In today’s Curiously You podcast episode with guest Lara Heacock, we talk about stopping the “yes-girl’ impulse, being kind to ourselves, and making time for self-care by setting boundaries.
Lara talks us through her story of always being someone to everyone, to the point she felt deep anger that she could not shake. She realised that she wasn’t making time or space for herself in order to practice self-care, and her harsh inner critic was mean!
We discuss how Lara found an access point for her self-care and self-kindness, and how you can do the same. In this way you will tune with your needs, improve your relationships and move you past your fears as you face difficulties from a place of strength.
Fear and resistance are part of the process. Rather than allowing this to stop us in our tracks, Lara talks us through practicing self awareness and compassion so we can continue to move ever forward with our desires.
You’ll love this episode if:
– You are becoming increasingly exhausted from “keeping it together”.
– You are fearful of setting space and time aside for yourself, and need some tools to help you have the hard conversations.
– Find it difficult doing battle with your inner critic, and would like to find a way to make friends with yourself!
Time-stamped Show Notes
[04:03] Lara discusses her journey to practicing self-care and setting boundaries. She gained a degree in psychology and fell into corporate America. She later found herself getting an MBA, and shifted to technical recruiting.
The last two years of her job, she felt unsettled and couldn’t get out of bed. Both home and work wasn’t going well, and she felt exhausted and depleted.
Through working with a life coach, she found that she was not physically or emotionally taking care of herself, which was leading to burn out. The coaching taught her the skills to overcome that unsettled angry feeling that arose when she was not practicing self care.
[08:06] Upon deeper reflection, Lara found this anger was triggered primarily because she was not setting time and space aside for herself by creating boundaries.
She was the “yes girl”: need someone to speak to at 2am? She’s there. Locked your keys inside your house? She’s be there with a spare set of keys. Not enough time at work? She’ll do all your work for you!
It was exhausting always having to keep it together, and she began getting annoyed and eating poorly. She realised that she didn’t have compassion for anyone, and felt she had a lack of capacity to forgive and understand others. This was the starting point for her to develop self-awareness, self care, and set boundaries.
[10:32] Lara wanted to be more compassionate and open herself up to kindness daily, which caused a cycle of resentment because she wasn’t doing it for herself.
She decided she needed an entry point to implement self-care and ultimately set boundaries in her life. So, she took every Saturday and made it about self-kindness; watching Netflix or getting together with the people she cared about. For others, this entry point could be getting a manicure or going for a ten minute walk.
The entry-point is a great way to get started, and learn to keep up those self-care practices.
[13:27] Setting boundaries to practice self-care at first can be quite an uncomfortable experience. Lara found fear crept in, and the way she dealt with that was to always be in action. However, she learnt that it’s important to figure out your access point and take care of yourself emotionally, this will be unique to each person.
The important thing is to find ways to keep a consistent on-going behaviour. Setting high and rigid expectations will probably lead to disappointment and quitting your self-care practices.
[18:08] Lara cultivated an inner dialogue where she congratulated herself and practiced self-compassion. This helped build self-awareness of the choices she made, and of her behaviour.
Change is an up and down journey. We have a natural tendency to self-talk toward lofty expectations of perfection, and when we can’t meet them, we stop.
Slip into compassion and figure out how to take baby steps. Talk internally in the same way you talk to a cherished person in your life, like a child or your best friend.
[24:07] The best way to have difficult conversations is to first have a close inner circle and support system.
Self kindness practice enables you to face difficulties. It also brings a level of self-awareness of how you want to feel so you can effectively set boundaries to take care of yourself.
Lara focused on how she wanted to feel, and this enabled her to move forward. She used examples where her and her husband had a Tuesday night as work night. When this stopped, her story about the situation took over, instead of having a conversation about it.
This triggered her to go into a negative victim-mode spiral. Finally, she found the courage to have a conversation with her husband. Together they resolved a problem in five minutes that had been plaguing them with fear for weeks.
[28:40] The stories we wrap around situations generally our “go to” stories, and their resulting emotions. We fall into fear and find it had to have conversations about setting boundaries, it takes a while for self-care practices to come naturally. However, eventually it gets to a point where we can’t avoid it anymore.
When Lara is in this process, she tries to be conscious about what she is coming up against, and what she chooses. The “fear story” is generally the reason why you’re not having a conversation; it takes a while feel confident enough to have this conversation effortlessly.
[35:22] Some tips around having difficult work conversations is to “know your why and back it up with data.”
What’s my why? Why do I need to have this conversation? If it’s in a business setting, you can craft the argument around the intention you have.
Lara provides an example of a client who was able to do the hard things even though they’re hard. Over time and with practice, what we perceive to be hard goes from being a wall to a road bump; scary and hard doesn’t mean a stop sign.
[40:57] Lara is now a teacher in the coaching program she went through. She realises that fear around setting boundaries and self-care is just a part of the process; it does not have to be a stopping point.
She now recognises that she must feed herself with self kindness she feels fear arising.
Connect with Lara at the following:
Self Compassion by Kristin Neff
Rising Strong by Brene Brown
What is the self-care access point that feels comfortable and achievable for you?
Thanks so much for listening in Curious Friends! Until the next episode, take care of yourself.