3 common things keeping women from living the life they want
Recently, one of my friends shared something very tender. : “I’m not happy” “My life is not as I would want it to be“.
I let her talk without interrupting. “I feel like I never have enough time” .” I’m always procrastinating”.
“Do you have any idea why you’re procrastinating”, I asked her ? “Laziness and I have too much on my plate”, she answered.
She continues, “When I have free time for myself, I feel guilty not spending it with the kids”. A full time job. Two kids. Spouse not working. No housemaid and completing my master degree.
“It’s a lot”, she said… “I feel like I deserve to lay down”.
“Indeed. It is a lot. You don’t deserve to rest. You need to rest”, I replied.
“Can your husband help you more with the kids?” I asked.
“Yes. He does help. A lot…however, he makes me feel guilty…Like, he’s the only one doing everything for them”.
If you’re a woman with kids who want to build a career/business while creating a richer and meaningful life, you probably can relate to my friend’s struggles.
Guilt. Exhaustion. Others first. I don’t deserve …
Can you spot the common limiting beliefs that many women carry around?
Personally, being a single mom and entrepreneur, I know first hand how challenging it is for me to navigate the impact I want to make with my work and the demands of parenting a 7 year-old, starting a new relationship and caregiving for my mother.
It’s not our fault. The programing about the roles women and men need to play is reinforced everyday.
In spite of a more liberated point of view around what’s possible for women, the way we show up and act in our daily lives is still deeply rooted in old stereotypes and conditioning.
Often, we won’t ask for what we want and desire, or tell the truth about how we’re feeling or show up as we are, or do the work that we’re meant to do, or set the proper boundaries – because of guilt, or the pressure to follow the societal rules and fit the mold our parents have raised us in.
As a result, defining your own path to live a life well lived, requires that you do the inner work of unlearning and reframing 3 key(hidden) common beliefs.
Here’s the 3 common things keeping women from living the life they say they want :
1. I shouldn’t or can’t ask for what I want
2019 marks the year of my 40th birthday. Early in January, I was sharing with my partner different experiences I wish to create for this milestone. I want to go to Mexico on a solo 5 day retreat. And he generously offered to pay for my trip.
Fast forward to mid January. I’ve resigned from my full time job to push Living Unrestrained and make it my main stream of revenue. With this in mind, I had decided to enroll in a short-term mentorship program.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the disposal income to pay the tuition fee, in the time frame required. My first thought was to put it on my credit card – but, it came to mind that I could ask my partner to pay my tuition instead of the gateway.
In all honesty, I felt uncomfortable and anxious, considering that we’ve been in relationship for less than 3 months and my birthday is 7 months down the road. I didn’t want him to feel pressured to say yes (I know his tendency to please people), see me as too demanding and not capable of taking care of my needs.
However, having done this work for so many years, I immediately reframe I shouldn’t ask with what I want is valid and I ask for support when I need it. With this intention, I was able to have the conversation and ask with ease and grace for exactly what I wanted.
Of course, he said yes.
Many women carry this belief subconsciously. The more we tell the story of I have to do it all, the more we reject the parts in us that long for connection and support. And as the split in us becomes greater, the more restrained we become.
Additionally, when we refuse to ask, we’re saying to the universe, we’re not open to receive the life that we truly want to experience.
2. I’m not good enough and I have to be perfect or other people won’t like me.
This one is a combo.
We hear it all the time. Be yourself and everything will be fine. Then, why is it so difficult for us to drop the masks and show up as who we are?
Personally speaking, being a black woman raised in a country that was colonized and living in a world that constantly questions your existence, because of your skin color – it takes a great amount of work to heal the self-worth and self-esteem issues that come with such history and set of experiences.
We’ve learned that it’s not safe to be “black” – therefore, we have to hide and make our self small. All that to say, women of color tend to work ten times harder and appear ten times smarter, cleaner, nicer and more beautiful to be accepted and acknowledged. Even then, it seems to be never enough.
However, for women, in general, the tendency to be the perfect mom, the perfect partner, the perfect friend…is a real issue.
Additionally, with social media, it’s increasingly easy to have access to other people’s lives…and surprisingly everybody seems to be living a glamorous life, except you. Hence, the pressure to pretend.
First off all, you need to understand that we are all wearing masks all the time. It’s part of our coping mechanism – to protect ourselves in certain situations and adapt to specific contexts. I wonder if we can ever let go totally of the mask?
So, I’d say wearing masks is not bad per se, when you are aware and know why you do it.
Now what I want to share, is to remember that your worth has nothing to do with the other people’s opinion of you.
Second, define who you are and tell yourself and others the truth about it. Where do you stand? What do you value? what’s important to you? what do you believe in? what’s your personality? what makes your heart sing? what’s non negotiable?
We are all unique. We all have our own sets of life experiences. We all come from different backgrounds and are shaped differently.
When we can’t reconcile who we are with the life we’re living, we lose ourselves and become alienated.
What’s the cost of living in the shadow of yourself ? How is that working for you?
3. I need other people’s permission to live the way I want
A while ago, my daughter asked me to sleep over at her best friend’s house. I said no. “We don’t do sleep over”.
She then ask, why? “the other parents let their kids”. “Honey, we each have our own rules and ways of doing things”, I replied. And furthermore I explained to her the reasons why I made that choice.
The lesson :
We are wired to fit in and will always tend to satisfy our needs for belonging.
There’s no shame in that.
But, when it comes to creating a conscious life, we have to build our own blueprint.
You can’t live on other people’s prescriptions – what’s meaningful for them may not be for you. And this is where you are called to practice affirming our sovereignty.
You don’t have to keep up with the joneses.
Finding your unique path is a continuous process of change and alignment. So, the challenge for all of us is to retrain our mind and get in the habit of questioning the choices we’re making. Is it based on our own values, personalities and wisdom? or are we just tagging along?