Afraid To Take Time For Yourself?

Many of us often feel that taking care of ourselves is selfish. We feel guilty for taking a much needed break when everyone else has so much they want or need from us. We can’t let them down. They depend on us.

Recently, I had dinner with several female colleagues and friends – most with demanding careers and all with lots of responsibilities and obligations outside of their work. Almost all of them are WOBO women – albeit at different points along the spectrum.

As we were discussing my article on the secret shame of being a WOBO woman, one of the women spoke up and said “what I’m most afraid of, terrified really, is that if I stop what I’m doing it will all come tumbling down.” Ashes, ashes, we all fall down. Holy crap!

She has been doing for everyone for so long, she’s afraid that if she stops and gives just a little more attention to her health and happiness that the house of cards will tumble. Family, friends, colleagues, book club, school committee, church members, she will let them all down and her relationships – her life – will crumble.

Is this your fear too? I can relate and so can my WOBO clients. It’s terrifying. It’s like you’ve made a sacred covenant, an agreement you’ve inked in blood, with all these people. You can’t just throw up your hands and say I quit. I’m done. Figure it out for yourself!

But what if they were able to rise to the occasion? What if you could take the time to cook yourself a great meal, go for a walk, take a lunch break, or sit and read your book and everyone around you figured out how to do what they needed to without your constant input, assistance, or guidance?

My guess is that many of the people in your life are already telling you to take better care of yourself. For me, it was my boss, who one day – actually it was about 10:30 pm – said to me, “you have to set your boundaries. I will ask as much of you as you allow.” This was a great boss who actually cared about me and my well-being, yet he admitted he would take all I was willing to give even if it wasn’t what was best for me.

What?! Are you f$%&# kidding me?! I have control? I can set boundaries? Until that revelation, I believed that unless I did whatever was asked of me by the people in my life they would no longer like me, think highly of me, etc. It was a game changer. I bet that if you started doing more of the things that you need to do for optimal health and true happiness that those who really matter in your life will not only understand but will encourage you throughout your journey.

So don’t be afraid. Follow my advice of small steps and identify 1-2 self-care activities you know you need. Then begin to put one self-care brick in place in your house of joy and fulfillment at a time. If you are worried about how you will be received, let folks feel, hear, and see how a change looks, and give them time to adjust to each brick before you add another. Pretty soon, a new world order will exist and you’ll have more energy, balance, and joy.

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Feel free to ask questions too.


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