Do you ever sometimes feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders? You're needed everywhere? Can't stop? Are burdened with a thousand responsibilities? I think it likely that we have all felt like that at some point in time in our lives, but when we feel like it most, or all of the time, it can be a recipe for stress, anxiety and even self loathing, as we struggle to keep up with all we need to do and 'be.'
So often when I have counselled women who are experiencing a high level of stress or depression in their life, they express to me a feeling of great 'heaviness' and feeling like they are under a mountain of obligation. They talk of needing to be there for 'everyone', 'fix' situations for others and a never ending cycle of needing to do more. And more. Can you relate?
There can be many reasons as to why women think or experience obligations like this, but I have no doubt that at least one of them is the voice of an Inner Mean Girl, bringing us to week three of our class and the toxic issue of obligation - or in very simple terms - doing everything for others - and not enough for ourselves. If you have an Inner Mean Girl voice that is telling you things such as...
"You're not doing enough"
"Look at her, she's doing much better than you. You need to do more."
"Everyone else in Mother's Group has it together much more than you. Do better."
and you are following that voice slavishly, it will undoubtedly cause you high levels of stress and even depression and anxiety. As Mothers, Wives, Daughters, Sisters and all the other roles we play in our lives, it is of course a wonderful thing to give to and help others. It is one of the great joys of life to help and support someone else to success, or be there in a time of darkness for them. However, when we do this for others all the time and we forget about our own needs or put ourselves on a low priority list - there is always consequences.
There are so many powerful and positive ways to combat the Inner Mean Girl who constantly places you under pressure and obligates you to others. I believe the most powerful two ways are firstly to recognise -
It is not only ok, it is necessary for me to put myself first in my life. If I don't take care of me first, I cannot expect to take care, support or love anyone else with longevity, happiness and passion.
It is ok to say no. It is ok to say no. It is ok to say no.
It all comes down to believing you are worthwhile of not only self care, but happiness too, and living a life that is obligation free. It's not selfish in the least to put your self care needs first. Not at all. It's smart. Outwit that Inner Mean Girl and her weight of obligations by learning to say no to others and the obligation it places on you and instead learning to say "Yes!" to you more. It's something I am certain you won't regret.