long time. Often the biggest challenge for strong boundaries is family. Having strong boundaries with your family does not mean you no longer prioritise theirs but it means you include yourself in the equation too. So you allocate and protect your time to meet your needs.
Boundaries are signs of self-respect. When you treat yourself with respect yourself i.e. not allowing people to take advantage of you, drain your energy, exhaust your time, you teach others to do the same too. It feels empowering, although it can be so uncomfortable in the beginning. It takes practice and consistency is key.
When you feel empowered, you start to feel confident again. You become a role model to those around you. It’s a win-win outcome. It can prevent conflict, frustration and resentment because everyone knows where they stand.
Do you know what your needs are?
Needs need to be met in order for you to be in the state of OK. I categorise my needs into five sections - food, water, sleep, mindful movements and spiritual practice. This is the chart for it if you’d like to download it for your own use.
Fulfilling everyone’s needs is not your responsibility but fulfilling yours IS.
Give yourself an acknowledgment that you’re doing your best as a working mum and forgive yourself for not doing everything.
Do give a form a go and if fulfilling your needs is/will be a challenge then let me help you overcome this.
I’m always here to help. And don’t wait too long when you can change something that will make your happier.
So are you ready and willing to rise above this social conditioning and start living a fulfilling life?