My upbringing was strange to say the least, but in one way it was typical: as a female, I was always taught to put everyone’s wants and needs ahead of my own. This is a mistake that seems to be made the world over. It does not serve any of us well.
Women are expected to be nurturing. From a biological standpoint that makes sense. Like it or not, we generally do the majority of the child rearing. But sadly it seems that we are expected to apply those skills much more broadly than that. Society assumes we will nurture everyone but ourselves.
My whole life I’ve struggled with boundaries. I hate to say no. I worry about disappointing people. I want to be supportive. I stretch myself way too thinly.
As a result, I carry much more stress than I should. I get taken advantage of. I find it impossible to be the best me that I can be.
If you don’t exercise a healthy level of self-care, you won’t be able to be there authentically for the people whom you care about. If you don’t set boundaries, you cannot prevent others from pushing you to your limits. It’s time for a change.
It’s okay to say no. It might take practice. If you don’t feel comfortable, at first, in making that change for yourself, think of the example that you will set for the younger generation. By taking care of yourself, you will teach them the value of doing the same. It’s a lesson that needs to be reinforced early and often.
Take care of you.
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