When I first felt the angry, desperate and sad yearnings inside me for more nourishment, I was in a dark place. At home with a new baby. Spending my days preparing food, cleaning up food, cleaning up the house, washing dishes, preparing more food, cleaning up more food, changing diapers, doing laundry, putting the babe down for a nap, cleaning up the kitchen, preparing food…
For me, it was a very hard period because I had no space, no room, no time, no place for me. I felt completely and utterly exhausted, depleted, unhappy and joyless.
That was 5 years ago and I’ve learned a lot about what it means for me to be well-nourished. To prioritize myself. To take care of my needs (and to actually know what they are).
Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman is a process. It requires work, diligence and the constant choosing of it.
But it is the only way for me to live now. Being under-nourished feels like a breeding ground for all of my nasty voices. It makes me feel insecure, bitter, resentful, angry, unloved, unappreciated and I start riding the victim card hard. Which keeps me trapped. It isn’t fun. It isn’t inspiring. It pushes me down instead of lifting me up.
Here’s what I can share with you about my journey in Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman.
Here’s what I really struggled with when I decided to start putting myself first.
All kinds of guilt. Mother guilt. If I didn’t put my children above myself, did that mean I was a neglectful and bad mother? Wife guilt. Wasn’t marriage about sacrifice and making compromises? That old single life is over, girl! Get with the program! Greedy Guilt. Was I being too greedy in wanting to be happy? Delighted? Nourished? Really well-taken care of? Did I deserve all that I wanted?
Giving up the victim role
If I wanted to be well-nourished, I had to make decisions based on what made my life easier, happier, less-stressful and more joyful. Which meant that I needed to take responsibility for my life. Which meant I couldn’t be a victim any longer. I couldn’t spend all of my energy complaining, griping, feeling resentful and bitter and lashing out at those closest to me because I felt so angry at being deprived. I couldn’t complain anymore because it wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility but my own.
My sense of my own worth
I had to teach myself that I was worthy of feeling good. That I was worthy of wanting to feel relaxed. Cared for. Nurtured. Adored. Loved. Nourished. For me, every time I did something loving and nourishing for myself, I sent a feedback message that I was worthy. And every time I felt worthy, I felt free and empowered to do something loving and nourishing for myself. It was and is a wonderfully sacred circle of cause and effect.
These are the top 2 things I did (and still do) that are the bedrock of my being a Well-Nourished Woman.
I started small
For me, making myself a fresh cup of coffee was the beginning of prioritizing my nourishment. Instead of drinking a cold cup. Instead of going without. Instead of having tea – which I didn’t want. Instead of reheating some cold coffee. It was a small thing to do but it created a ripple effect that allowed me to move towards big nourishment items – like leaving my family and going on a 6 day-retreat. I didn’t start there. I started with a fresh cup of coffee for myself. And then cooking dinners that I wanted to eat. And telling my kids I was unavailable when I sat down to eat. And from those small acts of self-love, I allowed myself larger nourishments. Without the small acts, I would never have gotten to the big ones. In other words, if I didn’t think I was worthy of a fresh cup of coffee, how could I ever feel worthy of leaving my family to go on a retreat?
I added just one thing to whatever I was doing to make it more pleasurable for me.
Kids want to go to the park? I’m loading up my phone with some good music I can listen to. Have to wash the bloody dishes again? I’m finding a really cool podcast to listen to. Need to finish some work and just way too tired? I’m lighting a candle and making my self a cup of tea. Have to work on my financials? I’m getting into my cozy clothes (maybe my confidence toque) and setting a time-limit so I am focused and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know that for all of us, life is filled with many tasks that we don’t necessarily love to do. So, the question becomes, “What can I add to this job/task/situation/party that will make it more pleasurable for me?”. Boom.
Why it’s time for YOU to become a Well-Nourished Woman.
1. When you begin to make yourself a priority, you give every woman around you permission to do the same.
2. It is a deeply self-loving act and it’s time for you to start loving yourself desperately and madly.
3. No-one else will do it for you. No-one else will give you permission. This is no-one else’s responsibility except your own.
4. It feels so much better than deprivation.
5. All the girls in your life become lucky enough to see a different story for a woman; instead of seeing self-sacrifice and low self-worth, they see it is possible (and glorious) for a woman to love herself and to believe herself worthy of feeling good.
6. Because you are not the only one who can take care of your children. Cook the food. Do the job. Take the phone call. Be the go-to person. Take care of all the details. YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT. Things will continue to revolve without you.
Finally, you might need to start treating yourself like you are worthy before you believe you are. So what? It will come. Start small. Add just one thing. And be patient. See what happens.
If there is a woman in your life who you think would benefit from reading this, please forward this email to her. When we all start to really honour and love ourselves, amazing things can happen. Let’s start now. And take all of our tribe up with us.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on learning how to put yourself first and what your journey has been like for you.