Happy International Women’s Day – I’m declaring a GUILT FREE day for women everywhere!!!!
Because I racked my brain on the one thing that would help women the most. I’ve had the immense privilege of having worked with over 32,000 women over the last 12 years – and if there was one thing I wish I could wave my magic wand over to help women – it would be guilt!!
I think that we as women are the nurturers of this world – I truly believe it’s inherent! Regardless of whether we have children or not – we are always ‘giving’ to everyone around us – parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, children etc etc.
AND we frequently feel that we are not ENOUGH in what we do for these very important people in our world – and that’s when we feel the awful emotion of GUILT!
And boy, we are super good at beating ourselves up!
- I forgot his birthday! He never forgets mine – he must feel like this is a one way relationship!
- I haven’t phoned to check in in 3 weeks! She must think I don’t care.
- I worked late and missed drinks with my friends – they think I don’t like hanging out with them. They will give up on me!
- I didn’t make it home to say goodnight to my kids AGAIN! They will grow up feeling unloved and resent that I wasn’t around!
STOP IT! We can say some awful things to ourselves. Indeed we are often not a very good friend to the one person who needs us the most – YOU!
The truth is that those important people in our world know that we care. All of the terrible consequences that we imagine are often not real. If they are real -do we really want that person in our lives anyway? And if we MUST have them in our lives – is it time for a good honest conversation.
When my daughters were little (now 17 year old twins and at University – alleluia!) my well meaning mother would constantly visit me and tell me all the things I wasn’t doing the right way for my children, the things I missed – she even rang them once or twice and asked them if I’d remembered to feed them!!!!!!
It made me feel sooooooo guilty.
She was trying to do the right thing – and I don’t think she had a clue that her constant list of ‘missings’ was debilitating for me!
About 7 years ago I sat her down and had a frank, honest, calm relationships with her. I was brutally honest. I explained the impact on me. I was really clear that I needed and wanted to work full time – and that I would be raising my daughters MY way.
She reacted well (which surprised me). She has needed fairly constant reminders – but now she gets it. The stress in my life has reduced dramatically. I also have a much better and more honest relationship with my mother.
This IWD – my wish for you is for you to remove some of that guilt you feel from your head. Sweep it away. It’s a useless emotion. You are doing the best you can. You will be a better supporter of all those people who you believe need you so much – if you look after your own mindset a little more.
Decide – you are ENOUGH! Get really honest with the people that need you. Explain what you can and can’t do – manage their expectations. Honest communication can be hard – but trust me, it will take a load off! They may not like it – but for their sake and yours, you need to do it.
For me, I have had these honest conversations with my children (often!), sibling, mother and friends. I’m always a bit nervous- how will they react? I need them to love me! When I feel nervous – my solution is to get very prepared. I write down what I will say. I think about what they might say and how I will respond. I develop a catch cry reminder trigger for them and for me!
For example, when my daughters tell me: ‘you’re never here, I wish you were a ‘normal’ mother or don’t you miss me!’
I reply: ‘I love you very much, I do the best I can and I’m always thinking about you.’ Then I give them a list of at least 5 things I have done for them!
I’m sure you get the gist!
Good luck – own being ENOUGH. Refuse to feel guilty. It will put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step – and guess what, they’ll notice that!