Having It All?

The Meaning of Having It All Isn’t Once Size Fits All:  Determining What it Means for You

having it all, the three tomatoesLately I’ve heard a lot about playing big, playing small, and having it all. These are all the latest buzzwords, particularly for women, when we talk about our business and personal lives. I don’t know about you, but I think the way the idea of having it all the way is currently framed places a lot of pressure on women to fit a mold that isn’t clearly or realistically defined. Let’s think about that for a minute. First of all, what does having it all really mean? And who defines what “all” is? Most importantly, and I find this completely liberating, can’t each of our definitions be different? And who says we have to have it all, whatever that means, at the same time?

It’s interesting because you really can’t find a detailed list of what having it all specifically looks like but when asked, everyone’s answers are similar. I find that for most women, having it all is seen as being successful in your business, handling everything with ease in your personal and professional lives, having a home that looks a certain way, having a family that looks a certain way, having certain possessions, clothing, or experiences. Do you hear the language I am using? It is all general and really subjective when you think about it, but I bet at least one of your thoughts while reading this had to do with how you were falling down in one of those areas.

Research shows that women have as few as 13 and as many as 50 negative thoughts about themselves per day. Whether these thoughts are about our physical bodies, our mental strength, or our capabilities, they impact how we view ourselves, how we view the world, and ultimately our happiness. And that’s true even if those thoughts are fleeting.

So how do we figure out what our personal definitions of having it all look like and why is it so difficult to stop judging ourselves? As I like to say, it’s a marathon not a sprint, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Like most things, the first step to changing direction is awareness. Notice each time you have a negative thought about yourself or feel that twinge of feeling less than. One of the greatest disservices we do ourselves is to think that anyone has it all in the same way, at the same time, exactly as society as a whole pictures it should be. Don’t judge these thoughts or yourself for having them, just notice them and begin to see if there’s a pattern or a theme to them.

Now that we are aware that we are getting in our own way, how do we change direction and what can we do to tune in and figure out what we really want our lives to look like? The answer is simple but it isn’t easy. Sit still for a moment. Do that for a minute or two each day. And when you are feeling like you are dancing as fast as you can and that you don’t have time to sit still, that is when you need it most. Sitting still for a few minutes won’t slow you down, I promise. It will calm your system enough for you to think more clearly and come back refreshed. For me, sitting in my meditation practice, even if it is for a minute or two a day, has given me the space to play with the idea of setting my own rules and envisioning what I want my life to look like. I’ve begun to notice just how much I judge myself over the course of a day. So here’s what I’ve been doing.

Any time I have a judgmental feeling about myself I stop it in its tracks. I notice it, and say this doesn’t serve me. When I start to feel pressure, maybe it’s that little voice in my head asking whether or not I can accomplish something, or when an opportunity comes my way that makes me feel a little out of my comfort zone, I pause, I think about why about I’m afraid to say yes or no, and then I answer. I answer with a resounding yes if it is something that will excite me or help me accomplish my goals but I was about to answer no based on that little voice in my head or because it might take me out of my comfort zone. I answer no only if the idea truly doesn’t fit what I am working toward. I know, it’s easier said than done but give it a try.

Remember, we are all in the same boat, trying to figure things out, to make them work. The mistake we make is not sharing these ideas with one another and thinking that the definition of having it all, is one size fits all.

Thank you for reading, take care of you, and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any comments or questions on this or any other wellness-related topic.

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