We women are givers and, without the proper kind of support, all that giving can be very draining. We probably started out nurturing our baby dolls and our younger brothers and sisters. Back then, it felt natural and not an imposition. Do you remember those days?
As we grew up, we naturally took on a few more responsibilities – more opportunities to lend our support, to give to another out of our very Selves. How many sibling diapers did you change? I can remember an incident in high school where I volunteered to clean up after one of my classmates barfed – memorable; not exactly a joy; but a giving moment, none the less.
When we became mothers, we recognized that our giving to another had to assume first place. All the giving we’d done in our growing-up years stood us in good stead as we entered 24/7 into baby care. I still recall falling asleep at my kitchen island from exhaustion.
When we began corporate careers, we gave even more – we gave of our knowledge, our skills, our time, and our talents. With all that we felt responsible for out of work, our corporate job added more of a responsibility upon what was more than likely a very long list.
Who supports you while you’re supporting them?
As women, we are capable, natural-born supporters. We are also human beings. We have needs the same as all others. I once had a therapist ask me “Who out there has a list where your name and your needs are at the top?” That was one of those knock me up the head with a two by four moments of instant enlightenment. I told him that there wasn’t anyone out there with that kind of list. He strongly urged me to create one for myself. Gives you pause for thinking, doesn’t it?
As more of us women become entrepreneurs, the need for support grows exponentially. Yes, we are strong, capable, knowledgeable, skilled, talented and persevering – all qualities that will make us grow in our own or in our corporate positions. But it would be futile to continue in the giving tasks without providing ourselves with some nurturing.
Feeding yourself first will empower your giving to others.
Here are a few tips to nurture your self-empowerment and self-confidence.
Accept yourself fully, warts, cellulite and all. It’s okay to be okay right here and right now. What are the things about you that you can accept right now? Do they outweigh things you don’t like about yourself? I invite you to inventory your own good.
- Create a “Things I Like About Me” list and take one week to allow more and more of your own good to emerge so you can give it recognition as you write it down. This doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements. Feel free to do that WHILE you recognize the good that you currently are. 2. Stop Self-Recrimination. It’s enough to recognize that you may have fallen short. It’s just a very small percentage of the whole you. If you slip while dieting, remember this: there 21 meals each week. One out of 21 is not a biggie. If self-criticism comes up, meet it with a “No, I refuse to think of myself this way.” You can return to self-acceptance and then fix the slip. You are too good to have negativity heaped upon you.
- Do Regularly What Makes You Feel Good. For me, that means girlfriend time. I live in the mountains and my friends and I call ourselves “The Hill’s Angels.” Every Thursday night, we go out to dinner. The bonus comes from airing all that’s happened during the previous week and gracefully receiving their support. It might work for you. Exercise might work for you. Meditation might work for you. It’s wise to feed the I of You so you can continue in your giving.
- Do Something New to Feel Fresh. I have a fridge magnet that has an Eleanor Roosevelt quotation: “Do something each day that scares you.” And there’s Robert Browning’s poetry: “A man’s reach must exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for?” Don’t let yourself become stale as you give, give, give. I don’t want to think you might become a shriveled up old crone! Answer this question: “What dream have I set aside that I’d really, really, really like to come true for me?” Do that.
- Make a List of Your Doubts and Your Fears. I know what putting on a brave face feels like. That works for a while. But sooner or later, Fake It Till You Make It will no longer work because those unresolved feelings inside of you must be addressed. Once you have your list made (Congratulations! Great courage) now write down three things under each doubt and each fear that will help you move closer toward confidence and courage.
- Read Good Books or Join Good Classes. There are so many ideas abounding on the internet today. I honestly believe that there is a place deep inside each one of us that hungers and years for understanding. It pushes, shoves, and tickles us in its urge to be heard and to be satisfied. I found my answers when I began to read self-help books and to study Eschatology, but there is no one, special path. Your decision is the best one for you.
- Write Down Your Values and Boundaries. If you’ve never done this before, it can be one heck of an eye opener. I’ll share a cool tool that lets you know if you’re honoring your Self: if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, you are not honoring your Self. If you feel comfortable, you are. “To thine own self be true…”