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Dear Women, Stop Sacrificing Your Dreams & Put Yourselves Centre-Stage!

Steeped in deep conditioning many women sacrifice their dreams & self-care. This leads to physical & mental exhaustion, regret of dashed dreams & loss of her unique identity.

As care-givers, many women slip into acts that sustain and provide for her family, friends, and colleagues at work. When her husband burns the midnight oil preparing for a critical presentation, the cup of hot chocolate arrives without asking.

She drops her work to patiently listen to the unending woes of a colleague struggling with a micromanaging boss. Locating the missing sock in a pile of clothes, fixing a loose button on the shirt, ensuring the maids maintain an orderly kitchen, be the first to compromise when there are conflicting demands- she is the glue that keeps the family together.

At work, she is quick to detect a change in tone of voice as an indication of hurt or joy. She’s adept at building consensus among her team when perspectives differ widely.

For many women, sacrifice at the cost of self-care becomes the driving force

Even though these acts of service consume her time, energy, and mind space they are not something that can be showcased or measured in any way. A young mother complained, “My day is busy, and I get tired by the end of it.  But then I wonder if I’ve really achieved anything?” These are invaluable acts that stitch together the fabric of harmony, stability, and order in a unit.

Steeped in deep conditioning that others are more important than her, sacrifice at the cost of self-care becomes her driving force. While there is no denying that many women revel in being the psychological anchor for family and teams; there are costs to it as well. In the fulfilment of her worldly duties, nourishment for her inner-self runs dry.

Over a period, there is physical and mental exhaustion, the regret of dashed dreams and the loss of her unique identity.

To further exacerbate her predicament, is the fact that she rarely gets acknowledged or appreciated by others. In a world where the patriarchal mindset is still pervasive, these qualities are a tacit expectation of a woman. Not one to blow her trumpet, she expectantly awaits a gesture of gratitude and encouragement. Even the slightest note rewards her amply as she finds renewed energy to keep going. However, for many women, these gestures are few and far between.

Women need to keep themselves centre-stage

A woman’s power lies in finding the balance between holding her core and caring for others around her. A few self-protection and self-preservation steps that she needs to adopt to sustain her vitality:

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  1. Listen to yourself intently: Recognizing and prioritizing her own physical and emotional needs are vital. Actions should be based on what she wishes to do and not on what she should do. I find many women are trapped in the latter and the thought of an extrication seems unthinkable. Guilt and shame overwhelm them. However, what she needs to constantly remind herself of, is that the more she cares for herself, the more of herself she brings to others.
  2. Step up, speak up: Sharing dissent respectfully is important; irrespective of what the outcome might be. When voices are not heard others will take her for granted, even if its family or the most well-meaning colleague. Culturally women who speak their mind are scorned at which is why most women hold back. A suppressed voice manifests itself in the damaging form of a sulk, brood, or sarcasm.
  3. Weed out toxicity: Many women compromise heavily and justify it as serving a larger interest. This should be more the exception than the norm. She needs to consciously keep re-fuelling her reservoir with soulful activities. There is no bravado in mindless sacrifice of one’s instinct for soul expression and satiation. Situations, relationships, and activities that deplete her essence need careful examination. What’s worth holding onto and what’s needs to be discarded? Daunting as it may sound walking away from what’s toxic for her, would be a commendable choice that she makes to honour her true self.

For far too long, women have stayed in the background as compassionate care-givers but silent sufferers.

It’s time to step out, take centre-stage, to nourish her soul and celebrate her uniqueness!

Image source: Still from Ki and Ka

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About the Author

Aparna Mathur

Aparna is a leadership coach and facilitator with over 25 years of cross-functional work experience. She brings with her diverse experience of sales, consulting and facilitation of personal transformation. She has worked with organizations read more...

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