Updated: Sep 25
To the women who are grappling with finding the energy and motivation to accomplish what you believe you should be doing: know this, you are neither selfish nor lazy.
Our world is currently at its most hectic juncture. Stimuli bombard us from all directions, and the expectation to respond promptly looms over us constantly.
This frenzy affects us in multifaceted ways. We often disconnect from our own bodies, as the constant onslaught of demands becomes too overwhelming to process. And when we can no longer ignore our bodies, we seek solace in food, drink, or even substances. Our partners yearn for our full presence, and we carry a burden of guilt and shame for not being able to provide for them as a whole woman.
Subsequently, we find ourselves ensnared in a cycle of shame and defeat. "Why can't I bring myself to _______?" is a question that resonates with many, including myself.
The root lies in our disconnection from ourselves. Our bodies hold a treasury of wisdom that we were never taught to heed. This is a response to conditioning and learning to cope in a world with many demands placed upon us without proper guidance for how to manage all of the expectations.
I was raised in the '90s, a time when the term "gay" was flung about as an insult, and those championing recycling were derided as "tree huggers." From late elementary school onwards, I became a latchkey kid, a fate shared by many due to their parents' work commitments, entrusted to look after myself from 2 to 6 in the afternoon until they returned home. I was expected to be independent and trustworthy. When my actions strayed from the norm, causing harm or conflicting with my parents' beliefs, I was labeled as inconsiderate, lazy, or selfish. These labels etched deep within, branding me as flawed, irreparable. It led me into a spiral of shame, convincing myself that others wouldn't want to be my friend. It drove me to disconnect from myself, loathe myself, and unconsciously inflict self-sabotage upon my well-intentioned aspirations. I became my own harshest critic.
Recovery is still a journey I'm undertaking. Acknowledging this pattern doesn't equate to having it all figured out. The initial step lies in being seen and in learning to reframe. Counseling wields immense influence in these realms. When I bare my shame and find acceptance for who I am, the weight diminishes. My counselor extends forgiveness and becomes a model for how I can forgive myself. When I require rest and languor, I grant myself that reprieve, affirming that my fatigue stems from carrying a substantial load. When hunger strikes, I nourish myself. I stock up on nourishing alternatives to sate sweet cravings, ensuring that when the urge strikes, I can make choices that promote well-being.
I envision it as a duality within me, a parent and a child coexisting. The original model of the parent figure for me was inconsistent and stern. I'm in the process of re-parenting myself, striving for flexibility, consistency, and forgiveness. The child within me is grateful. My relationship with both myself and my family is healing in tandem. It all begins with extending kindness to oneself, self-compassion.