No person is better wired to empathize and help soothe the pain of another human being than the women of the world. Your communication skills, ability to empathize and innate ability to pick up on non-verbal cues enables you to be healers of the highest order. Undoubtedly this is a major factor in why so many women disproportionately choose to work in more healing professions like nursing, social work, teaching and counseling.
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend has four keys to empower the women in your life through their essential journey through motherhood.
Inoculate the Plague of Perfectionism
Most human beings truly want to excel and be the best that they can be at the roles that matter most to them. This desire to achieve, master and perfect what we do is a powerful driver that has us striving to reach the “gold” standard that is inside of us. The problem however, is that “perfection in relationships” is simply the wrong goal for a variety of reasons, the most obvious of which is that it isn’t realistic. Another problem with perfectionism is that the concept of creating something that is “perfect” is usually found in a very specific, narrow, static, unchanging and undeviating situation. For example, in baseball, pitchers can be said to have a “perfect game” if he can retire all of the batters from one team with no one reaching base. A perfect game in bowling is where a bowler bowls a strike in ten consecutive frames. Notice that each of these examples is a very specific situation, on one day, in one game, for one small period of time. Perfection in one moment might be attainable, but it’s not the perfection most people are looking for. Most mothers would love to be perfect at handling their children in loving, productive ways. That is where it all gets more complicated because of the dynamic system where your goal of an effective interaction with a child can now be profoundly influenced by other conditions like, the ever changing moods of your teenage daughter, the last minute call to change carpools because of a sick neighbor, your throbbing migraine, the fact your husband just told you he may need to get a new job and the fact that your children haven’t had a vegetable for a week now. These conditions combine, in their various ways every day, creating trials and tribulation that are different every day.
So in dynamic realities that involve other humans, such as raising a family and growing strong marriages, perfection is not possible, but learning always is. The way to inoculate your life from the plague of perfectionism is to focus on the Law of Learning. Learning means that in every different condition, variable, and interaction we need to learn the principles that work and come to understand how to live healthier lives, not more perfect lives. Learning allows us to know that we are always going to be capable of improving in every single situation. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems in our life; it will just give us the confidence to know that we will be able to learn and grow from them. Learning ensures that we can improve from day to day; we don’t need to worry about having to know everything, just one thing. And when we learn today, we prevent many problems from tomorrow. After years of learning, we may begin to eliminate many problems from our life, until life throws us a curve ball we’ve never seen before. Then we need to learn again. The principle of learning is the principle of progress and you can use the principle of progress in all parts of your life. If for some odd reason you just can’t get that need to be perfect out of your head then go perfect your ability to learn.
Tune in to the Present
One problem that might keep many women from being able to help other women through motherhood is the simple fact that they are overwhelmed. With the “real life” pressures of running a family, managing a home, working and getting everything done in your life, you deserve to be stressed out. The problem with experiencing the universal daily grind is that it ends up sapping you of the vital energy and focus you need to truly maximize your healing abilities. With less energy and focus you end up being short with others who frustrate you, taking short cuts at the expense of people and relationships, and you’re less inclined to either hear or act on the healthy promptings of your heart. This lack of thriving eventually induces some guilt, frustration and hopelessness which in turn sap you of your energy and focus.
One of the best ways I’ve found to overcome the static and the noise of our daily life is to Tune in to the Present Moment. Instead of constantly thinking of the next thing you’re going to do in the day, just focus yourself to ride each moment until it’s over. Instead of just driving the carpool and quietly think about what you’ll do once you’ve dropped the children off, tune into the present moment. Talk to your children. Sing the songs that are on the radio and be present. There is never-ending energy for our life when we are tuned into the present moment. We get overwhelmed and feeling incapable of “doing it all” when we are focused on the future things that need to be done, not when we’re peacefully in the moment. All women that are hurting and need help in their journey as mothers need the help in the present moment. You can’t help people in the future or the past, just the present. And if you’re too busy preparing for your future moments, rather than being present in your current moment, you’ll always miss your chance to serve and lift others.
Be a Creator Not a Critic
I work with clients and have them rank their relationships from 1 to 10 and almost universally, the women I work with tend to rank their marriages two to three points lower than their male partners do. Some obvious reasons for that discrepancy might be that women have higher expectations than men do around relationships and also because they might be more effective at relating and they see that their partners aren’t meeting all of the needs. Another reason I feel women’s scores tend to be lower is simply because they’ve been socialized to be harsher critics at times. Women tend to grow up being much more highly scrutinized than men do. Your looks, weight, hair, family, teeth, cooking, tan, husband, children, and the list goes on and on. The social pressure for women to measure up is intense which may drive you to subconsciously look for the flaws in others. The irrational rationale is that if you can’t be better than others at everything, than look for the things that you can do better than them and that will lighten your day. The problem with this flawed thinking is that in the end, the criticism, whether stated or just thought, still ends sapping your energy as you focus on the flaws of others instead of improving your own flaws.
The best way I’ve found to help others maximize their potential is see myself as a creator of positive self image. We do this by using our communication and feedback to others to highlight the things that they do well. Point those things out, notice the good and state it to others. The power to be a creator of positive energy and light is inside of every one of us, and that energy is best created by focusing on the light, not the darkness in others. Use your light to break through the darkness of the women around you which will enable them to find the switches to turn on their own light as a mother, daughter, and friend.
Lead with your Heart
The most effective way to lift another person to a higher plane is to lead with your heart. Leading with your heart means that we approach others from a position of charity, love and compassion. When a person is leading from their heart they leave their preconceived solutions, fixes and answers at the door and instead, let their heart dictate the advice that needs to be given. Leading from the heart means we’re empathic, or that we are able to get “within” the “pathos” or pain of another person. You listen in a way that you end up actually feeling the same way the speaker is feeling. This intimate understanding helps the speaker to sense that our intentions are pure and sincere which opens them up more widely to hear our advice and be influenced by us. To lead with the heart shows we care and that we are 100% devoted to help those around us to heal and create a healthier life.
For more relationship advice from Matt, attend:
Date Night with Matt Townsend
“Bound to Last: The 5 Questions that Make Relationships Last ”
Friday, May 20
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
$35 per couple
Location: Noah’s in South Jordan