I came across an article recently which was, in essence, a detailed list of things that every woman should have by the age of 40. I felt a little shamefaced reading it as there were many many things on the list that I, at age 42, don’t have (eight matching wine glasses? Ummm…)
So I decided to come up with my own more realistic list. A list that may not contain the chic and trendy things, but which DOES include some pretty important stuff. The stuff that will help empower you – whatever stage you’re at in this tricky thing we call life. Single, married, divorced, widowed or otherwise – this list is for you.
HERE IT IS:
A list of five things I believe EVERY self-sufficient woman needs:
1. Acceptance of where you are in life
This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if where you’re currently at bears little or no resemblance to the life you’d mapped out for yourself all those years ago. Maybe you’ve found yourself stuck in a job you can’t stand, your partner has left you, or you feel that time is running out to do the thing (or things) that you REALLY want to be doing.
It is never too late to make changes for the better. There are many many women (myself included) who have rebuilt their lives - and themselves - after unexpectedly having their lives turned upside down due to happenings beyond their control.
Yet this rebuilding could not have happened without having first acknowledged and accepted our current situation – whatever that situation. The more we resist and complain and remain in ‘victim’ mode, the less chance we have of moving forward and creating something better. Strange as it sounds, it can be tempting to remain in ‘victim’ mode. It is a lot harder – and braver - to accept our current circumstances and decide to either stay where we’re at, or make changes and move forward.
Gaining acceptance of your life situation – regardless of what has or hasn’t happened to you - is one of the BEST things you can do for yourself. Life may not have turned out exactly as you had planned, but if you can allow yourself to LET GO OF THE IDEA OF HOW IT ‘SHOULD BE’ you may just create a life more beautiful and more profound than the one you’d originally planned and hoped for. Amen!
2. Your own source of income and your own bank account
Super important. It is never a good idea to rely on your partner, parents or whomever else for income, even if he (or they) are earning mega bucks and can afford to support you.
I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of women who, after having suddenly lost a husband to death or divorce, were left utterly clueless when it came to handling money and paying the household bills. Don’t be her! DON’T!
I know not everybody will agree with me on this point, and that is OK. But even with very small children I believe it is possible and even necessary to have some form of employment and income. Even one or two days a week is something, just to keep your foot in the door and maintain a sense of both independence and contribution when it comes to finances.
3. A support network
Too many of us rely solely on our partner (if we have one) for support and love/validation. This is not healthy for him OR us. Those of us without partners may not want to be a burden to our loved ones so we isolate ourselves during times of stress, or we pretend that everything is peachy and lovely when it is NOT – this was me to a certain extent.
At the end of the day, you know who has your back - girlfriends, sisters, cousins, work colleagues, whoever. Try to find at least one person you can call at ANY time of the day or night – if you can find someone you can unreservedly lean on in this way, you are a lucky woman! The most obvious choice is here is your sister or best girlfriend – someone who knows and loves you, warts and all. Someone you can trust.
If you don’t know who has your back or who you can trust, you can find out by learning to speak your truth around people – whatever your truth is. Those who gravitate to you are meant for you – they are your tribe! And those who seem to be drifting away? Leave them be. They probably aren’t for you. And that is OK.
4. A space that is just for YOU
VITAL for your mental health. It doesn’t have to be a big space. Maybe you live in a one-bedroom apartment with your child – if this is the case, great! Put a chair on the balcony with a lovely throw rug and a footstool and tell your child to stay well away. Voila!
Or, if space allows allocate a whole room to yourself – just for you and your stuff – whatever your stuff may be. Or a spot in the garden or a bathtub surrounded with your favourite potions and oils.
At the moment, my favourite space to be is in my living room, lazing on my beautiful armchair (which I incidentally found on the side of the road but don’t freak - it has had a thorough clean!). Nobody but me sits on this chair – my family seem to understand that it is mine, and mine alone.
5. A plan for your health
I know that I’ve been guilty of neglecting my own health and wellbeing in order to have time to tend to everybody else’s health and wellbeing – what woman hasn’t?! But as I get older I am realising that I actually can’t afford to do this.
When I think of my health, I don’t just think of my physical health. I try to incorporate a holistic view – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - because I can often pinpoint why I’m feeling (or suffering in) a particular way. For example, I get stomach aches when I’m anxious about someone or something, and I get a horrible niggling pain in my neck – which usually extends to a headache – whenever I’ve been overworking and stressing.
The point is – you know your body and what it does better than anybody else. Therefore, make a point of getting to know your triggers AND what you need to do to get things back into balance. Don’t neglect medical check-ups, and don’t neglect yourself in between appointments.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up – to a doctor or other professional – if you feel that something is amiss. Again, you know you better than anyone. Take charge of your health – ALL aspects of your health. Don’t be afraid of or doubt your own intuition!
That's it! Five things I believe EVERY woman needs. Is there anything else you want to add? There must be! Tell me in the comments ♥
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