Welcome to a series of world-class master coach videos I’m sharing on topics that are key to emotional healing after divorce. Cheryl Richardson is the founding president of the International Coach Federation, she co-created the Body and Soul conference series sponsored by New Age magazine, and speaks professionally before numerous universities and Fortune 500 companies.
In her 1988 book, A Burst of Light, Audre Lorde wrote that "caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."
Whether or not you believe that we, as women, tend not to have the freedom of choice that men have, one thing most of us have experienced is the pressure to sacrifice nearly every moment of our lives in the service of someone else.
Are you finding it difficult (both before and after divorce) to stop the hamster wheel and give yourself permission to live a little?
Here’s the easy trick that I found in the video below. (Or, think of it as coming into self-care from the back door.)
Your kids, friends, and family need you to be good to yourself.
Scroll down past the video for top divorcée takeaways on the key sentence above, and the importance of “me time,” in case you'd like an idea of what's covered before watching.
Divorcée takeaways on making time for ourselves:
Sometimes, the pressure comes from ourselves to do more and more for our families, and not necessarily our families forcing us to work ourselves to death.
We know we need to take time for exercise and to support our well-being, so why is it so hard to give ourselves permission and let some other tasks slide?
There's an inner voice that tells us we're selfish or self-indulgent.
In order to shift this, ask yourself the question: "Wouldn’t you love to have had a mother who took such good care of herself that she felt great all the time?"
How many of you grew up with mothers who were worn out all the time? Worn out, tired, and didn’t have time for you because she couldn’t or wouldn’t give herself any downtime?
Or, her exhaustion may have manifested in her being angry and resentful, with only enough energy to try to survive every day.
When we set boundaries on the service we provide to others, we can intentionally choose to give more in some situations, but it comes from a better place -- from love (and having a surplus of energy to give) instead of from obligation.
If your own mother put herself last, it can take years for you to overcome the patterns that her example set for you.
When a mother puts herself last, she is often filled with rage that she can’t express, but it leaks out in little ways that the child’s psyche picks up on. (Rosetta's Hint: Even if you're not a mom, your exhaustion and feelings of "giving up" can end up as a dark haze that effects your friends', family's, and colleagues' perceptions and feelings about you. When you realize this, and if you want more love and acceptance from those around you, spending time in pursuits and passions you enjoy can be the starting point for change in how others see you and relate to you.)
When you start to resent the things you feel you have to do for others, you end up doing everything resentfully. Even the things that you would have done willingly, lovingly, freely come out with anger and resentment because you haven’t filled your cup first.
(Rosetta’s Hint: If it’s difficult for you ever to treat yourself with love and care, start with just two minutes a day. That’s long enough to take a few deep breaths. It’s long enough to spend two extra minutes in the shower. It’s enough time to notice something pretty outside your window. In other words, it’s enough time to pause on the pressure cooker -- and maybe you’ll take a third minute off, or even five minutes. The first step is to stop the hamster wheel -- even if it’s just two minutes -- so you can feel a pause of peace.)
(One more hint from Rosetta: Please don’t be afraid that, if you pause your pressure cooker that you’ll just collapse on the couch and pass out from fatigue. You want to pause in ways that will refresh you, not be the last straw that makes you collapse. Taking a break is a reminder that you are a human being, not a machine.)
If you try my hint above, and you want the next step, you can click Contact in the navigation bar above, type the message "self-care step 2," and I’ll email you back with the next tiny step.
Would you like more help around how to allow yourself the downtime you need?
If you feel you’re sinking or stuck in dealing with your emotions (as you navigate separation and divorce, or as you try to heal emotionally after divorce) why not schedule a 30-minute virtual coffee date with me? You'll get immediate help and techniques to feel better from the moment you get on the call. (And if, after our call, you don't feel our time together was helpful, your $25 payment will be auto-refunded. There is nothing to lose, and you will feel better fast.)