Trying To Be Superwoman? The Blessing And Curse Of Wanting It All
Enjoying the privilege of sharing a dinner table with talented, successful and beautiful women quickly helped me witness a fascinating desire many of us have: wanting it all… at the same time... and right here and now.
Some of us are lucky to have grown up within societies where we have the option to choose how we wish to live. We are faced with a range of opportunities that allow us not only to have our basic needs met, but to actually have our dreams come true.
All this is reason enough to be deeply grateful. However, without genuine self-reflection, conscious decision-making and clear intentions, the ocean of choices can simply be overwhelming. As a result, many people experience the tense duality between possessing a deep longing to live life at its fullest, while also feeling stress or anxiety. How to do all this ‘right’, how not to miss out on opportunities or how to give and get the best?
Too much choice isn’t always a blessing. When we combine this with the expectations put upon us by society, family or our peers about which choices we ought to pursue, we can come to a common dilemma: unable to decipher between what we really want in our heart, and what we think we want or should achieve based on pressure from others.
For many of us, these complex layers have gradually built up and influenced our judgement in various ways since early childhood. For the ambitious and highly achievement-based people amongst us, when vast opportunities meet internal confusion and external expectations, we can easily try to have, do and be it all for ourselves and others.
This ‘you can have and be it all’ mantra is impressed on us to such an extent that some feel like a failure if they don’t live like Superwoman. Striving to ‘do it all’ is not only encouraged but expected, ironically especially from those who are far along in achieving all of the above and more. The pressure becomes unbearably strong; feeling like we have to maintain the bar we have set for ourselves while staying accountable to the expectations we have created in others about who we are.
Even if we were to confidently do it all, the inevitable question will surely arise… ‘What to do next?’ This is the catch; when we strive to be Superwoman there will always be another thing to accomplish, another way in which we can put in a little more effort, a little more time, a little more ‘something’ that will make us even better.
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So how do we cleanse ourselves from the unrealistic notion that we can have and be it all?
Here are 4 steps to start with:
Step 1: Decipher what is yours
This first step is about taking a close look at the beliefs you have. Try to understand which beliefs are truly yours, and which you have been picked up from someone along your way. Once you cleanse your thoughts of pressures or expectations that aren’t even yours to begin with, you can start to fully embrace what you really want and need.
Connecting with yourself is the key to finding the right answers from within. This may be through walks in nature, journaling, meditation, yoga or simply giving yourself some free time to stop, think and listen. In this place of calmness, you will be better able to really understand your deepest desires for your own life.
Step 2: Give yourself space
When we are in achievement-mode, we often rush ahead without gifting ourselves with the time to practice self-awareness. In step 1, you gained clarity on what you want, need and believe in. Now you can begin to explore potential choices that support the kind of life you want to live.
Creating a life that is truly fulfilling for you won’t happen overnight, and pushing and controlling won’t help. In moments when you’re feeling frustrated or confused about the desires that begin to surface, come back to step 1. Take a moment to sit with your values and understand that clarity will come when you are ready.
Step 3: Take aligned action
Once you are clear about what you really want and are at peace with yourself, action is everything. Just remember to always make decisions from this place of clarity and alignment. This will allow you to create the life you truly desire while also staying grounded and able to quickly and confidently move past distraction, unwanted opinions or external expectations as they come your way.
Step 4: Avoid familiar patterns
It’s likely that when you start to connect with your inner voice and feel more comfortable with taking heart-based action, lots of options will come up, especially if you’re multi-passionate and interested in many things. It’s so important that you don’t go back to old habits through reinstating the consuming need to do and be everything for everyone.
Step 5: Pace yourself
There is a time for everything. Sometimes life is about advancing in your career, sometimes it’s about nesting, loving, enjoying, sometimes it’s about learning the tough lessons in life and focusing on self-development.
The depth of an experience can be truly fulfilling but it requires focus. And focus means you simply cannot do all at the same time. Trust your gut about what you most need in any given stage or moment in your life. This takes obsession away from checklists and linear ladders, and instead brings you into an infinitely more joyful flow and dance with life, as you grow, evolve and change.
Nurturing a deep trust that everything you need will come your way and developing the confidence and self-esteem that you are good the way you are, will make this step much easier.
Living and making choices in line with these 5 steps is something that requires daily practice. As you take aligned action and see the benefits unfold, this decision-making process will integrate into many aspects of your life from the big decisions to the everyday choices of what to eat, the clothes you wear, and who you emotionally engage with.
Most importantly, honour yourself along the way. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Life is long, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Who knows, you might actually even have more than one life. So, pace yourself.