Creating Some Guilt Free "Me-Time".
Although I have known some men to experience guilt when it comes to taking or creating some "Me-Time" I'd have to say that the scales thus far tip way over to the woman's side. So, please take comfort in knowing you’re not alone in feeling this way. I certainly have been guilty of feeling guilty! The difference now is I know how to look at guilt, clarify the message and laugh at myself when I get too serious; seeing guilt as empowering, instead of dis-empowering. Just as I have learned, I know you can learn how to do this, too.
One thing I know you already know is that most women are care takers and nurturers by nature which is a wonderful attribute. It's something that you can take pride in; something you can pull strength from in all you do in your life.
It's the imbalance, the lack of structure, the lack of boundaries, the absence of self worth and respect, your willingness to sacrifice what you need or compromise what is important to you, that sets you up to feel guilt and fail at getting your needs met.
If this is your situation then when your needs aren't getting met, you can often feel: sad, resentful, angry, entitled, insignificant, taken for granted, confused, and many other emotions. As you said, when you finally do take time for yourself you feel guilty. This is a result of a long time habit of putting yourself and your needs last on the list of priorities.
In order to confront your feelings of guilt, you first have to get clear on WHY you’re feeling guilty. Since feeling guilty is a general emotion, break it down. Guilt is most often associated with you “thinking” you did something wrong. The truth is most of the time you probably didn't do anything wrong, but you think you did. You feel this way because this groove you've been walking in for so long has become so deep that you fail to see how you can climb out and walk on stable ground with a clear view.
Take comfort in the fact that there are many hands reaching down to help you climb out, take hold and see what all you've been missing, being down there walking in that ditch. When you do choose to change your pathway, you may discover that you don't even know where you want to go or how to get there. This is often the case.
To ease into creating some guilt-free "me-time" start off by learning how to take short little bursts of time for yourself. Try doing something as simple as relaxation breathing. It only requires as little as 1-4 minutes of your time and it's essential to your body for re-energizing and replenishing itself.
You can do this anywhere, it takes no equipment other than your own, and because of this I have yet hear a good excuse for NOT taking time out for breathing, except for death. Although you may feel dead at times, I assure you that the fact that you feel all these emotions is a gift to you, one of you acknowledging that you're very much alive! It may sound funny to say this…but take time out to breathe. Proper breathing techniques can lower your stress, help you gain focus and give you some peace of mind during those times you “feel” crazy. There are many styles of relaxing and/or meditative breathing so I will give you two that I use to help you get started on your journey of practicing...Taking time for "you".
You will focus on each muscle group while maintaining deep, slow breaths. Breathe in through your nose while the muscles tense and exhale out through your mouth as you release your muscles. You can do this anywhere, even sitting at a desk. Note: Dizziness may occur. If you find yourself getting light headed, then hold your breath for less time. This feeling will pass.
If it doesn't, then consult with your doctor.
Another method of breathing you can try is also very simple. I call it The 4-4 Breath or Birth Breathing for those of you who have had Lamaze classes. My favorite time to do this is while out walking, but you can do it anywhere that you don’t mind making a little breathing noise. Don’t worry it isn't loud. You can still do this around others and not get too many awkward glances.
This breathing method really boosts your energy and helps you gain focus. All you need to remember is 4 IN and 4 OUT. Meaning, you will inhale 4 short breaths through your nose with a closed mouth all in a row, then exhale 4 short breaths out of your mouth in a row. Think of your normal inhale and exhale and divide it up into 4 equal parts. You will use a short but committed inhale and do the same on the exhale. If you're doing this correctly you'll focus on your abdomen filling up as well as your chest on the inhale and both decreasing on the exhale. You'll also hear your short inhale breaths. The exhale is like you're blowing out a candle repeatedly. Repeat this cycle of breathing for up to 4 minutes. If you can only take time for a minute - do it, it’s worth every second. You'll feel refreshed.
Important Note: Until you are used to any breathing technique, do not practice these methods while driving or operating equipment, due to possible dizziness. This dizziness is often due to the fact you are circulating a lot of needed oxygen in a short focused amount of time. It always amazes me to see how many people, self included, hold their breath while they're focused on something or take shallow breaths and never really get the oxygen they need. Lack of oxygen stresses your body and your mind. So...breathe.
Moving forward embrace all the great qualities you have discovered about yourself. If feeling guilty is your reality when you either think about, or physically take time out for your needs, your nature is: kind, nurturing, loving, caring, compassionate, sympathetic, giving, thoughtful, dependable, loyal, committed, accepting (to a point) and a well trained juggler.
You have also been tested as to how patient you can be and most times you probably come out able and willing. It's okay to push back and be impatient at times. These times are when you are most frustrated because you've compromised too many of your own needs to care for others. This is normal and does not make you a bad person. This merely reminds you that you are…HUMAN. No one assigned you the title of “Super Mom” or “Wonder Woman”, except you!
Another perspective for you to consider is: As long as you are doing everything for everyone else, you're not allowing them, or challenging them, to “BE MORE”. You've probably done things this way for a long time and that is why you're so drained. It's why they're so dependent on you, whether they think so or not. I'm certain that they find comfort in how dependable you are and expect this behavior from you.
Well, it’s time for you to embrace your “Bad Girl”, the “Rebellious Girl” inside of you. The trick is...How do you do this so that you don’t cause yourself more stress. Your goal is to bring more joy, variety and playfulness back into your life. I'm not asking you to become a B#T@H! I say this with love and understanding of the exhaustion you may feel and of the unfulfilled wants and needs you deserve to have met. You can still be all these wonderful things that you are for others and still take care of you. It’s time!
Breathing time aside, start to indulge in creating even more guilt free "Me-Time" for you. Even if it’s as small as letting everyone know that one night a week you're taking the night off. Tell everyone that they're on their own for dinner and you won’t be home for 2-3 hours, or longer if you choose. Take yourself to a movie; sign up for a new class; go to dinner with a friend or with a great book you have always wanted to read. There is no shame in being alone or doing things by yourself. We just get conditioned to think others will judge us. Who cares? I bet they aren't taking time out for themselves if they're judging you. It's more likely that they're jealous of your ability to take action and do the very thing they wish they could do.
Last but not least, I want you to throw away any idea about YOU being selfish! You're not selfish! If you look at that wonderful list of amazing qualities I spelled out for you already (only the beginning of your long list of list-able strengths) you will see that those qualities don't describe a selfish person. What you are is tired of not being respected, valued or important.
You can't control other people or their actions, which means it's up to you to get your needs met in positive ways. This means you have to change how you care for “You” while you care for others.
Sit down and write out what you want and need. Get clear on what you want to create for yourself. Then, learn how to communicate effectively to others, what you want and need. If others want to be a part of your plan, welcome it but...
DO NOT WAIT for others to do for you what you can do for yourself. If you wait, you’ll most likely never get what you want and need. Value yourself, discover and honor who you truly are and treat yourself as you'd wish for others to treat you.
Start today, Create Some Guilt Free "Me-Time" For You!
For more ideas or strategies, contact me. I’ll be happy to help you with all your goals so you can finally clarify and get what you want, need and deserve.
BSG Event Answers For Healthy Woman Members
by CJ Harlan
© copyright 2014