Over-giving

Raise your hand if as a womxn you’ve more than sacrificed your own sanity, time, energy, joy for someone else? Raise both hands if that someone was a man. Think about the years and years that you’ve held your raised hands up as you gave and gave; it’s fucking exhausting to hold your hands up with an infinite time limit with no reprieve.

I can count on both my fingers and toes the amount of times in one day, before I woke up, where I would give more of myself to someone else and sacrificing me time. To constantly see others, their needs, and put my love, energy, and focus there. I did not see myself, my needs, and nourish myself.

Let me tell you about a client of mine. Let’s call her A. A gives and gives to the point of her own detriment. A since high school frequently gives so much of her time to the point where she takes up residence in a hospital. At 16, she was admitted to the hospital where she resided for 6 weeks because she had migraines so bad her vision was going. The hospital told her it was due to stress levels that are dangerous for anyone. They told her to learn how to destress. The advice was not to give less. It was learn how to continue to serve and not allow the stress to build. Flash forward a decade and this mantra of serving others without caring for herself is ever present. This time, she has a nervous breakdown, fails a vision test with her glasses on and ends up on bedrest for weeks.

As womxn we have this tendency to serve until we cannot serve anymore. Until it physically causes harm. It may seem that womxn give because it’s in our nature but if it were natural, would womxn work until they are physically unable to function? I say no.

Giving is this beautiful thing but I’m afraid it doesn’t always come from a place of a genuine need to serve. There is this massive cultural emphasis on what the perfect woman is. She is slender, demure, sexual at appropriate times, giving, motherly, sacrificial, etc. She’s “perfect”, which isn’t real and if it was it’d be boring.This woman has been burned into our minds for decades on decades. I call her my “good girl”. She’s the one that is ready to say “yes”, so she doesn’t see the hot anger in their eyes or feel the weight of disappointment if she says the opposite. The one who quiets the intuitive pulls in her womb to slow down, savor, and rest. Remember A? Her mother has a similar pattern of giving until she gets physically ill. Her grandmother volunteered so much that she neglected having life-changing surgeries because it was selfish to focus on herself.

Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of Eat, Pray, Love wrote about her own over-giving tendencies in a piece called, “How to Avoid Giving Too Much Of Yourself.” In the piece she states, “When I lost my friends, it was because I had used the power of giving on them recklessly. I swept into their lives with my big fat checkbook, and I erased years of obstacles for them overnight—but sometimes, in the process, I also accidentally erased years of dignity. Sometimes, by interrupting his biographical narrative so jarringly, I denied a friend the opportunity to learn his own vital life lesson at his own pace. In other words, just when I believed I was operating as a dream-facilitator, I was actually turning into a destiny disruptor.”

Men have created this ideal woman and as womxn we are complicit in the execution of this woman. We police each other. I cannot begin to tell you the judgment a woman faces when she says “no” to a volunteer opportunity. Even that phrase is a way of policing others. Volunteering is an opportunity. When we look at Thesaurus.com, they list synonyms for opportunity that include words like freedom, relief, and liberty.  Denying relief, freedom and liberty is frowned upon. But just as Gilbert stated, it can be a detriment.

So if giving so freely of overselves is unnatural for ourselves and others, why do we do it?

I have a few ideas.

I am a firm believer that the patriarchy is still very much in control. I believe that just because womxn are now at a point of paying closer attention does not mean we have severed the behaviors that tie us to the patriarchy. We’re so used to the “perfect woman” fashioned by the patriarchy that anything else feels dangerous, inappropriate, or bitchy, and by stepping out from under the patriarchy umbrella we won’t be safe, accepted, or loved.

Womxn are still policing each other. We are still dictating and passing judgement on womxn for doing what is natural to them. We still use sexist language. We still do what is unnatural because “society” deems certain behaviors ideal. We’re so used to the “perfect woman” fashioned by the patriarchy that anything else feels dangerous, inappropriate, or bitchy, and by stepping out from under the patriarchy umbrella we won’t be safe, accepted, or loved.

We’re going to make a shift, right here, together. When we can recognize certain behaviors as being toxic and no longer conducive to our lives, we can make a change. It starts with each of us making a change.

Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

1. Giving when it brings you no joy

Way too often, we give without finding joy in the service. We just sort of suck it up as something we have to do. But here’s the thing, the only thing you have to do is take care of yourself. We’ve all heard the phrase, you cannot pour from an empty cup well it’s time to implement that ideology.  Many of our cups are worn, chipped and cracked. If it brings you no joy, out it goes.

2. When your emotional needs are not being met

This is a huge problem we face as womxn. We try to care for others before we care for ourselves. If you’ve ever been on a plane, during the safety demonstration the flight attendants will say to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. You cannot save the person next to you if you’re dead. Facts are facts. The same logic follows for our emotional well-being. We cannot serve others at our highest capacity if our own needs are not being met. How can we give what we do not ourselves have?

3. You’re thinking about others reactions if you stop over-giving

I’ve been there and done that. I’ve dealt with the anxiety that comes with the thought process that so and so will be angry if I say no to them. I can assure you that chances are you’re not the only person capable of solving the issue at hand, there are others. Furthermore, it is not your job to solve the problems of other people.

4. Busy is part of your vocabulary 

If busy is part of your daily vocabulary you’re doing too much. I am so anti-busy because it’s association of stacking to do’s and other people’s needs so high on the priority list while only running on fumes. Busy is not a badge of honor, even if society wants you to think it is. Being busy is not the same as impactfulness. You can busy but making no impact and isn’t that the reason we as womxn tend to give so much?

5. Guilt

Guilt is something womxn talk about all the time. More importantly, guilt is something womxn feel and talk about all the time. Being everything to everyone comes with the price of not valuing yourself. I see posts daily about “mom-guilt.” Where is all this guilt coming from? It comes from a society that says you have to be everything to everyone. If you feel guilty at work for not being with the family but more importantly feel guilty with your family for not working, you have a problem.

6. Resentment

This is another major warning sign you do too much. If you’re giving of yourself freely and then feeling resentment and anger, you’re doing too much. As stated before, generosity is never a bad thing when a comes from a good place. If it comes from a place of obligation, ask yourself why you feel so obligated?

As we continue to acknowledge the pressure we put on ourselves, we open ourselves up to new discoveries. The more we get over this patriarchal hangover we’re experiencing, the more we can truly find ourselves. Take up a practice of self-care. This may be the first time you’ve ever thought about self-care. I give you permission to take a pause and care for yourself. I give you permission to break free of the chains that are holding you in a place of stress, anger, anxiety and burnout.

By holding womxn in a place of constant service, the patriarchy has created a system that has womxn facing burnout while they can focus on other things like building successful careers. Corporate America is built for men by men. As womxn we have to decide how we want to engage with a society that tries to keep womxn in a state of stress. Womxn have an opportunity to create a life full of joy, playfulness, intuition, and wisdom as female-bodied beings. There’s a life-giving radiance when womxn are embodied with that. Our choice that reflects that is key to the confident, sexy, and empowerment that we crave.

We can choose to be complicit or we can choose to change. The choice is yours.  

Are you ready to stop iving from the neck up and to be confident, sexy, empowered AF in your business?  Book a call with me here:  Discovery Call

Sensuality and Emotional Health

As I was sitting down to write this piece on sensuality and our emotions, I did a quick search to see what the internet was saying about sensuality. The number one search related to sensuality was “sensuality meaning.” That search term was up 190% in the last 12 months! This made me both excited and incredibly sad.

I am fucking excited because this means that people are starting to pay attention to sensuality but also made me so sad that people have no idea what sensuality is.

When I did a search for great quotes to use, articles, etc. I found a lot of things related to sexuality. Let me be clear, there’s a difference. Are they related? Absolutely. More like cousins than siblings.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, sensuality is “ the condition of being pleasing or fulfilling to the senses.” This means all the senses. This means we take care of every aspect of ourselves. We need to do things that feel good to us.

Today, I want to discuss emotional health and sensual embodiment. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it goes physiological needs and then emotional needs but in America we’ve created a stigma around our emotional needs. Womxn are called needy, clingy, bitchy, bossy, etc. for expressing emotional needs. So instead of focusing on our emotional needs that we as humans need to satisfy, we suppress them in order to make others feel better.

We’re patching holes in sinking boats if we put off, push away and avoid what we’re feeling.

Sensuality is all about feeling things and maybe that’s why it’s just now seeing an uptick in the search for the meaning of sensuality. As a societal whole, we’re waking up. We’re realizing there’s a reason that suicide is on the rise. America has created a culture of work until you cannot function. Men are highly regarded for their ability to “shut off” their feelings. Things are supposed to just happen in our lives and we aren’t supposed to let it faze us; we’re expected to shake it off without dealing with the emotional ramifications.

How many times are we told to “get over it” or “move on?” All.The.Fucking.Time.  My personal favorite is “it’s not that bad.”

People are also accustomed to sharing how they handled emotional situations as if every situation is the same and every person is the same and so the responses should be the same. Wrong.

Maslow’s hierarchy discusses the need for emotional well-being in order to achieve the highest level of self-actualization so why have we chosen to ignore it? Because it can be fucking hard to deal with the issues we’re facing.

Sometimes we do not even know what feels good to us. I’ve spoken to clients before who could not tell me what makes them happy. They had no idea what felt good. Why?

Because of a culture that expects us to be emotionless drones who make money and pay taxes. We work ourselves to death so we don’t have to deal with the emotional aspect of life thus never reaching self-actualization.

Imagine for a second the successful corporate CEO. Everyone always assume life is perfection for him because he has status and money but how often do we see that the family is dysfunctional, addiction is prominent or other issues have manifested? When we focus on just the physiological piece of the pyramid we do ourselves and those around us a great disservice. We’ve disavowed our connection to our heart and being in our emotions like they are pieces of scrap metal that aren’t needed when they are in fact part of the masterpiece in our sensual embodiment.

While it can feel selfish to focus on the emotional side of sensuality it is necessary for true happiness.

We regain sovereignty and deeper joy, love, contentment, and acceptance when we’re present with our emotions and allow them to flow through us.

Here are some ways to discover what brings you true joy.

1.  Be prepared for the hard stuff

We’re about to peel back the layers of a very unhappy onion here. This exercise will require you to dig deep, identify what makes you unhappy and be brutally honest with yourself. This can be emotionally exhausting so be prepared for this work. Take a bath. Go for a walk. Break the work up. Set a timer for how long do look at your stuff; you don’t have to plow through it until it’s complete. Do a hard evaluation and then reward yourself with something you know feels good so you don’t get discouraged or sad.

2.  Only you can do this

Remember that only you can solve your emotional needs. No one else can give you emotional sensuality. Other’s actions and words can only be internalized and assigned emotion by you. You get to decide what feels good to you. No one can assign that for you.

3.  Write it out

Grab a journal, your iPhone, laptop, the wall, whatever feels good to you and write down the things you know feel good to you. Does a walk feel good or does it feel forced? Do you love alone time? Do you thrive in social situations? Write it all down.  Hint: If you feel your body relax and open, feel energized, or think “Mmmm”, those are signs you’re on the right track!

When you have a list of what makes you excited, you’re ready to start tapping into caring for yourself. Is there something on the list you’re laxing on?

If we continue to operate on a patchwork basis, rather than creating a healthy, emotional relationship with ourselves, we are looking at pure self-destruction and we’re likely to bring others down with us.

Think about children who act out more than is considered a normal range. 9 times out of 10 it’s because an emotional or physical need is not being met. The unmet needs manifests as outward destruction.

While we all have the same emotional categorical needs, the way we experience them is different. What feels good for me may not feel good for you and vice versa. It’s up to you to get off the sinking boat. No one can help you but you. Only you can put the work in to discover what feels good for you.

The good news is that you don’t need to tackle trying to figure out the root cause of your unhappiness. You don’t need to try to figure out what feels good all alone.

I’ve been there. In 2008, my anxiety was at an all-time high. I’ve been there. As someone with an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health, I help my clients figure out their root cause of unhappiness and find out what is going to bring them the most joy. We figure out what sensuality means to you and how you can embody it. Let’s talk about how I can help you get off that sinking boat and stop doing patch jobs. We’ve all seen what happens when we do patchwork to our plumbing right? It’s okay temporarily and then you have a flood on your hands. Don’t let that happen to your emotions. I want to talk to you. Book a call here: Discovery Call