By Nancy Magsig
From the outside, it may seem that you have it all – family, home, decent job and good health. So why does it feel you’re just going through the motions, without the joy and excitement you really want? Instead you feel tired and stressed and can’t remember the last time you laughed out loud.
From the time we’re children, everyone we interact with, along with what we read and see, leaves impressions behind. Without realizing it, we internalize the messages, playing them like tapes, over and over in our heads. Those messages may drive our beliefs and actions, even if we’re not aware of it.
It’s worth taking some time to consider what tapes you’re playing. If you are a woman born in the 1950’s, chances are your tape says things like: “Nice girls don’t draw attention to themselves.” “Nice girls are quiet.” “Good women put everyone else first and themselves last.” “A good woman is a good housekeeper.” “A good mother serves a hot, homemade meal every night.”
Well it may have worked for June Cleaver in the 1950’s, but those rules sure don’t work in this century. Most women work outside the home and there are more single-parent families than ever before. Your mom, who is a loving woman who has never worked outside the home, may criticize your messy housekeeping, but she’s never had the challenge of caring for the house while working and commuting 12 hours a day.
Unfortunately, the fact that the world has changed doesn’t change those tapes playing in our heads. And hearing a little voice saying “a good mother serves a hot homemade meal every night” while we’re racing through the Golden Arches drive-thru makes us feel guilty. We also feel guilty that we have the number for the neighborhood pizza place on speed dial. We also feel guilty that we’re on a first name basis with the Chinese restaurant delivery guy.
Get rid of the guilt and increase your happiness by consciously changing the rule. Perhaps the rule that works in your house is that you’ll all sit down for a hot meal together one meal a week. Or, if you have teenagers, perhaps once a month is more realistic.
You have tapes that play all day, listing the rules and expectations that others have taught you for every situation. To have a happier and less stressful life, you need to review and edit your tapes. Save the rules that work for you and edit or delete the rest. It’s your choice. Choose happiness.
Nancy Magsig is Co-Founder and COO of Here’s To Good Women, Inc. The website, http://www.HeresToGoodWomen.com is dedicated to providing inspiration, ideas and gifts to help women celebrate every day.