Let’s face it, the last few years have been testing for most of us; lockdowns truly challenged our boundaries and many of our relationships were tested, including the one we have with ourselves! And, in the years since, many of us have been taken to the brink of burn-out; sometimes several times.
Maybe many of us are now juggling that work/life balance better and finding a voice, when we need to say “no” but still, being able to truly honour our own needs, without feeling selfish, can feel like a tightrope walk!
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At its core lies our self-worth. “I’m worth it” was enshrined long ago in that iconic L’Oréal advert but how many of us say this to ourselves and truly believe it?
This is something I’ve had to work on for years and the process has brought me face-to-face with my relationship with food, my body and all my earliest beliefs. I’ve also had to square up to wide-ranging cultural and religious influences. And, most painfully, I’ve had to work through “Mother Wound” issues, many of which are rooted in societal values that are not yet extinct, including patriarchal and racial bias.
Once ago I had no idea how many women were struggling with similar issues and then, for a while, I believed that it was a generational thing that didn’t apply to Millennials and certainly not to Gen Z; but I was wrong. Millennials especially have had to slot in between the rebellious energies of sexual freedom – the swinging sixties – and the more subtle freedoms enabled by a digital world where EVERYTHING is at our fingertips, no matter where we are! And then, Gen Z especially, are most exposed to a resurgence of the toxic – and frankly very out-dated – values that have affected previous generations; racial abuse, misogyny and female competitiveness is “off the scale” in the digital world. These insidious undercurrents can cause so much insecurity for young women who often have little knowledge or understanding of the historical context and who are also grappling with cultural change happening at breathtaking speed.
Like I said, navigating all this successfully hinges on self-worth but the first step is often acknowledging where our self-belief is frail! The work encompasses figuring our triggers, delving into the influences that have shaped our beliefs and then, figuring if those beliefs are still serving us. We must work on a new image and sometimes we do have to fake self-belief before we start to embody it.
But why do I care, I hear you ask? In a nutshell it’s because an inability to value ourselves makes it impossible to remain committed to our own self-care at any level. It is this intrinsic lack of self-worth that drives self-sabotage, whether that be dietary, addictive behaviours, victim mindset or any other self-limiting behaviours.
On the other hand, self-knowledge leads to informed choices, unshakeable self-belief, and consistent self-care. The woman who gets this is confident and this confidence snowballs each and every time she chooses herself.
So, that’s why my work is changing. It is no longer my mission to work with dietary change because, you can eat the healthiest meals every dreamt up, yet, if you’re mindset is one of abstinence or restriction you are not fully choosing to serve yourself.
Blanket food restriction is abuse, adhering to rigid food rules is abuse, and the concept of “good foods” versus “bad foods” is most definitely abuse!
It’s time to start choosing yourself by making your own rules, that totally suit you. AND, I mean in ALL areas of your life.
It is also time for me to stop disappointing myself and step up to my next level of influence – this has been my life’s work. The final piece for me to do, to fully walk my talk, is to LISTEN, share, guide, mentor and encourage anyone committed to making peace with themself.