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How to Stop Abandoning Yourself

Oct 26, 2021

Several years ago, while taking a yoga class focused on our feet and legs, I burst into tears and continued to cry off and on throughout the practice.  Something about being attentive to my feet and connecting so thoughtfully to the ground, broke me open.  The tears felt like an unthawing of frozen emotion.  I could feel my body in a way I never had before. 

I could actually feel my body. 

Until that moment, I had lived my life without actually being present in my body or really in my life.  I had become accustomed to abandoning myself in order to keep the peace or please. 

I married young and to the wrong person, I did work I hated, I lived in a home that didn't feel like me, I ate food I didn't like, I stayed up late when I wanted to sleep, I drank alcohol when what I really wanted was water, I hid my dreams from others and myself.  In essence, I abandoned myself.  For years, I have felt shame around this as if I was the only woman to do this.  Now, I know that's not the case.  

As women, as girls, we are trained to abandon ourselves.  We are trained to bury hard emotions and to attune to the needs of others.

I am in the midst of unlearning all of this and remembering my soul...remembering who I am.  To do that, I practice radical self-care which means I practice staying with myself, instead of abandoning myself.  I practice being present, feeling my body and understanding my needs.  This is an effort for me, every.single.day.  

If abandoning yourself is something you have experience with as well, then here is a simple exercise to help you disrupt the pattern and practice radical self-care instead:

Simply, reflect on the following questions:

    • What needs of mine are being met?
    • What needs of mine are not being met?

You may not know your needs right away and that's okay (I sure didn't at first).  Just keep asking yourself these questions.  Most importantly, remember that no solution is needed right now.  Just sit with these questions and see what comes up. 

And if you're looking for examples of what radical self-care looks like, here you go:

  • drink a glass of water
  • read a chapter in a book
  • have a hard discussion
  • set a boundary
  • RSVP no
  • take a walk
  • listen to a podcast
  • exercise
  • eat a healthy snack
  • disappoint others so you don't disappoint yourself 

To train yourself to practice radical self-care versus self-abandonment, just take baby steps.  Start by doing something everyday that feels like radical self-care...something that helps you stay with yourself, that helps you remember who you are and what you need.  It can be anything and it can be for just a few minutes a day.

We are in this together.

Lots of love,

Amanda

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