These days women face different challenges and struggles that are unique to the fast-paced and over-stimulated society in which we live. The demands and pressure (both internal and external) placed on women to be the perfect mother, career woman, attractive/ desirable female, girlfriend/wife, and friend, (often with the expectation that they excel at each simultaneously), creates an unrealistic and unattainable goal. Further, when not living up to this implausible standard; women often feel they’ve failed, which in turn leads to feelings of guilt, shame and depression. As a result of our belief that we “should” be able to handle all stressors and challenges that come our way, we’ve become more critical and judgmental of ourselves when we do fall short. We can also become dismissive of our emotional pain during various life events/situations (i.e., infertility/postpartum concerns, parenting struggles, relationship issues, etc.) because of our belief that we should be able to cope with them.
It is important to recognize that our expectations can be harmful when comparing ourselves to an unattainable ideal and standard. It is often said that we are our own worst critics and this can be especially true for women who have bought into the belief that we must be superwomen in all aspects of our lives, at all times. As women we must strive to be as gentle and forgiving of ourselves as we would with a friend or loved one. Further, we must learn to “unlearn’ the negative messages we have grown to believe and internalize over the years. Contrary to what some may think, it is actually a strength to recognize (and accept) when we need the help of others, whether that is family, friends or a professional. We are all deserving of compassion and understanding at different points in our lives. However, the key is that we acknowledge that this begins with ourselves.
As your therapist, I will help you navigate the unique and complex waters that we as women face each day. I understand the struggles, and also believe that together, we can work towards a place of balance and peace within ourselves.