As women, we’re experts in juggling multiple priorities on a daily basis. In our jobs, our families, with our friends and sometimes even with people we don’t know so well. We put everybody’s needs and priorities before our own, thinking that it is our role, our responsibility or that it is the right thing to do.
We start the week with a long list of chores and deadlines that we HAVE TO meet (and sometimes they are not even ours). We lose ourselves in our "duty" of fixing everybody's business, and by the end of the week we are drained. What we don't realize is that by doing this we keep giving up our energy and our personal power away. In other words, we forget what is really important - ourselves. By making others our priority, we lose control of our lives.
So what is wrong with this picture besides merely being the driving force of everyone else besides us?
First, keeping this routine impacts us physically, mentally and emotionally. It generates high levels of stress, anxiety and exhaustion. This translates into unhealthy behaviors like eating poorly, lack of sleep and ignoring self-care — all of these with the excuse that at some point things will change and we'll magically adopt a healthy routine. We hear it all the time. Women know they need to put themselves in the driver seat to achieve greatness and satisfaction, but we just don't do it.
Then there is the other aspect where we are silently confirming to the younger generations that this type of behavior is right. On the one hand, we are telling our young women to stand up for themselves, we give them endless speeches of empowerment when in our daily routine we are doing the exact opposite by giving our power away to everything and everyone else. We cannot expect them to change and be empowered if we do not change ourselves first and lead by example.
We need to change our mindset that taking our power back is not selfish; it is selfless. We need to allow ourselves to think that unless we put ourselves first, we cannot help others. If we want real change to happen, we first need to reclaim our power. Take our control back. So how do we do it?
1. Recognize how much time we spend giving our power away.
To change something, first, we need to recognize what is wrong. Hence to reclaim our power we need to become conscious of how much time we spend giving our power away. Think about the following:
How much time do we spend pleasing our family?
How much time do we spend pleasing others?
How much time do we spend controlling everyone else’s routines & experiences (with the thought that only we can do these things right)?
How much time do we spend worrying about things?
How much time do we spend regretting over something or thinking about resentment?
And the most crucial question: How much time do we dedicate to OURSELVES?
2. Accept that we want to change.
Taking our power back means that we want to change the way things are. Putting ourselves at the front seat. I know it is not easy, but we need to find the courage to be willing to change our mindset, let go of many unhealthy routines and be ready to put ourselves first.
3. Recognize the power of choice.
Having the ability to make choices is extremely powerful. Let's think about it, every day we are making decisions, conscious or unconscious and our daily routines have been the result of our own choices to do and stop doing things. Because we are problem solvers and fixers by nature, we quickly jump into this mode and start fixing everything and everyone, and quickly lose sight of our needs as we put everyone else’s before our own.
4. Take a pause and breathe.
Before jumping into problem-solving mode, we need to take a pause and breath. By breathing, we give oxygen to our brain so that it can get back to thinking and truly explore all the options. We need to ask ourselves the question, how important is it for us to get involved? Think about what would indeed happen if we stayed out of it. The truth is that we will never know if we don't try. So why not just try it and see what happens. It is amazing that in most cases, things do get resolved, even without us. Plus, by acting this way, we are teaching others to be responsible and empower them.
5. Start taking positive actions.
Taking our power back require action. Writing down what we want and what our actions should be to achieve them. We need to say them out loud and share them with someone so that it becomes a commitment. When we just keep things to ourselves and in our mind, they quickly get pushed aside. Saying things out loud make them into positive intentions and actions where we will have the choice to act upon them.
Like with every change, you need to use these tools on daily basis for at least a couple of months to make them a habit so that they become part of how we behave. Change is good, but it can be challenging. Partnering with a Life Coach can be a great first step to support you along the way and ensure these changes can become long-life habits.
"THE PAST CANNOT BE CHANGED
THE FUTURE IS YET IN YOUR POWER"
Ilhiana Rojas is a certified Transformation Strategy Coach with a lifelong career of guiding people and teams to success.