Community Self Care

"Together we can create miracles."

A week ago last Friday I spent the day with a group of brave and honest women. As part of an interview for Good Morning America that will air this Tuesday morning (2/17), we participated in a dialogue and group coaching session that turned out to be enlightening for us all.

We talked about the frantic pace of our busy lives, the challenge of taking care of others while desperately needing to take care of ourselves, or the futile attempt to keep everyone happy when we're not even skilled at doing it for ourselves. There were themes that emerged: a fear of hurting other's feelings or making them angry when we make choices that honor our needs; a desire to avoid conflict at all costs; or the discomfort of being seen as someone who can't handle it all (yup, this little life-threatening belief is still alive and well in the psyche of women).

Contrary to what you might think, a television shoot isn't glamorous. It's a long process that requires patience and grace while you sit through hours of planning and filming. These women were terrific and, at the end of a long day, we all felt that we'd experienced something special - a rich exchange that was worth the wait. I left the shoot feeling touched by our gathering and thinking:

--We need to engage in honest conversations about what's really going on in our lives. Instead of the superficial, "I'm fine, work's a bitch, or the kids are making me crazy," we need deeper, more vulnerable exchanges about how we feel or what we're concerned about - discussions that promote growth, healing, and the shared knowing that we are not alone.

--We need to take a stand for each other. Within the group of women who gathered were members of a Life Makeover Group who have been meeting for more than five years. After the shoot, as I listened to this group of women talk, I could feel their love, respect, and commitment to one another. I had no doubt that they would support each other in completing the homework that had been given at the end of the shoot. I thought, "This is what we all need - loving and supportive people who will hold us accountable to make the changes that will heal our lives." After all, you'll have a much easier time making an unpopular decision that will disappoint someone or cause disapproval, when you know you have someone waiting in the wings to calm your anxiety afterwards. Which brings me to my third and final point:

--Experience equals transformation. The only way to move beyond the discomfort of making your needs a priority, is to do something different and then learn to live with the consequences. You can't overcome your guilty feelings, fear of appearing selfish, or anxiety about making someone angry, for instance, without actually doing it first. Reading or talking about what you'd like to do is important, but it's the experience of making a choice that honors your self-care and then learning to deal effectively with the fallout that will transform your life.

We all need Extreme Self Care now more than ever. These challenging times are creating an enormous amount of pressure for men, women and families. While it's important to be there for one another, we also need permission to make our care a top priority - now. So, how about letting this week's newsletter be your virtual permission slip :).

Take Action Challenge

What's one step you know you need to take that will relieve pressure, make you feel good, or give you the time and space you need to be your best? Got it? Good. Now use your virtual permission slip to do it this week!

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Author Information

Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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