Today we have Guest Author Harriet talking about how putting yourself first can have incredible results on your mental health and your relationships.
A little while ago my husband sent me a TikTok video. You might have seen it. A woman asks her partner to empty the bin. Her male partner replies that he will do it in a few minutes. A matter of seconds later the same woman loudly, angrily and performatively empties said bin.
It’s funny because it’s relatable. I’ve done it. I’m sure you’ve done it. Angrily taken on the burden, even when there’s no need to. Asked for help and then been angry when it isn’t done exactly on your terms. But whilst the TikTok is funny, the narrative of the angry martyr really isn’t. The Mum with the weight of the world on her shoulders. The joyless woman – overworked, overstretched, overburdened. The woman we have seen portrayed a million times.
The reason it isn’t funny is because so many of us really are that woman. I have been that woman. Sometimes I still am. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We have been raised in a world where we are taught almost from birth to be that woman.
The thing is, just because that’s how womanhood has been portrayed to us, doesn’t mean it’s how it has to be. A few years ago, I acknowledged to myself that I was too often that woman. I decided it was time to make a change. I started small and gradually those small changes added up as I took a large step away playing the martyr.
As I did, I started to notice that I felt happier more of the time. I liked myself more, I was finding more joy more often. Family life felt lighter and more fun. I was less angry and frustrated.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we are still human. We still have our moments, difficult days, squabbles, and frustrated bin emptying. Sometimes I slip back into being that woman, but overall, in all the ways that matter, putting myself first has changed my own life, and my family life for the better.
Making a Change
It is due to that, I want to share some of the things that helped me so that you can choose you too, because ultimately, being that woman is a choice, and you get to choose whether you want to carry on being her…
- Honestly acknowledge where you are now.
The most important first stage of any change is being honest with yourself about where you are right now.
Are you playing the role of martyr? How is that making you feel? Are you ready to make a change? How is being this person impacting your life and relationships right now? How would putting yourself first feel instead?
- Understand that these changes aren’t just about you.
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean being endlessly selfish. You can still look after your family and be a loving caregiver. It isn’t about stopping caring about anyone else, it’s about also looking after you. It means avoiding burn out. It means showing your family the power of joy. It means having the energy to put other people first willingly and with love when you need to instead of doing it resentfully and angrily.
- Let things go.
So often clients I coach tell me that they have to do everything. When I ask them why, they tell me it’s because their partner doesn’t do it well enough. Or
doesn’t care about it being done at all. So I ask them, what happens if you just let your partner’s version of good enough be good enough? Or, if nobody else cares whether it’s done, what if you just don’t do it? What will actually happen if you just drop a bunch of stuff off the to do list? Of course there are some – many – things that do need to be done, but not all the things.
Let go of perfection. Delegate some jobs to family members and accept that they’ll be done differently. If you can afford to, pay for support with the
jobs you like the least. Just let some stuff go.
- Start with the small things.
When I was starting out on this journey, I’d become so used to doing everything for everyone else that I rarely took time for myself. I told myself that I didn’t have time. But the truth was I wasn’t choosing to make time. So I started out
small. Every day, before I headed off to pick up the kids I would stop work, make a cup of tea, and sit down for ten minutes. No big deal you might think. But it was. Because it was intentional. It was done without guilt. It was done for one simple but powerful reason, that I enjoyed it. And each time I chose to find joy in small ways, I taught myself that I mattered, that my joy was important. In time, it became second nature to prioritise my joy.
- Go big.
After a few years of doing the small stuff – looking for joy every day. Dropping
the tasks that didn’t matter. Asking my partner and children for help, and accepting it. Taking breaks just for me – I realised it was time to go big. I signed up for an overseas adventure. 10 days trekking in Jordan to raise money for a charity that was close to my heart. At that moment, I chose me. I chose space and time to be away in an environment when I didn’t need to think about anybody else’s needs. I chose to get out of my comfort zone, to prioritize my own growth and development.
And I am so glad I did. Because those few days supercharged everything that I had learned before. I came back totally committed to being joyful, free and loving as a mother, a wife and a friend. Not only that, I came back committed to supercharging other people on their journeys.
That’s why this year I’m launching my very first Mindset Adventure. Five days in the mountains of the Pyrenees with a small group of woman. Five days that are all about you. Putting yourself first. A chance to combine the life altering power of adventure with the transformational power of coaching.
I don’t want it to take you years to start putting yourself first. I want you to go big. I
want you to fast forward through the steps, wave goodbye to ‘that’ woman and jump on that plane with me on a Mindset Adventure of your own. Because putting yourself first is good for everybody, and if it can change my life, it can change yours too.
You can work with Harriet through one to one coaching, online or in person, through her signature adventure coaching and through WhatsApp coaching support.
Connect with Harriet on Instagram and Facebook.
Harriet Barcella helps women to find their purpose, super charge their confidence & self belief and light up their life. Through Harriet’s coaching sessions you will improve your mindset and your beliefs about yourself, discover your values and passions and take practical action steps to really change your life. You can work with Harriet through one to one coaching, online or in person, through her signature adventure coaching and through WhatsAPP coaching support.