Excerpts taken from the first chapter in the book Lipstick and Soul
Women have a blind spot. Although cognitively in tune, most women, contrary to what they might believe, falter when it comes to being in touch with their authentic emotional needs. Through thirty years of being in private practice as a psychotherapist, I know most women have difficulty feeling emotionally empowered when it comes to claiming the right to care for and nurture themselves. In most cases, there is an emotional disconnect between the thought of giving themselves permission to take up space in their own minds and the act of making it happen by openly and honestly expressing their authentic needs.
So although you are well on your way to establishing a wonderful self-care practice by getting into a relationship with yourself, you want to make sure of the type and quality of the bond you are fortifying. In other words, you want to see which aspect of yourself you are getting into a relationship with, is it the inner woman or the uber-mother! The truth is most women are hidden in plain view from themselves under the role: the cloak of caretaker, fix-it-all mom to all. Because nurturing is innate to most women, they unconsciously over-identify with the role of caretaker, uber-mother. Often, they believe who they are and the role of a caretaker is one and the same, which is not true.
Unfortunately, the oversight, which is a default position, thwarts your ability to openly feel and communicate your authentic needs. The needs I’m talking about are the ones you have difficulty sharing, like asking for help or support when you really need it when you feel vulnerable asking. The needs I’m talking about are those you somehow don’t feel entitled to experience; the needs you avoid showing because you want to avert conflict.
Due to the oversight, you are prey to the number one paradox associated with the art and discipline of change, which is to be authentically emotionally open you have to see where you are not open, hence the blind spot. Unfortunately, this lack of perspective creates a double bind, a fault line in any template of change you might endeavor to create, including that of your self-care practice. Unless you shift perspectives, like you might attempt to change lenses in a pair of glasses to see better, any effort you make to care for yourself is limited.
The bottom line is you can only expand and develop as far as your cognitive thoughts, your head, can carry you, which is a far cry from what your heart offers you in terms of emotional support and intuitive guidance. For self-renewal to take hold you have to get out of your head and into your heart. You to have willingly learn to see the world from a gentler perspective, one in which you matter.
To care for the emotional needs of the authentic inner woman, you have to learn to differentiate between the voice of the inner woman and that of the controlling uber-mother, the consummate care-taker associated with what is called the false self.
Take back your heart!
To create the lasting change you desire, you first have to discover your blind spot, which is quite something especially when you are blind! To do this, you have to learn to see with the eyes of your heart. Second, to connect with your authentic emotional core, you have to access the compassionate energy of the feminine experience.
In other words, you can’t think your way into your heart you have to feel your way into your heart, which is what your self-care journey is all about!
For example to live like you matter you have to believe you matter! You actually want to experience in your gut a deep, authentic heartfelt knowing that you truly make a difference, which brings up an area of confusion for some. In other words, you do not want to mistake the difference between inauthentic entitlement and the grace that comes when you know you are meant to take up space; that you are meant to be here beyond the role of caretaker. Always know from a place of peace you are here as a woman with rights and a destiny only you can choose to fulfill.
How do you take care of yourself?
Voice It! Own It! … Challenges to women finding their voice.
Tune into yourself through your breath.
Be willing to admit that you have a blind spot. Of course, for this to happen you have to be willing to trust me, which I hope you do.
Next, create the intent to find your blind spot which is located at the juncture between the authentic inner woman and the role of uber-mother.
Begin to deconstruct the inauthentic caretaker by exploring the motivation behind any altruistic caretaking gesture you are about to engage in. For example are you kind to people because you secretly want them to think of you as a good person? Are you a busy bee, not because you truly love being inundated with projects, but more because you can’t sit still? To learn more, explore how unconscious motivations are linked to your character strategy, which you will find in the book Lipstick and Soul.
For now, realize that when you do a reality check and find that the motivation behind your gesture of altruism is “clean”, which means it doesn’t depend upon the other person fulfilling your unspoken expectations, unconscious or otherwise, then know you are on the right track. When you discover the opposite then know that your caretaking gesture is motivated by a false pretense that is never linked to the authentic inner woman.
Turn the tide. Avoid the false pretense of caring for someone else to get YOUR need met. It’s such a waste of energy! Instead, go straight to the source. Turn inward and give yourself the validation you desire and most likely need. Tell yourself that you are worthy and lovable just the way you are and not because of what you do and don’t do.
Congratulate yourself for taking responsibility for your needs.
There is no doubt that when you seriously commit to caring for yourself instead of looking at others to carry you, your world will be transformed for the better. What is also true is that with each piece of heart you reclaim, you will feel empowered to stay on the path of your own unfolding, your personal journey of becoming.
Joan Shaver, LMFT
Author: Lipstick and Soul
Be Bold * Be Beautiful * Be True to Yourself