Doing certain things or behaving a certain way is holding us women back from becoming who we really could become and unlocking our true potential.
Both men and women have certain things that they're “expected” to do. No one even questions those things, they've become such important parts of our behavior that we don't even realize how much they really affect us. Oftentimes, in a negative, disempowering way.
Here are some of the things that women are constantly doing but that make us weak and disempowered.
Looking For and Finding “Flaws” In Our Bodies
Many women remember already from their childhood how their mothers used to stand in front of the mirror, pinching their bellies or thighs and saying ugly things about them. (Luckily, my Mom never did that and I'm super grateful for it, but apparently somewhere I still picked up the need to be perfect…).
Then we grow up and talk to our girlfriends all the time about how we need to get rid of this belly fat or cellulite on the butt.
It's interesting that a lot of times, even once we get to our “goal weight” or get our “goal abs”, we still find the next “flaw” to work on… That's because if we weren't happy and healthy before, we won't be even once we get to those goals.
Instead of always being on the mission to fix the next thing we could stop seeing everything about our bodies as flaws, simply because they aren't. Our bodies aren't “broken” if they carry fat or cellulite. Body fat and cellulite are normal. It's okay to want to change the shape of our bodies, but negative self talk never helps us to achieve that. It doesn't teach us to respect our bodies but hate them.
Blaming Ourselves for Eating
We don't have to earn our food. It took me a while to understand it because I thought that my body is like a simple math task: Just burn some calories off so you can eat some back, and eat back less than you burned, because that's how you get thin.
But because I under ate, I ended up bingeing. I binge ate often — at first only once a month but later, when my body was getting really fatigued from running hours every day and depleted from energy, it started to happen every single week.
I blamed myself all the time and couldn't help but thinking that I just don't have enough willpower. That's not true. It's pure physiology — starve yourself and your body gets pushed overboard and you'll binge.
I would also think that when I ate one “bad” thing, my day was ruined so I just kept eating.
Now I never blame myself for eating anything anymore. I don't put “good” and “bad” labels on foods so there's nothing to feel guilty about. Sugar, fat or other ingredients that are typically seen as unhealthy, can in reasonable amounts be parts of a healthy diet.
Trying To Find the Best Diet
I really like this post I saw on Instagram.
No one can know what diet works best for our unique bodies, so instead of trying one diet after another, we could just figure out what works best for our body. It takes some testing and trial and error, and there's nothing to beat ourselves up for if things don't go great all the time. The way of eating that we find works for us, may not be any specific diet at all. Also we don't have to follow this approach for the rest of our lives, because our lives and preferences change.
Women talk about diets all the time. It seems like if you don't, there's something wrong with you. Why aren't you talking about it? Aren't you on any diet?
I literally never participate in these conversations unless someone asks my opinion. I think that we should have much more meaningful things to do than talk about what diets we're on.
Apologizing All The Time
We apologize way more than there's a reason for.
We pass someone at the grocery store and say “I'm sorry” instead of “Excuse me”. There's really no reason to say “sorry” when we don't even touch another person!
Sometimes women apologize when we train together and they do something incorrectly or differently from what I had explained. But there's no reason to apologize if you forgot something or if you need your trainer to show the same thing second time. It's your trainer's job to teach as many times as necessary.
Us women also apologize for many other things, like our messy hair, messy house, for eating things that aren't seen as “healthy”, for watching movies and listening to music that don't make us look “smart” etc etc.
When you look at Instagram stories you see how so many stories start with apologizing for our hair!
I feel like if we apologize for ever single thing we do or don't do, we basically apologize for existing.
Having To Do All The Things and Taking Care of Everyone
Many women think that they need to take care of everyone and if they don't, they're bad people.
I remember once being at a workshop where we had to write down 5 things that we've blamed ourselves for. Then we had to read them out loud. So many answers were something about not being good enough mom or wife and not doing as much for the family as they “should”.
Most of us put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect mom and wife. But sometimes we have to ask others to help us out. Sometimes our houses can be messy. Nothing happens if our laundry doesn't get put away right away. I don't even have kids but my laundry often sits on the bedroom floor for days before it gets put away. That doesn't make me a bad person.
The worst part is that when when we're trying to take care of everything and everyone else, we don't take any time for ourselves. But it's necessary to take care of ourselves. I have clients who tell me that if they don't get an hour three times a week for themselves to work out, they are not as good moms and wives as they are when they do take that time.
Doing the things we love and that help us to recharge are super important. We don't have to give a 100% of us for everything and everyone else.
Diet talk, finding and “fixing” flaws and beating ourselves up for eating are some of the super common things that women do. These things don't empower us but do the opposite, they make us shrink and hide more.
Apologizing for not looking the way we're not “expected” to look does the same — when we apologize for the way we are, we basically apologize for being. And lastly, maybe we should let go of the mentality that we need to do all the things and take care of everyone else. We need to take care of ourselves as much as we do for others.