You cannot give what you do not have!
Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.
– Barbara de Angelis
We live in a word that is go-go-go! Wake up, do your hair and makeup, eat something, get to work, work hard, go home, eat again, maybe clean a little bit and then get back into bed in order to repeat that same routine over and over again. We have got to keep up with this routine because we have bills to pay, studies to graduate from and various other deadlines to meet.
Then there are the relationships that we invest so deeply into. We need to make the time to bond with friends, engage with family and connect with our significant other. Throughout the day, we give and we give and we give some more…and that is a good thing. In fact, it is a great thing because it is our very nature as women-we are givers and we are lovers!
We have been designed this way and embracing our nature helps us !
And that can take some doing…
Like I said before, we live in a world that is go-go-go and taking the time to focus on you when you feel like you have a never-ending to-do list can feel like that is a near impossible thing to do. It’s impossible to feel like it’s realistic to take some time out for yourself because you have to keep up with the pace that the world has set, otherwise, you run the risk of getting “left behind.”
“We as women have been blessed enough to be the nurturers of those in our circle of influence but in order to love on them well, we first need to love on ourselves well!”
So, you have that late night out with your girlfriends and post the millions of selfies you took even though you’d rather be home and sitting in a warm bath while relaxing. You make yourself available to the family member in crisis when you’d rather deal with the personal issues that have been weighing on your own mind.
You take on the extra assignment your boss hands you even though you still have two incomplete ones on your desk and you’d rather complete those before taking on something new.
You agree to babysit for a friend in desperate need of a break when you feel like screaming at her “I need a break just as much as you!”
You do all of these things with grace and a smile, but on the inside, you may begin to feel some strain.
It is in those moments that you need to have the courage to put you first.
Why do I say courage?
"You are allowed to have shortcomings because that makes you human!...a lot of your strength lies in honest acknowledgement of your weaknesses and limitations. In accepting your shortcomings, you free yourself from carrying the undue pressure of trying to conform to an unrealistic standard and can grow instead to realise the scope of your own strength! You allow yourself to stop being a counterfeit “them” and start being an authentic you!"
Because it takes a lot of courage to overlook what people might think of you when you say no to something. You run the risk of being misunderstood, ill-perceived and perhaps even being wrongfully judged. Saying no may introduce tension into a relationship because you turned someone down.
And then there’s your conscience!
You feel guilty at just the thought of saying no but then you hate yourself for caving in and yes! You know that you’re needed and you truly want to be there for those around you but at the same time, you know that your tank is running on empty and you can feel burnout creeping in. You want to scream out that you too need a break but then you feel guilty for being so “selfish.”
Sometimes, you may feel trapped because you have always been the one people came to with their troubles and because you have been so good at helping others out, no one ever thinks of you as having any problems. And you have bought into that lie too.
You know that realistically everyone has problems and you are well aware that you are by no means perfect, but you work so hard at appearing to have it all together that over time, even you start believing in the mask that you masquerade to others.And then one day you wake up and realise just how alone and burnt out you are!
“How did I get here?”
“Is there a way out?”
The answer is: YES!
But there is a catch…
Are you willing to be courageous?
It takes courage to admit that you are not the superwoman/human you would like everyone to believe. You have flaws! You have weaknesses!b You have faults and you have limitations! But guess what…
You are allowed to have shortcomings because that makes you human! You were never intended to have it all together.
Yes, you want to be a strong woman.
Yes, you want to be independent and fierce and bold.
But that doesn’t have to come at the expense of your humanity! You can still achieve and do great things without needing to fool the whole world (including yourself) that you have it all together.
No one does! So don’t be so hard on yourself!
In fact, a lot of your strength lies in honest acknowledgement of your weaknesses and limitations. In accepting your shortcomings, you free yourself from carrying the undue pressure of trying to conform to an unrealistic standard and can grow instead to realise the scope of your own strength! You allow yourself to stop being a counterfeit “them” and start being an authentic you!
The authentic you can appreciate seeing other people succeed without feeling like their success somehow threatens your own.
"Because you have taken the time to embrace who you are (warts and all!) you have in effect filled up your "love tank" and now, you are empowered to let that love flow through you into the lives of those closest to you. "
The authentic you can encourage and push others to thrive without feeling intimidated or inferior to their greatness.
The authentic you can acknowledge the beauty and the giftedness another woman possesses without feeling like it casts a shadow on your own.
The authentic you, having learned to love herself, can love others and give of herself from a healthy and wholesome place.
The best analogy I think of to illustrate my point is that a kettle and teacups.
(I am a big tea drinker, so just bear with me!)
A kettle pours hot water into tea cups which house tea bags that make delicious tea. The catch is that the kettle can only pour the hot water into the teacupsare, compassion, patience and understanding into the “teacups” of our near and dear ones if our “kettles” are running on empty. We cannot give what we do not have.
How sad it would be that those around us could be deprived of the joy that we can bring and the beauty that we have to offer all because we have neglected to invest in ourselves and cultivate love within our hearts…
So, give yourself permission to embark on the lifelong journey of discovering you! Learn what you are good at and just how good you are at it. Grow your skills, abilities and talents. Strengthen your weaknesses and master of your strengths. Embrace all the qualities that make you unique and learn to be at peace with who you see looking back at you in the mirror.
Be good to her.
She’s all you’ve got!