“[Women] have been programmed by the media and society to DO, strive and out-perform in order to meet a standard that in reality just can’t be met. For many, the Superwoman cape has become a second skin. It becomes a part of the illusion of who we believe we must be in order to be loved, appreciated and valued.” – Linda Joy, author and publisher of Aspire magazine
Like many women, I have a tendency to put myself at the very end of my unrealistically lengthy to-do list. Why? It’s the Superwoman Syndrome; this desire to be all, do all, and do it better than anyone ever has before you.
I was talking to a friend the other day about this. Most of the women we know that were born of the baby boomer generation were told they could be anything – well-meaning advice from parents who struggled to get their basic needs met. Unfortunately, that translated from “I can do it all” to “I have to do it all or I am less than.”
I think this Superwoman Syndrome has led to a generation of women who are people pleasers. It’s almost become a byproduct of what it means to be a woman in today’s society – we are the nourishers, nurturers, caregivers. Yet, we aren’t being those things to ourselves.
We’ve been so pressured to “be all” and “do all” that deep down we think we’re somehow flawed if we can’t meet the unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves. So we do things for others rather than ourselves because we want their love and approval.
But here’s the thing: if we can’t give those things to ourselves, how can we expect or accept them from others?
You can’t. Not truly. Because somewhere inside of us is a little girl that thinks she’s not worth it in and of herself. That she has to do more, give more, be more, to get the love and appreciation she so desires.
And so we keep on….
Until the dam breaks.
You can only wear that Superwoman cape for so long before life comes around to bite you in the butt. Linda Joy calls life’s little (and big) events that send us reeling Cosmic 2x4s. Life has hit me with more Cosmic 2x4s than I care to count, but I’ve finally come to realize one thing:
We have a choice in much more of our lives than we think and that disruption caused by that Cosmic 2×4 is the Universe’s way of sending you a message: It’s time to take care of you.
I’ve been talking about self-care so much lately and I am taking this opportunity to hone in on it once again because I think it is so important.
As I have been working on healing my chakras, I’ve come to realize that another sign of the Superwoman Syndrome is doing what everyone asks of you with no complaint. We’re “yes” women. It’s like we don’t know how to say, “No” to something we don’t want to do. Or somewhere along the line our “no” button got broken.
Yet, it’s more than that. I think many of us have lost our connection to our inner voice – so much so that it has to be screaming at us for us to hear it. And even then, we rarely listen to it.
But denying your inner voice is another form of self-sabotage and another habit that needs to be let go of. You can’t take care of yourself if you constantly ‘turn off’ your inner guidance system. If you ignore your intuition – the little warning signs leading you away from bad situations and the little pushes encouraging you to speak up and move forward when you need to.
As so as I work on healing my throat chakra, I am paying more attention to my inner voice. I frequently ask myself the following questions as I go through my day:
- What can I do to take care of me in this moment?
- How am I feeling right now?
- Where’s my energy level? Do I have enough to give from my overflow or should I be holding on to whatever limited energy I have available to me right now?
- How can I best honor me today?
- And before I say yes to anything, make any decision, I try to make a point to check in with me: Do I really want to do this? Does this best serve me? And if the answer is no, I say “no” to that request, make a different decision.
We’ve got 3 weeks left in the year. Don’t you think it’s time you found your voice again? I’d hate for us to start the New Year silent and submissive. And while you’re at it, hang your Superwoman Cape behind the door. Or preferably, throw it away. It’s not serving you either.