You know what I have noticed in literally ALL the women I am friends with as well as in ALL the women I get to work with in my 1-on-1 coaching?
They are all extremely kind, giving, nurturing, and loving women. They are all women with an active emotional life and a special sensitivity for when something feels off or imbalanced. They are women, who literally “feel” when someone else is not doing well and they are fierce defenders of those they love. They are women who want to jump in, fix, and lighten other people’s emotional burdens. They are all women, who we are so lucky to have in our lives.
If you are reading this, chances are that you are one of those women as well and I encourage you to read on.
A topic that has come up a lot lately (both privately and in the media), is the topic of self-care. And that is wonderful. I love that there is a movement towards realizing that we have to invest into ourselves and our well being in order to be happy individuals and to sustain ourselves, our relationships, and our energy in the long haul.
So, before you read on, I would like to ask you: How do you practice self-care? What does taking care of yourself mean to you?
The reason I am asking you this is because, I believe that there are 2 levels of self-care and many people forget about the second one:
Level 1: What you physically do for yourself and your well-being. That might include exercising, eating well, getting massages, meditating, enjoying lunch away from your computer, wearing clothes that you feel beautiful in and that fit your body well, taking time to yourself to read, etc.
Level 2: How your care for your inner life. Do you speak to yourself kindly and with the highest degree of respect or is your inner dialogue dominated by negative self-talk and guilty chatter?
Today, I want to talk about level 2 self-care because many women take steps towards taking care of themselves physically, but still beat themselves up internally!
Here is an example: I was talking with a client the other day and she told me that she has been working really hard on doing nice things for herself (level 1 stuff), but whenever she is actually taking time to herself to move her body, she is internallybeating herself up because she could be getting other things done. She feels selfish and extravagant and rushes so she can get back to work or her kids asap. Her inner self-care (level 2 stuff) was completely working against her level 1 efforts.
Another example I often see, is that so many of us women are extremely worried about what others think of us if we spend time on ourselves instead of being “productive” or doing what others expect of us. When we finally rally up the courage to set some boundaries with our friends or family, we follow up our conversations with one of these phrases:
- I am soooooooooooooooo sorry!
- I really feel SO BAD.
- I just REALLYYYYYY hope you don’t think I am a terrible friend.
If you set boundaries in the name of “self-care” but follow it up with one of these phrases, you are throwing a shadow on your internal experience of whatever you are physically doing for yourself. You are putting yourself into the shoes of the offender and are unconsciously telling yourself that taking care of yourself is something to feel sorry or guilty about. You are also suggesting that you are in the wrong by taking time to fulfill your own desires or refueling your own energy. You are NOT in the wrong!
Isn’t self-care all about doing things for yourself that will make you feel free, liberated, relaxed, worthy, and in charge of your own life? Let your words to others and yourself reflect that!
How we speak to ourselves is how others see us, so make sure you speak to yourself accordingly.
To me, REAL self-care front and foremost means: Nurturing my authentic self without letting the “shoulds” of the world make me feel selfish, guilty, or rushed.
So, here is what you can do to create a positive shift:
1)Start noticing when you are putting on your guilty shoes. Are you putting yourself down for not being productive? Are you labeling yourself as “selfish” or “extravagant”?
2) Rephrase your sentences to yourself and to others. Instead of saying, “I feel so bad, I am being so selfish” try saying “I am re-fueling myself so I can be of the best possible support for those I love.” Or when you say to someone “I feel so bad, but I am just so exhausted” try saying “I wish you the best evening, but I need to take a night for myself to re-charge.”
This shift doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, practice, and consistency to change from an old habit to a new one, so be gentle with yourself in this process.
When my internal dialogue is not supportive of my own well-being, I start to feel overwhelmed and torn between what I “should” do.
Internal overwhelm creates external overwhelm!
I would love to invite you to join my free virtual class next week on “Overcoming Overwhelm: The 3 secrets you must know to stay productive and happy this fall and beyond.” It’s happening on Tuesday, October 8th at 8pm EST/ 5pm PST and I have A LOT of great things in store for you.
I am really excited for the class and will cover both practical tools you can do to stop overwhelm as well as how you can get you inner life on board.
I would really love to have you on the call with me! Find out more info and sign up here.
With lots of love & self-care,