You've been taught that putting yourself last is virtuous, but it's time to challenge that belief.
Talk of embracing your worth can almost sound like a foreign language. We are accustomed to giving and giving until we have nothing left to give. People applaud us when we are “always there” for them and honor that we show up “tirelessly” for them.
Our bodies, our minds and our emotions are challenged, leaving us drained of spirit while others give accolades for our “dedication.”
Dedication, without balance, is … well … self-destructive.
Self-sacrifice often leaves us feeling depleted and disconnected from our own desires and needs. It's time to prioritize ourselves and embrace all that we are and all that we are meant to be.
1. Prioritize Your Needs: Embrace A Life-Changing Act of Self-Love
Setting Boundaries and Saying "No"
This is Valerie's Story - The Power of Setting Boundaries
Valerie used to try being everything to everybody. She thought it was ‘the right thing to do’. She had relatives and friends, believe it or not, who often told Valerie what she was and was not capable of doing. Valerie resented this and usually responded appropriately but what Valerie did not do was create certain boundaries to limit the negative comments. In addition to what she was dealing with in her home life, Valerie had co-workers questioning her abilities to do her job.
When Valerie realized that she could change all that, she did. When she learned the importance of setting boundaries and not allowing others to overstep those boundaries, everything changed.
Valerie learned how to say “no.”
When I look at what happened with Valerie, I see her story playing out all the time.
Like Valerie, so many women believe their power is in saying “yes” to whatever someone wanted from them or trying to 'keep the peace' by not speaking up. They fear what will happen if they say “no.” They don’t know how to say “no” to people and still manage those relationships.
Sometimes, women are not sure when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”
All these things can be learned. Valerie learned, and as a result, she regained her energy, improved her relationships, and experienced a newfound sense of empowerment.
This a good place to explain why Valerie's relationships improved. When she began speaking up for herself, and doing so consistently, the people in her life began taking her seriously. They had to accept the new way of life in Valerie's world because the new Valerie was here to stay.
Valerie demonstrated the ultimate act of self-care. She gave herself some much needed self-love first.
2. Let Go of the Need for Validation
It is said that how we do one thing is how we do everything. I don’t agree completely with this. There are some caveats and qualifications needed. Different circumstances can require different responses, different reactions, and different treatments.
I do believe, however, that when there is a fundamental change in character, the dominating character transcends all we do.
When Valerie had her light-bulb moment and found the courage to set some boundaries in her work life, she discovered the value of applying her new perspective beyond the job.
Valerie lived her whole life being the good daughter, the good sister, the good aunt, the good employee, the good co-worker, the good friend, and the good caregiver. Valerie was the caregiver for her developmentally disabled sister. She assumed that role when her mother did not.
Valerie wore many hats and whichever hat Valerie wore, she wore it to please.
Pleasing people validated her. She believed that her value was tied to how much she could give and how little she asked in return. But deep down, she felt something was missing.
When she began prioritizing herself, Valerie began feeling something she had not experienced before. She knew she wanted more but she had not realized how putting what others expected of her ahead of her needs was related to that ‘missing something’.
There are many “Valeries” in our world. We appreciate them. We really do. But we must be careful to remember "Valeries" are people with feelings, hopes and dreams. We should respect all they are to us. In the same spirit, if we are “Valerie,” we need to respect ourself and honor what best serves us.
I don’t think any one of us wants to live as though we are just going through the motions and letting life pass us by. We want to be fulfilled. We don't need someone else's input to validate us.
We are validated just because we are here.
Valerie is still caring for her sister but she has a new sense of self-worth and she makes different decisions and different choices these days. There is more to Valerie’s story because she went on to fulfill a dream she’s had for years but that’s enough about Valerie for now. That’s her story.
I could tell you many stories but I bet you have one of your own. Don’t you?
How would you like for your story to end?
By setting boundaries, saying "no" when necessary, and honoring our own worthiness, we create space for self-discovery, personal growth, and a life that aligns with our values and desires.
I am a professional with a diverse background and a unique blend of expertise.
Prior to coaching, I have more than 30 years practicing law. For more than 40 years, I have served communities through a number of civic roles. What excites me the most is helping women navigate the day-to-day issues they face.
My passion is inspiring women to reclaim their power by setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing self-care. With my guidance, women are empowered to create a fulfilling life they genuinely love.
The issues that interest you are the same issues that interest me. So, let's talk about them.