Why is it that when we think of doing things for ourselves we feel guilty?
Even the idea of pausing to indulge in some self-care and dreaming makes us uneasy…
“Self-care? Who needs it?!”
“Make time for me?! But why…?”
“Putting myself first? Isn’t that kinda selfish?”
Why you need to give yourself permission
Let me come out and say it: NO, ladies. Prioritizing and creating space for yourself in life is not selfish.
It does not make you a bad wife or mom.
And it’s something you need to start doing, fast, for the sake of your own happiness.
Specifically, you need to give yourself permission to dream big, take care of you, and make time to continue to grow as a person.
You need to give yourself permission to start ranking highly on your own to-do list.
And you need to write yourself back into your own life’s agenda.
But first, you need to recognize that right now, you’re not giving yourself that permission.
Just think for a minute of the feelings you experience when you imagine doing something for yourself.
I mean doing something that’s for YOU and only you – not something that will make life easier at home, for the kids, your partner, or your clients.
Doing something that involves devoting time and attention to YOURSELF and to a personal dream or want of your own.
Think about it deeply and honestly.
What emotions do you feel, imagining that?
Emotional blocks and obstacles
For many people, the feelings that usually arise are overwhelm, guilt, fear, and annoyance.
Often, the overwhelm comes from realizing just how much there actually is that you’d love to achieve for yourself.
A barrage of plans and ideas hit you at full-speed… and panic sets in: “It’s too much. I can’t think about this right now.”
Then comes guilt: “If I put myself first, what will happen to my kids/partner/clients?”
That’s because, for some reason, women are meant to be selfless “do-ers.” And for some reason, we’re trained to view the alternative to being selfless as selfish. (Well, I call bull on that…)
Next comes fear. A fear that one of two things will happen:
- That you’ll take the leap, start to put your personal goals into the mix… and that things will fall horribly apart.
- Or that you’ll keep chugging along on autopilot, and a part of you will keep withering away, little by little, each day.
Now comes the final emotion: annoyance.
You don’t like those options, and you’re annoyed that you even started thinking about this. Annoyed that you now feel overwhelmed and guilty and afraid.
Honestly, it’s a vicious cycle. And it’s a cycle that you need to break free of NOW.
So let’s stop it in its tracks once and for all.
Start making time for yourself
It’s time to put your dreams for yourself back on the table, acknowledge that self-care and self-fulfillment matter, and give yourself permission to create space for you!
Here’s a trick to get you started and over the initial hump.
It’s a game that I love to play with clients – and it’s called the “worst-case scenario” game. (I promise, it’s more uplifting than it sounds!)
Basically, imagine the worst thing that could happen if you put doing something for yourself onto your daily, weekly, or monthly to-do list.
Picture the negative potential consequences if you give yourself permission to create more space for yourself in your life.
And then ask yourself if those fears match up to reality.
My guess is they probably don’t.
For example, you may be worried that you’ll end up disappointing your spouse by asking for more help or time or space.
But will you really? Or are they already asking those things of you?
You might be worried that your kids will suffer or feel like you’re unavailable to them.
But actually, taking a little “me-time” to reset and prioritize your own wants can help you be more available to the ones you love, by giving you more clarity and energy.
And maybe you’re worried that your clients will notice the shift.
But if you’re finally serving and taking care of yourself, aren’t you likely to be more laser-focused for them?
Honestly, it’s time to let your fears go and give yourself permission to matter on your own priority list. To give yourself permission to count again.
Learn from how you got here
Just think back to your younger self.
Didn’t she constantly give herself permission to live a life where she pursued what she wanted, chased after her dreams, and tackled her goals like a champ?
In fact, her determination to create space for her own desires and bring them to life is probably how you ended up here: with a career you rock at, a spouse you love, and a family who adores you.
It made you the indispensable glue in this accomplished life of yours.
But somehow, over the years, your determination to prioritize your personal goals, make sure your own needs were met, and create the time to tackle everything that you wanted and needed to be happy, got lost.
Ironically, the very character trait that got you so much of what you love took a backseat.
Maybe you even feel like it disappeared entirely.
But the good news is that things don’t have to stay like this.
Because you can start making the mindset shift you need to bring that kickass character trait of yours back.
What’s one small shift that you could make just this week? Tell me in the comments!