Daring as self care

Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. David Lloyd George quoted in Do One Thing Everyday That Scares You – A Journal.

In other words…go ahead and leap for your dreams. Go for your goals. Throw off the burden of unrealized potential, it is too heavy to carry indefinitely.

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Self help for self care

About self help

Whether you are completing exercises in a workbook, reading the latest self-help book or article, or organizing a peer counseling/support group (may also be called a sister circle), you are engaging in self-help strategies. Self-help is a powerful emotional health tool because it requires an active, ongoing choice to face and work through challenges you are facing. Choosing self-help is like saying to a problem or challenge, I am still in charge of my life.

Take Action! Set up your own sister circle

Choose 2 or 3 other women and decide together what your circle will be like. Some ideas to discuss:

  • Shared values around confidentiality and trust
  • Meetings (when, how often, where, how long)
  • Group goals (will your circle focus on a particular topic or problem like getting out of debt, parenting, or will it be more general)
  • Expected commitment(s) from group members, etc.

You may need to revisit the values conversation periodically until you find just the right group groove. Sister circles are a great way to invest in your well-being, be accountable for your choices and goals as well as be heard.

Why not give it a try?

Living Intentionally

And if only one more hour…? Those may not be the exact words, but that is the gist of a quote I came across several months ago. I cut the words into a small strip of paper that is now pinned to a bulletin board in my office.

We all know that death is inevitable. We hope the day is far away. But what if it isn’t?

Reading those words reminded me of how precious time is. Still, I squander time and take my relationships with self and others for granted. I refuse to abandon the superfluous, choosing instead to occupy myself with things, thoughts and activities that really don’t matter.

Perhaps it sounds cliché, but for those of us with seemingly endless days ahead it is very important to live in a way that, at least occasionally, considers the question – and if only one more hour…? It does not seem reasonable or prudent to take for granted the gift of health or time. Everyone does not get to enjoy these gifts.

Some of us are, inexplicably, given more time. It seems a shame to squander it when so many others wish desperately for another, day, year, or decade. Assuming you have it how will you make the most of it?

Living intentionally invites us to consider some of life’s larger questions. So, if only one more hour…? How you answer may uncover some clues that help you improve the quality of your time, your choices and your life.

“You can go your own way”

Women are making some strides politically and in the corporate world, but what about socially? Not so much.

There remains an underlying vein of discomfort – even guilt – as we break away from long loathed limits. “Having it all” comes up often, but that isn’t the real issue. The real issue is having the freedom from cultural pressure to identify and choose what we want. Then to actually go for whatever that is without apology.

The dreams our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and even mothers, dreamt are becoming real. We have more choices about what we can do, but not as many real choices about how we can be. There is still a great deal of tension related to identity, gender socialization and life choices.

For example, do we choose from the multiple roles available to us (employee, mother, leader, wife, partner, etc.) or does the cultural current simply carry us along until we settle into these roles. How do they fit together and how do we reconcile the sometimes conflicting responsibilities of each? How do we find (and use) our voices when our subconscious minds still believe on some level that women should be accommodating and made of the requisite sugar, spice and everything nice?

The next frontier we conquer must be social and cultural norms. Our job as women with more choices is to actually embrace and exercise them without regard for the cultural limits that keep us in conflict with ourselves. You know the limits. They show up in our willingness to speak up for everyone except ourselves; torment us whether we work in or outside the home, encourage us to stay in unhappy relationships, and fill us with doubt about our life choices.

The fear of cultural backlash can make it difficult for women to be honest about who they are and what they want. We worry about being perceived as a “ball buster” or a bad mom. We worry about how it will look if we are single, without children or divorced. We worry about fitting in and about not upsetting the status quo. We’ve had a lifetime of worrying about the right way to be a woman. That will not earn us a second life. We will still get only one.

Find your financial purpose

Having a big why makes the how of money management feel more possible. If there is a real purpose driving your plan you will feel more compelled to save instead of deprived when you don’t spend. The sense of purpose creates a real shift in attitude that helps you see it isn’t that you can’t spend but that you are choosing not to spend. You are choosing your big why over a small, fleeting pleasure. Your sense of self is immeasurably bolstered by making a plan and sticking with it – much more than it is by getting another tech gadget. What is your big why? Is it saving for a house you can raise your children in? Is it knowing you can take care of yourself and pay your bills? The security of having a safety net to handle emergencies? Planning for a comfortable retirement? Maybe it is saving enough money to start a business or buy a car. Name your big why now and use the passion you feel to help you figure out the how (of saving/getting the money to fuel your why).

What is the purpose of money in your life? What role does it serve?

Think of a time when you saved a lot of money. Was it for a wedding, to buy a bike or even a car? Or was it to take a vacation or buy a house? You were able to do that because you were motivated by a very specific and desirable reward. To repeat that same habit in your daily life it is important to identify whatever that thing is (your why) that is so desirable that it makes the impulse to buy seem pale in comparison. Think not in terms of what you can’t buy but what you will be able to do as a result of your choice not to spend in this moment. Remember, money gives you options. If you have $500 saved you can better handle emergencies. It doesn’t matter how little you have to start. It only matters that you protect your financial future by making a savings plan in the present.

Prioritize Ruthlessly

Prioritize ruthlessly – Tina Tchen

Don’t let meaningless busyness or petty distractions steal the time you need for restoration, relationships, goals or any must-do’s that are deeply important to you.

You can make it happen – whatever “it” is – when you give yourself permission to clarify priorities and focus on them with deliberate intention.

Leap for your dreams

Take the leap. You have already failed in a thousand big and small ways – you did not die. You learned, you adjusted, you kept growing forward. Why not risk failure for something that really matters to you? Go ahead and launch your business, get sober, write a book, ask a question, sign up for the race, step out, take that class, say yes to whatever your dream is. Go big, and if you fail it will be in the knowledge that you took a glorious leap toward the deep longing you have felt. It is okay to let yourself be pulled forward by that longing. Allow it to fill you, it might even quiet some of your fears.

Know that you will be okay no matter what happens. You may even be better as you decide to answer your urge and nurture courage instead of discontent. So decide to take the leap. You will not die if you stumble or even if you fall (embarrassment or whatever else you might feel will not kill you). Besides, if you don’t succeed you can rework your plan and try again as many times as you need to. You are worth the effort and the risk.