I have a Superwomen Complex
Our days are filled with busy. We are over-scheduling ourselves, thinking that we can do WAY more than we actually can. This has always been my way of life. I am constantly running from one thing to the next, thinking that each task will take half the amount of time it actually does.
Sound familiar to anyone else?
This perpetual superwoman complex causes me extreme stress. The stress that comes up for me can only be defined as “nagging thoughts of angst.” Thoughts like, “I don’t have enough time for this,” or “I should be doing something else.” I seem to be “should-ing” all over myself.
This stress has become such an ingrained part of life for me. Normally, I don’t even realize I have those nagging thoughts until something more stressful comes along and then I fall apart. As my husband says, “I turn into a puddle that he has to mop up.”
My doctor believes this chronic stress is the cause of my leaky gut and bacteria imbalance. Amongst the supplements and such a part of his prescription was to “stress less.”
When he told me to stress less I did a mental eye roll, thinking “Everyone is stressed…it is just the life we are living these days…what do you expect me to do? Not live? Just sit in my house and stare at the wall?”
We all have times of high stress. I certainly have. And I know now, my body is paying for it.
But sometimes it is the quiet nagging stress of day to day life that can be the real problem. We might not even realize it is a problem until our body starts acting up.
Now the abstract idea of being less stressed is a nice one. But the question is: How do we actually apply it?
Your thoughts might jump right into taking action steps like mine did: going to yoga, meditating, eating right, and getting enough sleep. Those are all things I have been doing religiously, but those things are just Band-Aids to relax for a moment or two.
I was trying to change the landscape without taking the time to dig down deep and see what kind of soil I was working with. Relatively speaking those surface changes are pretty easy: you go to the studio and do the yoga, you buy the organic produce, you cook it etc. etc.…
But the thing is we have to change our way thinking in order to get to a place of feeling less stressed. At least for those of us with type-A personalities, with a tendency towards perfectionism.
As with everything, we have to go back to the cause of the issue, our thoughts. We must first change our thinking in order to get the desired result. (Check out the model if you’re new to this work).
I know the model, I get it conceptually, your thoughts create your emotions that cause your actions which create your results, but it took me some time to really understand and apply it to my own life on a deeper level…
The way I react to circumstances in my life is causing me to be sick.
I know that my brain has been trained to jump automatically to certain thoughts that are not serving me. So in order to change my thoughts (or beliefs), I have to be aware of what I am thinking.
I have started to just hang out with myself mentally.
I take long glorious walks in the woods with my puppy dogs, which gives me a chance to explore my thoughts and my feelings. By giving myself this time to just be, I have made some interesting discoveries.
Once I started exploring the corners of my mind, I started to notice that fear of failure, and questioning my worthiness as a human, were reoccurring themes in my thoughts.
My perpetual need for busyness was my way of coping with these self-destructive thoughts.
These thoughts like, I am not doing enough, I need to do more, work harder, learn more, stemmed from my fear of failure.
My belief was, if I am not busy “bettering” myself, what am I worth?
Obviously, I wrap up my self-worth in my achievements.
So I have been practicing feeling this fear, really experiencing fear rather than pushing it away. By just hanging out with myself, and being in the moment, an image of holding my own hand comes to mind. I have been comforting myself by just holding the space for myself, rather than turning to other comforting activities like eating. Giving myself this coveted time to just hang.
This has been a huge relief. Knowing that I don’t have to do anything, just be present with myself, has been such a great gift.
This practice helps me deal with that chronic, nagging need of doing and being it all (AKA super women). So now I am practicing not running away from myself, my thoughts and/or my feelings, because they will always find me.
Feeling is just a part of life, friends. And I am learning it the hard way. But I do truly believe that we all could stand to hold our own hands more, loving and accepting ourselves, even the not-so-nice thoughts and feelings.
We are going to feel our feelings one way or another. Are we going to be a caring more supportive friend to ourselves or are we going to be our own worst enemy?
I am ready to start loving myself more. Are you?