**Part 3, of a 4-part series raising awareness of hidden beliefs that get in the way of women fully flourishing** [LISTEN TO THE AUDIO HERE]
So, tell me, how often do you say, “I SHOULD,” followed by “doing” that doesn’t bring you JOY… and instead leads to overwhelm, resentment and fatigue?
As you enter middle life, your needs shift, but have you shifted, and why is this important?
Decades of beliefs and habits unwittingly adopted from outside influences (parents, teachers, media) are now causing discontent, fatigue, and a desire to escape to a deserted island with a bottle of wine and a good book.
To understand why fatigue and discontent settle in, it helps to understand social conditioning and the socialization of women:
Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by society and peer groups within society. For example, what I refer to as our “push culture” is behavior that is both excepted and celebrated by society.
Socialization is the process of inheriting norms, customs, and ideologies – such as the “norm” of how women are supposed to behave – cook, clean, caretake, plus as mentioned in Part 2: “bring home the bacon… and never let you forget you’re a man.
It’s a double whammy! Women have inherited “norms” that date back thousands of years because of our patriarchal society. These “norms” make women susceptible to social conditioning – behaving to “fit in,” be accepted, and challenged with feelings of “not enough,” self-doubt, self-comparison, and feeling ‘less than.’
As mentioned in “Are you Putting Frosting on Dog Poop,” patriarchy labeled women as the “lesser species” – Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest.” Hmph!
Think of it this way, when you were a child – a parent or influential adult may have said, “you’re such a good girl.” Because you inherited a “norm” from a long line of women that “being a good girl” is the right way to be, your young impressionable Mind quickly formed the belief that “to be a good girl,” you must please others. You’re trained to respond in a manner accepted by society.
I’m curious – are you exploring thoughts like these:
- Is what I’m doing what I should be doing?
- I love what I do, but I can’t keep going at this pace.
- I’m so tired of all this responsibility.
- I’m having difficulty keeping up, but things need to get done.
- I’m ready for something new, but what?
- Please pass a glass of wine… no – make that a bottle!
Self-inquiry of this nature (and wine consumption) signifies that your needs are shifting. I recently described this feeling to a client like this: The “tectonic plates” begin to shift, causing frustration, agitation, and an unsettled feeling before a rupture of some sort.
Rupture can be ‘shifts’ in relationships, leaving a job, and moving (all ruptures I’ve experienced). Or emotional ruptures where everything triggers you and physical ruptures – your body tries to get your attention that something needs to shift (I’ve experienced all these too!)
However, rupture doesn’t have to be the cause of shifting; you can skip ‘rupture’ altogether by leaning into your self-inquiry (not ignoring it).
This brings me back to – your needs are shifting… but have you shifted?
William Bridges, author of the book ‘Transitions, Making Sense of Life Changes’ says, “Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological… Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture.”
Herein lies the problem: you can make changes – clean up your closet, but without adopting new habits, such as “one thing in, one thing out,” your closet will soon return to a disorienting mess.
I certainly didn’t shift – at least not soon enough to avoid damaging my adrenals. I drank more coffee, exercised more, and pushed myself harder because little Jiminy Cricket was bouncing on my shoulder, saying, “if you succumb to fatigue, you’ve failed.”
During rare moments of quiet, discontent would bubble to the surface, and Jiminy Cricket would dance on my shoulder again, singing “get busy” – return to the zone of comfort (that which is familiar).
What is a woman to do? The truth is when self-inquiry begins, you’re’ doing it. The shift has begun! Yay, you!
To help you, here are two Exploration Questions:
- What is familiar in your life that is causing discontent? For now, view the situation as an explorer—why are you doing what you’re doing? What are you experiencing? How does this make you feel?
- How has your social conditioning influenced this situation? What supportive new beliefs can you adopt?
I’ll end this blog with a question and an intention that helped me create space in the sea of busyness to feel what was working in my life and what wasn’t.
#1: Do I really need to be doing this right now?
I created this question when I owned my brick-and-mortar business – it helped me focus on what was most important instead of my old ways of “doing it all.” I used it while writing this series (you should see the mess on the kitchen counter!)
#2: Do half as much as you think you “should” and allow twice as much time. When you schedule yourself busy, you order yourself up a hefty dose of frustration and fatigue.
NOTE: I created this for myself. I’m not a naturally high-energy person (something I learned when I came down from my adrenaline high). Some of you naturally have more energy – so adjust the one-half formula accordingly (without using caffeine to manage it all).
Coming next: Part 4: Hey there Monkey – You’re Messing with my Mind!
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