How to let go of being every woman, get it all done and breathe through the holidays

 

I’m Every Woman. What a great “feel good” song – belted out by divas like Whitney Houston, Chaka Kahn and yours truly in the confines of my car. Every time I hear that song I feel empowered, emboldened and ready to take on the world.

Of course whenever I try to be “Every Woman”, I immediately experience overwhelm; which leads to countless unfinished tasks and, ultimately, to feelings of failure. Consequently, I’ve decided to let go of being “Every Woman” and love the woman I am.

Let go of being every woman…

It turns out that to let go of being Every Woman you’ve got to let go of a number of things.

#1. Let go of approval seeking behaviors. On the surface, while doing it all for everyone else sounds like good will toward men (and children and family and friends), it has undertones of insecurity. Approval seeking is an attempt to validate self worth and comes with a pretty high price tag including the dreaded You Lose Some; You Lose Some Syndrome.

People-pleasing is exhausting. You try and try and either never win approval or it’s short lived.

People- pleasing is expensive. It often conflicts with your values, causes you to neglect self-care and ignore what’s right for you.

People-pleasing doesn’t work. You have about as much control over other peoples’ thoughts and actions as you do over guaranteeing a white Christmas.

Bag this lose-lose proposition in favor of self-approval. In this season of list-making, make a list of all the great things about the woman you are.

 

#2. Let go of Shoulds. Years ago I stopped writing and sending holiday cards for the same reason I nixed the green bean casserole from my Thanksgiving table. It felt like a “should” and I’ve decided to stop should-ing all over myself. Instead, I reconnect in other ways; a note here, a phone call there, a lunch with a friend or client I haven’t seen in ages. In this manner, I connect with those I care for throughout the entire year in ways that alleviate pressure and strengthen me all at the same time. Bag your “shoulds” in exchange for what feels authentic to you.

 

#3. Let go of Perfectionism. You might be a perfectionist if…you tend to see flaws more clearly than bright spots; you spend ridiculous amounts of time on the smallest details; you find yourself defensive toward criticism. When you can’t live up to your own expectations, consider that the flaw is in your expectations, not in yourself.

Dr. Harriet Braiker said, “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.” At the root of perfectionism is the belief that to be loved, lovable or successful, you need to be perfect. And this is simply not true. Every thing you do is perfect in its imperfection. And so are you.

I set my sights on being an Imperfectionist. The only means to this end is to celebrate my imperfections and embrace the woman I am. Bag perfectionism and you’ll free up room in your life you never knew you had.

 

Get it all done…

Yes, you CAN get it all done.

Holiday chaos. Decorating. Shopping. Baking. Holiday cards. Cleaning. Entertaining. Wrapping. Cooking. How can you do it all? Simple. YOU don’t.

I used to attempt to bake the same six varieties of homemade Italian cookies my mother always makes for the holidays. I spent extra time at the grocery store spending extra money on ingredients of which I’d need only a few teaspoons. I used up every mixing bowl and measuring cup in my kitchen and spent a lot of time and energy cleaning up. It all changed when I discovered the ingenious idea of the cookie exchange. Now I make dozens of a single variety of cookies and exchange them with friends.

I know people who exchange parts of their shopping lists in much the same manner. What do you like to do that your friend or family member doesn’t? What do you hate to do that others love? Get creative and you may just be able to swap shopping for wrapping, cookies for cleaning, holiday decorating for menu planning.

 

Breathe through the holidays

Breathing through the holidays entails making things better for yourself.

For instance, the cookie exchange doubles as a wine tasting, girl-bonding extravaganza in which I come as I am, bearing not-so-perfect cutout cookies. I better the baking and decorating by making it a family activity. I better the variety of cookies available in my household by exchanging with beloved friends.

My kids and I also have Rapping Wrapping parties. We put on holiday rap music and wrap gifts not so perfectly. We reward ourselves with dance breaks every so many gifts and finish out the evening with hot cocoa.

Christmas eve at my house became better once I exchanged china for Chinet and 5 gourmet courses for a hearty one-pot meal. Those who help with the dishes appreciate the quick clean up time and we get to spend more time enjoying the festivities.

Many people make the rounds to multiple households on a holiday. Some resent having to make so many stops, others resent their guests who stay for only a short while. If you find yourself bordering on resentment, consider bettering your holiday by dedicating a second, separate day for holiday festivities. After all, what’s more important; the date on the calendar or the people you’re celebrating with?

The key to bettering is in the rewards.

Consciously build rewards into your holiday to-dos – such as spending time with people you love, doing things you love, or a quiet 15 minutes with a cup of tea at the end of the day – and before you know it, you’re to-dos will feel like ta-das.

Breathing through the holidays is also about releasing.

  • Releasing the breath you’ve been holding for so long
  • Releasing the impossible goal of being “Every Woman”
  • Releasing who you think you’re supposed to be.

 

Breathing necessitates abolishing the approval seeking tendencies and embracing imperfection.

 

Sometimes I still find myself trying to be it all and do it all, but then I remind myself that I’m not Every Woman; I’m me. When I connect with the reality of who I am and what’s right for me, I breathe easy, let go and enjoy every day like it’s Christmas morning.

 

Are you ready to let go of being “Every Woman?” Are you ready to discover, connect with and be true to the fabulous woman you are? Are you ready to create a life that fits and celebrates you? A great place to start is here.

 

Warm wishes for the happiest of holidays!

Linda