Words by psychotherapist Jane Faulkner
In my work with women certain themes stand out – it doesn’t matter who they are or what they do most women undervalue themselves, they take on too much responsibility and they give to everyone else but themselves.
Sound familiar! I can relate to all of these themes and I am always working on finding the balance and honouring myself in the process.
As women, we don’t honour how hard we work and just how much goes into an average day! We work hard at work and at home, we emotionally support many people and we are constantly tuned into what everyone around us needs. This often means that what we need does not get any airtime; it gets lost in the background somewhere.
It’s really interesting when women come to see me for equine therapy (a wonderful form of psychotherapy using horses); nearly all of the women lose themselves in the horse. This means they lose touch with their bodies and their own needs and just try to work out what they need to do so that the horse will like them and feel comfortable with them.
This is often also the case in life, we lose ourselves in our to-do lists, in making our kids happy, our partners happy, our parents happy, our colleagues, our friends etc. and we forget about ourselves. Unfortunately, this is not a sustainable way to live, we get sick, we become resentful and uninspired and we become invisible in our relationships.
So, some strategies to put yourself back on the page of your life:
- Get curious about what your needs might be. Needs are things like – I need to eat well, I need 8 hours sleep, I need to move every day, I need time to myself every day in silence, I need to be reminded how valuable I am, I need hugs too etc.
- Practice telling people what you need. This can feel scary, overwhelming and challenging especially if you feel like you have voiced your needs before and they haven’t been heard.
- Delegate. This empowers others to do more so that you can do less. Allow others to do things differently to you, acknowledge that it may take them time and practice to do it as well as you do, teach them how to do the job properly and hand over control- yikes!!
- Get curious about what nourishes you. Try new things, take risks and explore who you are.
- Start to check in with yourself first. Learn to live from the inside out- feel your body, how does it feel, what do you need?
- Remember to connect with yourself regularly. Gauge where you are at emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually- if you aren’t happy, examine why and make changes.
- Honour your cycle, rest when you need to rest, create when you feel the need to create etc;
- Allow other people to support you and be open to receiving from others.
- Remember that authentic power lies in understanding who you are and supporting yourself in expressing that.
In honouring and looking after ourselves we send powerful messages to our children, our partners and our community. Remember that you teach others how to treat you and if you never look after yourself, no one else will either. They will not know how to unless you can tell them.
Honouring yourself and getting in touch with who you are and what you need is living life to the full and living it on your terms. When this happens you will be fired up and juicy about life and your tank is full because you are getting your needs met. Then you have more to give others, you are more present and it comes from a place of authenticity and congruence; people will know where they stand with you and they won’t have to guess what you need or who you are anymore.
Jane Faulkner started her career as a Registered Nurse and has worked in hospitals in Australia and overseas. During her career as a nurse, she supported people through the difficult transitions of illness, grief, death, trauma, mental health issues and childbirth.
Jane has a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy, a Bachelor of Nursing, a Certificate in Initiatic Art Therapy and is certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapist. Yoga is an integral part of her life, she is a Certified Iyengar Teacher and continues to study and teach in the Iyengar yoga tradition. She is an accomplished teacher, therapist, and facilitator and has led many women’s groups and Day Retreats, presented seminars and workshops, and worked with many different community groups and individuals.
Jane is the founder of Equine Assisted Therapy Australia, an organisation that provides training, retreats, programs and individual sessions that aim to provide individuals with a new and authentic ways to grow and learn more about themselves. Connect with Jane HERE.