The truth is that women know that self-care is important. That if they make time for themselves they will be happier, more rested and have happier family lives. In fact, I would imagine that if you asked any women about the benefits of self-care they would agree that it would be a great thing to do.
However, according to a study that the people at Suave did a few years ago, partnered with a sociology professor, Dr. Katherine Gerson from NYU, stated that 80% of moms did not spend any time on self-care, even though 93% of those moms reported that they felt better when they took the time to take care of themselves.
Even though 76% of women reported that felt happier and more attractive when they took care of themselves and 72 % felt more self confident the statistic shows that even though women KNOW that it is beneficial, 80% just. don't. do. it.
66% reported that GUILT is one of the primary barriers.
Just let me shoot it to you straight ladies. Guilt, when delivered to ourselves, is generally nothing but self-condemnation disguised as something that is beneficial. In other words we feel like we should feel guilty. We're mom's, right? Mom stands for "guilt". Leaving kids behind, going to work, dropping them off at the nursery, not knowing every discipline technique. Blah, Blah, blah. And it doesn't matter if you are a stay at home mom or a working mom, there is guilt. Am I spending too much time with my kids, are my kids getting enough socialization?? Blah, blah, blah. It is so easy to make yourself feel guilty, it is very easy to allow others to make you feel guilty. It is very easy take on guilt. It can become a part of you. You start apologizing frequently. You get in the habit of self-doubt. You don't know when to say yes to something or no. You are paralyzed in fear. That is what misguided guilt can do.
We are wrongly judging ourselves. We are our own worst enemy. Guilt has it's place. We were born with a conscience, the ability to know right from wrong. When we do something wrong, we feel guilty. When you are a mom and you have to make a tough decision, it is natural to feel guilty. But if you find yourself continually beating yourself up over those decisions it has moved beyond guilt and into shame (self-condemnation). That is why I talked about how having good personal and professional boundaries are so important. Someone who is balanced with themselves and know how to balance themselves with others experience less self-condemnation.
So how do I get rid of the guilt and start doing the things I know that are good for me?
1. Boundaries. We have already covered this in a previous post, but it is so absolutely connected to laying guilt aside and being the confident woman that God has created you to be. It has amazingly, wonderful positive consequences when implemented.
2. Balance. Closely tied to boundaries, having a balanced life means understanding that you can't have it all and you just have to know when to let things go. Balance means having confidence in your decisions, even when it hurts. You may have to go to that meeting and miss a special family dinner. Or, you may be able to tell your boss that you must leave at 4:30 in order to make your daughters ballet performance. It means knowing when to say "no" to that extra responsibility at church. And generally being OK with the hard decisions you have to make. Trusting yourself when you make the hard decisions that you are being healthy, realistic and doing the best that you can.
3. Blend. As a therapist, one of the things I teach my clients is the power of being flexible and not being so black and white. Having more gray areas in their life. People who have the ability to see things from both sides without judgement have more positive thinking. People who see things very black and white tend to have more negative thinking. We call this "all or nothing thinking". And many of us (me included) make assumptions in our thinking instead of asking questions and using communication to clarify what they think they are seeing or feeling. Then, people take on those assumptions as truth. If a person does this enough, research shows us that we can actually get into the habit of thinking negatively and believing those thoughts as truth. The professional term for this is "stinkin thinkin". :-) The best solution to "all or nothing thinking" is to learn to ask questions and use positive self-talk instead of just automatically believing everything you think.
Ultimately, it is up to each of us to take responsibility for our feelings and how we process those feelings and thoughts about ourselves. I am hoping that by having this discussion and giving you a little insight into HOW to stop the guilt that you can take the steps in moving forward and stop the negative feelings and whatever else that is keeping you from being the best that you can be .
Sometimes just starting with accepting ourselves, loving ourselves and reminding ourselves how much we are loved and why we are here will be the first and best step in making small, positive changes.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
I John 3:1
Hmmm....maybe that is truly the first step in taking care of ourselves, believing that we are WORTH the TLC we deserve.
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