Often I speak of the dangers of the Superwoman Syndrome, most importantly because as women, we are bombarded with ideas that we should be able to “do it all” (balance work, family, personal interests in harmony) on a regular basis with a smile on our face. This myth pushes forth the message that we should be able to be Superwoman and if we feel that we cannot, there must be something wrong with us. Don’t believe me? Pick up any five women’s magazines at the check out line and try to find ONE that does not have articles or advertisements about how we should loose weight, look younger, move our career forward, be more organized and do more fun things for our children.
Why is this dangerous?
…Because we start to believe it, even if we don’t want to. Here is why:
Norman Vincent Peale once said, “What the mind is bombarded with the mind will accept.” If we take in, what experts say between 3,000-5,000 persuasive messages a day,* one could argue a large percentage of those messages are telling us women, that we should be doing more, looking better, being a better wife/ mother and feeling more fulfilled than we probably do. These messages are dangerous because they come to us stealthily. We don’t always see the message, though our mind is bombarded with such ideas all day long.
What TV shows do you watch? What books do you read? With whom do you hang out? What music do you listen to? What advertisements do you see or hear? With what do you CHOOSE to bombard your mind?
Am I saying to try to stop all messages? Nope, that is impossible. I am asking you to mindfully identify what messages are coming at you. For example, there are times when I just need a good work out song… and while there is nine kinds of wrong with the messaging behind the Britney Spears’ song, “Work B*tch,” it is an awesome little ditty for my work out. I KNOW the purpose it serves in my life because I have thought about it mindfully. What is the first thing I read in the morning? Since my spiritual life is important to me, I read prayers and scripture. I choose both Britney and the Bible…purposefully, for very different reasons of which I am VERY clear about. The important part is that I have identified what my mind is being bombarded with each time. I am intentional and aware of the messages coming at me.
Do you ever think about what messages you are taking in? I challenge you to really pay attention to any message you take in today, specifically ones that push the Superwoman Syndrome. Identify what it is saying (i.e. you should look thinner, younger, better; you should be more fun as a Mom/friend; you should have a more organized house; you should be more successful; have a better sex life, have more money; be able to strike a perfect balance and if you can’t…you loose, because you are inadequate- type of messages.) Once you identify them, you begin to mindfully figure out what your mind is being bombarded with and therefore what messages you CHOOSE to accept. We all have a choice in what we put into our heads. Make today the day you start to take control over what expectations are put on your shoulders by today’s society.
Together we can stop the madness of the Superwoman Syndrome.
Identified a Superwoman Syndrome message? Share with me what messages you have identified and where you found them, here or on social media (feel free to use pics and #SuperwomanSyndrome ). I will publish them in subsequent posts about the Superwoman Syndrome in the weeks to come.