The Superwoman Syndrome Conundrum: Does 'Doing It All' Make You Happy?
What kind of woman are you? I'll take a little guess...
Your hair always looks good; you cook amazing meals; you work a full-time job; you look after a home, manage a business or a high-pressured environment; you keep up with all your friends, have an exercise routine and would do anything for anyone at the drop of a hat.
These are the expectations you have set for yourself. Once you fulfill these expectations regularly, everyone else will believe they can expect the same kind of top-notch attention and service from you.
Your answer is never no. You struggle to just say it, even though you just want to be able to speak up for yourself.
People in your life recognize you are reliable, which is exactly why they choose to ask you for help. You are the first person they will call when there is a crisis because they know you will react.
From the outside, things look good; it seems as though you have it all together. Friends, family and even strangers can depend on your smile and willingness to support.
On the inside, you feel nothing like this, of course. You feel so incredibly overwhelmed at times, you just don’t know which way to turn.
Forget asking for help; it’s just not your style, right? You're overworked, tired, incredibly cranky and feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Did I mention you're moody?
You take this all out on the people you love because you have put yourself under so much pressure you worry you may have a nervous breakdown.
It’s wild when you stop and think about the amount of pressure and expectations we place on ourselves. Then, we allow others to do exactly the same.
Since when is it acceptable to neglect our bodies, minds and spirits for the benefit of others?
I often wonder when it became standard practice to ignore how you are feeling and take care of others’ feelings.
I believe it all stems from the love we have for ourselves. If you believe you deserve better, you command better.
I used to lack self-confidence and self-respect. I didn’t believe in my own value, so I allowed others to use me as they wished. This made me feel a bit important for a little while.
Ultimately, the results spoke for themselves. I spent zero time on the things I loved to do and zero time invested in my health and happiness.
I also had a bunch of "friends" who used me to their advantage because I allowed them to do so.
So, why do we allow this to happen to ourselves over and over again?
I have fallen into this trap for most of my life. I felt obligated to anyone who paid me attention because I valued his or her considerations above my own emotions. I also did not trust myself enough to really believe in how I felt.
Instead, I pushed those confusing emotions aside because it was easier that way. Mostly I felt used, discouraged, overwhelmed and insecure.
Although at the start, this was not a conscious decision — it was simply a way of life.
I was raised to be humble, polite, keep my mouth closed, work hard and do as I was told. In many circumstances, this has come in handy, but when it comes to running my life, it's another story.
It’s all about balance; practice when to stand up for yourself and say you have had enough.
Know when to go with the flow and just shake it off. Be aware of your own emotions and needs to do this effectively.
The bottom line, in my opinion, is we expect far too much of ourselves. Most of my friends and women I know are absolutely exhausted.
We are not machines (even those of you who hit the gym seven days a week). We are not designed to conform to the exact same rules every single day of our lives, for the rest of our lives.
Just thinking about it makes me want to yawn with boredom.
When did life get so demeaning? We are creative and spiritual beings and we really don’t get motivated and inspired by overloading our schedules and trying to keep everyone else happy.
The things I used to sacrifice in order to keep up appearances are: sleep; exercise and eating well, nourishing my body; taking time to do the things I love; relaxation (actually, I didn’t even know what this was); quality time with the people I love.
So, that being said, I have to make time and commit to relaxing. Now, I schedule it in my agenda. I make sure all of my duties are up-to-date so I can wind down.
This doesn’t mean lying on the couch while checking my emails and writing down what I still need to do. It means disconnecting from work, stress and responsibilities.
It means doing what makes me feel calm and balanced. This is different for everyone, and I recommend trying a few things to see what suits you and your lifestyle.
A few personal examples I absolutely know make me loosen up, enjoy the moment and get ready to face my next challenge are walking in nature, listening to some good beats (you can follow me here for some inspiration if you like), cooking and sharing a bottle of red wine with a friend, simply soaking up the sunshine on the beach, and/or journaling my thoughts.
Being Superwoman is possible if it makes you happy and you can keep it up. However, there are some ways to feel better and more focused while still getting everything done.
Yes, people might be surprised the first time you say no, but they will get used to doing things for themselves again. The world will not stop spinning, I promise.
This is what I choose for my life...
I will stop wasting my time doing insignificant tasks for lazy people who take advantage of my kindness. I will try to live in the moment for the sake of my life and happiness, not anyone else’s.
I will engage in exciting conversations with people who inspire and excite me. I will spend my time moving toward my goals every single day.
I will always be careful not to take on more than I can handle, ending up in a flat spin, getting nothing done.
Cheers to all the intelligent and powerful Superwomen all around the world. We always have a choice -- what are you choosing today?
I want to hear from you, so leave me a comment below and tell me about your experience with Superwoman Syndrome.