Saturday, June 13, 2009

Superwoman Syndrome - When Best Isn't Good Enough

Despite the gains women have made over the past few decades, ‘liberation’ hasn’t always panned out to be liberating.

In real life terms, liberation for many women means assuming multiple roles, taking on multiple responsibilities and being the subject of multiple expectations. Working women who hold down demanding professional jobs are expected to be great mothers, attentive spouses, extended family coordinators, resourceful meal planners..etc...

These beliefs and judgments we hold onto as result of childhood issues, socialization, influences by the media, politics and religion, etc. In a nutshell our ‘Gremlins’ are perspectives that have helped to mold us since birth. Some of these outlooks are healthy and useful, but others are not, yet we continue to clutch onto them as if our very life depends on them.

Accept differences.
We are all unique, in our perceptions, attitudes, feelings, experiences, and history. There is no one just like us in the world. There never has been an exact duplicate of us, nor there ever one.

Differences make life interesting, and yes, challenging. Dealing with other people who see life differently makes for interesting relationships. Differences give life it's opportunities for growth, insight, and awareness. The unfortunate thing is that these differences can often lead to unmanaged or unresolved conflict, stress, and disappointment.

People who live happy lives accept the uniqueness of individuals. They are not on a mission to change them, correct them or invalidate them. Happy people understand that everyone is on their own path throughout life doing what they need to do in order for them to fulfill their destiny.

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And, the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility."
Eleanor Roosevelt
1884-1962, American First Lady, Columnist and Lecturer

Give yourself permission not to be superwomen…
As a way of honoring yourself, I encourage you to practice some of these self care strategies that have been helpful for me and my clients:

1. Give yourself permission to add self care to your life. It's OK for it to be all about you sometimes. Think of self care as any act of nurturing, meaning anything that enhances your level of health, wellness and happiness. Look at all areas such as physical, mental, social, spiritual and financial. Paying an overdue bill can do just as much for your level of wellness sometimes as a warm bath.

2. Recognize and blast the barriers. Ask yourself: what is preventing you from making self care an everyday occurrence? Some of my clients' barriers that we often work through are feelings of guilt, lack of time, finances, lack of support or the need for perfectionism. If any of this ring true for you, take some time to determine a plan as to how you can overcome them. As Dr. Phil says...”You can't change what you don't acknowledge".

3. Ditch the Superwoman Syndrome. This syndrome is adding unnecessary stress and sickness to our lives. We place such unrealistic expectations on ourselves. The guilt we feel often fuels this Superwoman Syndrome. Start letting go of your mental chatter; practice saying No and remember no one's life is perfect. We need to take Superwoman off the pedestal and start putting a more realistic, imperfect, yet happier women up there.

4. Remember that small acts of kindness and compassion can have big pay offs.

5. Allow yourself to dream. If you are craving something new in your life, ask yourself what are some of the dreams you have been putting off.

6. Get yourself a pair of rose colored glasses. Having a healthy perception of life and a positive attitude is one of the best self care strategies you can practice. It is universal laws that what you focus on expands so what are you focusing on? Is your glass always half empty? Do you complain about everything and everybody? Take some time to see what your inner chatter is saying. Then consciously take steps to changing your thoughts and seeing the glass as half full. A daily reflection of gratitude and appreciation goes a long way toward improving yourself care, yourself worth, and your whole life.

I acknowledge, all women, who on a daily basis… are showing up, participating, engaging in the present moment. Take an opportunity to acknowledge yourself for the many big and little things you do. Honor yourself from a place of kindness and gentleness. We do what we know to be the best at the time. Forgive yourself when needed and celebrate yourself whether you think you need it or not. We all deserve to be celebrated. Here's to you...Cheers!!!

What will you do today, to give yourself permission not to be a superwoman?

Live Consciously!

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