As women, we tend to define our value by what we can do, be, and give to other people.
Stay with me, and think about it for a sec. When I first heard one of my mentors say this, it too me aback, too.
By nature, women are nurturing and caring. We give support to husbands, life to children, aid to friends & family.
Maybe you feel like you are “good” because you are a “good” mother, “good” daughter, or “good” wife. Or that being a “good” employee, boss, coworker makes your “good”.
I’ll put it a different way…
“If my kids are happy, I’m a good mom and therefore good.” “If my husband is happy, I’m a good wife and therefore good.” “If my parents are happy, I’m a good daughter and therefore good.”
We tend to define our value, our worth, — our “goodness” — based on our relationships with others.
On the flip side, we tend to feel that leaving the kids with Dad & going to yoga class is selfish and makes us a “bad” mom/wife. Even though that hour a week makes us feel relaxed and mentally clear so we can be a BETTER mom.
Going to the gym before or after work instead of coming in early or staying late with everyone else makes you a “bad” employee. When exercise makes you stronger and gives you more energy to do your job BETTER.
Taking that cooking class with your husband instead of spending the money on more toys & clothes that your kids don’t *actually* need makes you a “bad” parent. Even though strengthening your marriage with date night that brings you joy allows you to show up BETTER for your kids. Something they *do* need.
Starting a business & investing time/money into a passion project makes you a “bad” spouse/employee. Even though pursuing your passions makes you a fuller person living more joyfully and peacefully, which spills over into making your marriage BETTER. And you don’t owe jack to your day job.
I could go on.
What if we flipped the story in our heads, for good?
What if it reads like this…
I deserve to take care of myself physically and mentally. Going to yoga class is self care and brings me joy. Making this time allows me to show up for my family with more vibrancy. My kids get to spend quality 1-on-1 time with their dad while he babysits.
I deserve to go to the gym, to move my body, to exercise. My health comes before my job. I am being responsible by taking care of myself first. The work can get done later.
I deserve to have quality time with my husband away from my kids. I love my kids and can show up for them better if my marriage is strong and joyful. Taking this class is what I want to do, and that doesn’t make it selfish.
I deserve to do work that lights me on fire. My passions and desires in life are valid, and following them allows me to show up better in the world for everyone.
What if instead of making sure everyone else is happy in order for you to feel good about yourself, you do the things that make you feel good such that you can show up better for those around you?
It is not your job to make everyone around you happy.
You can’t control the emotions of your husband, children, or friends! There’s NOTHING you can do to force them to be happy. That’s their choice.
Stop basing your value and worth on whether the people around you are happy. You deserve to be happy, and that is a decision that only you can make for yourself. You also deserve to feel worthy and valuable, even if the people around you aren’t happy.
In fact, sometimes doing the right thing isn’t what makes other people happy. No child likes time out, but you put them in time out anyway to teach them a lesson. You kid might scream and cry and throw a fit — they aren’t happy! But because you ARE a good mom, you know that what’s best for them is to learn discipline/manners/kindness. Being happy isn’t part of that equation.
You do not owe anyone an explanation or reason for valuing yourself outside of anyone else — or taking actions that reflect that belief.
Your value is intrinsic because your Creator made you valuable. He placed fire in your heart and dreams in your mind so that you will live your must abundant and beautiful life.
Living out your potential and listening to what that still, small inner voice says is what makes you the “best” mother/daughter/wife/friend/coworker.
Giving yourself space and grace to do what lights you up will allow you to light others up. You can’t give to others from an empty cup.
How others view your relationships is not what makes you “good” or “bad”. The expectations of others are not what define your value.
You are a whole person. Unique and born to build an amazing life on your own terms.
Take the dang cooking class.