I once bragged that in between conference calls I made a cake in 17 minutes.
My husband had phoned to say that a friend was flying into London at the last minute for 24 hours and that it was her birthday. Excited to see our friend, I told my hubby to invite her for dinner and that I would do something special for her birthday.
As I got off the call and looked at my diary, I realised that I was scheduled to attend back to back conference calls all day. The only gap I had in my diary was 20 minutes in between two conference calls. Seizing those precious minutes, I frantically made a birthday cake and popped it in the oven to bake in a record-breaking 17 minutes.
I was super pleased with myself and bragged to my hubby that if needed, I could rule the world because I was The Master Multitasker. I was Superwomen!
Fast forward to a year later, and Superwoman was curled up in the foetal position on the bathroom floor suffering from a panic attack. Apparently, I was not Superwomen and could not rule the world. I could not even rule my own world, and because of that, my body and mind got sick, in part because I thought that I could and should do it all.
Which begs the question, why do some of us, and in particular women, assume we have to do it all?
The answer is complex and multifaceted and is not one which can be answered in a short blog. However, what I will say is this – we don’t have to do it all.
We can set boundaries, and say no, and that does not make us a bad person. Nor does it mean we are lacking.
As Gloria Steinem so eloquently puts it:
“You can’t do it all. No one can have two full-time jobs, have perfect children, and cook three meals and be multi-orgasmic ’til dawn…Superwoman is the adversary of the women’s movement.”
It’s essential to recognise that we can’t do and be great at everything. And that is okay; we don’t need to do it all. We can say no - we do not have to agree to every request and task that is asked of us.
By setting boundaries realise that it’s an act of self-respect and self-care, which contributes to feeling less stressed, anxious and depressed. Furthermore, by validating our needs, we build self-esteem and confidence, and, this will improve relationships with others as people will understand what our limits are and what we stand for.
If like me, you have found yourself running around trying to be all things to all people, and in particular to the detriment to your health and wellbeing, ask yourself these powerful questions:
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