Nearly two years ago, I took the biggest trip of a lifetime. I flew to Bolivia in search for my brother who was left abandoned and homeless in the streets of Santa Cruz. So, I bet you’re thinking, wait what? If you would like to hear the nitty-gritty details you can listen to the podcast here.What is important, for purposes of this blog, is that I returned from Bolivia with a sense of confidence in myself that I had lost about 6 years prior. To be honest, it happened in a very slow progression and I didn’t even know I lost it. I had always been a confident person, optimistic, and strong willed. But now, I recognized the Big G (Guilt).
However now, I felt unsure of myself in my job and in my marriage and of course as a mother. When I returned from Bolivia with a new outlook on life and a renewed confidence in myself, I also had a lot of questions. Questions like, what is my purpose? Who am I? Who do I want to be? What am I doing?
Truthfully, I have had these questions for quite some time but I was unsure how to answer them.
See, I have a small family, I have three young boys and a husband who has spent the better part of fifteen years building a business. And I’ve spent the better part of eight years pouring into my family. I’m not knocking anyone who pours into their family, I am knocking the fact that I didn’t feel like I could do ANYTHING for myself without feeling the BIG G.
I placed so much weight on what others thought of me, instead of what I needed, wanted or liked. This was occurring so frequently, that I squashed my own self esteem. I gave and gave and gave. My stores were being depleted, I had nothing left to pour out onto others.
To work or not to work?
For example, there were multiple times I was a full time stay at home mom, then working part time, then working full time again, only to feel like I couldn’t balance it all, so I returned back home FULL TIME. No matter what commitment I made, I felt an immense amount of guilt. Guilt for leaving the boys and going to work, guilt for staying home and being a grouch and sad, guilt for going out with my friends and leaving them with the hubs, not having a clean house when my husband works so hard to provide or the flip side, having a clean house and feeling like I wasn’t giving my boys enough attention. Consequently, every corner I turned, I felt the Big G.
I was so busy wiping butts, cleaning out ears, walking peeps to time out for so long, I lost myself in the heaps of laundry throughout the house.
I felt insecure about everything I was doing. EVERYTHING from motherhood, to my part time work, to my ability to communicate, my ability to listen. I would fly off the handle at my children, I couldn’t engage, and I couldn’t relate to friends. I felt an overwhelm of small. So, what did I do, I numbed in a scroll hole on Facebook. What is that you say? When you literally can spend hours in a day, scrolling other people’s lives because I couldn’t be present in my own life. Oh the Big G just ate at me, day in and day out. I started calling for myself like, “hey girl you alive in there?”
Five things I did to combat the Big G:
First, I discovered a community of women that are growth focused. I started attending a women’s meet up called We Are Women Rising, a branch of The We Spot. As hard as it was for me to ask my husband to be home on time from work on a Friday night and you better believe the Big G was on my mind the entire drive to the event. I didn’t let that stop me. I went anyways, and I focused on myself, for the three hours I was not only in attendance, but also present… for myself. If you’re in Northern Colorado and would like to know more about this group, click here.
This group gave me back my voice. Consequently, I was able to call things out in my life and show up for myself in a way that I hadn’t before. But having a group of women that not only validate your feelings, but also could relate with similar experiences of their own, is such a powerful thing. The We Spot’s founder, Sarah Monares, in a recent blog, mentions how when you let your tribe show up for you, you are surprised at how much you start to show up for yourself. When I read these words a few months ago, it struck me to my core in a very positive way. This rings so true in my experience. Read more about that here.
When we enter into healthy relationships where we can be vulnerable, supported, and seen and understood, we not only show up for others differently, we also learn to show up for ourselves in a whole new way.– Sarah Monares
Be kind to yourself…
Secondly, I started doing small things for myself on the daily. I would take a little time each day to have a cup of tea, journal, read a book for 20 minutes, indulge on my favorite show (currently, Victoria on PBS), worked a side gig that excited me, craft, meditate for 10 minutes (recommend Mindset App). Side note: there is an Australian, male voice setting that seemed to calm me like a baby!
Third, I started moving more. If it was nice outside, I would soak up the sun. When it was cold outside, I attended a yoga or kickboxing class (two of my favorite past times).There is nothing like exercise to get the blood flowing and endorphins running again. I considered doing the things that I once enjoyed.
Call the Big G out!!!
Fourth, I started calling The big G out. If I felt it or thought it, I would speak it! I would tell my husband and tribe as frequently as it occurred (which was a lot). I stopped holding onto that Big G and all the yucky that comes with it. If I have no one to tell it to in the moment, I would shout it out loud.
See the Big G, it can’t eat you alive on the inside, if you let it out into the light. You suddenly realize, that the Big G is complete garbage and it is unproductive. The Big G, wants you to play small. But you are made for more.
“Comparison is the Thief of Joy”– Theodore Roosevelt
Lastly, on the regular I have to stop myself from comparing myself and my life to others. This is a big one ladies!!! Have I mastered this? Heck No!!! This takes constant, conscious effort ALL THE TIME. Comparing myself to others does not serve me. It does not make me a better, mom, wife, friend or woman… you know what it does, it makes me feel insignificant, unworthy, and worst of all, jealous!
So, when that comparison pops in my head, I do one of two things: I think of a recent memory with my children or husband, or whatever, that I am proud of. I think about re-creating that moment again and what that would look like
I turn up the volume on my current, most inspiring song, that totally speaks to my inner bad a** and I rock it out for 3:44 minutes. If you need a pick me up right now, click here.
The Big G is real, it can take over your mind and hijack your spirit. But remember, you are in control my fellow mamas, you can overcome and conquer. Use kind words when speaking to yourself, be present for yourself, hold tight the things that fill your cup and don’t forget to tell the Big G where she can stick it!!!