Have you ever experienced a time when you were wronged or mistreated and didn’t stand up for yourself?
In my late twenties I worked at a large international biotech company as a communications specialist. My counterparts in our Paris office were impressed with my work and invited me to come work side by side for a year in their European offices sharing US best practices. I was elated! My excitement around this opportunity kept building until I accidentally picked up a transmission off our office fax machine. My boss–for no good reason–had “turned down” the opportunity for me even though the executives in Europe had signed off on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was livid and I could feel in my bones this move was sabotage. Yet, in my youth and naiveté, I steamed in silence and never took this above her head or to the company CEO–who I knew and often wrote speeches for. I regret to this day, not speaking up and advocating for myself.
At the retreats I lead around the US, women share with me that every day in big and small ways–whether it’s eating when they’re not hungry, packing their schedules too full with activities or staying in a relationship that ended years ago–they abandon themselves. They squelch that still small voice–their Wise Self–who truly knows what’s in their best interest. Or they turn their back on her completely.
How do you abandon yourself?
I often negated my needs in my 20’s and 30s–especially when it came to romantic and platonic relationships. Trying to find–and hold onto–myself in the midst of complex human dynamics often felt squishy and nebulous. I threw myself “under the bus” more times than I’d like to remember. Recently my 14 year-old son and I talked about friendships (remember the “minefield” of friendship terrain in high school?). I tried to remind him that the most important thing is to be “true to you.” To not sacrifice who you are, for others. To choose friends who nourish your heart and spirit and let you show up warts and all.
One of the most powerful gifts I’ve received from my 17 year self-care practice (read more) is a strong and unwavering allegiance to self. I have learned the hard way–like most–that you’ll never win trying to please others. But you always win, if you stay in integrity with yourself–even if this means leaving a trail of disgruntled people in your wake. There is no sweeter feeling than when you “have your own back.”
SUPPORT IS HERE: It would be my joy to support you in developing an unwavering allegiance to self through sharing the art/science of self-care. Join me at an upcoming women’s retreat or schedule me to lead a custom workshop or retreat for your team or organization in 2017-2018. I’d love to support you!
A GIVEAWAY FOR OUR TEXAS FRIENDS! I think everyone should get to experience the lasting effects of a top-notch retreat experience (read 5 reasons I take retreats) so my team suggested we give away one-spot to our almost sold-out Nov. 11 New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Retreat in the Texas Hill Country (A $225 value). Want to enter to win? Just share in the comments section below one thing you learned about yourself in 2016 and “Like” our page on Facebook. We’ll announce a winner on Friday the 28th!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by work-life balance speaker/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Renee’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She leads workshops/retreats around the globe and is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 14 year-old son. More on her background here.