February 2013

The superwoman is a fantasy

Finding balance in life is a challenge for us all, but particularly for women, writes Leeza Baric.

BY Leeza Baric

Sometimes we get so caught up in the ‘busyness’ of life that we forget who we are, how to have fun and what our true purpose is. A happy life is about achieving balance in all areas: physical health, mental health, spiritual life, relationships and having a sense of purpose. Finding that balance in life is a challenge for us all, but particularly for women.

Today’s woman feels the pressure to do everything: to be a good mother, earn an income, support their partners, care for their elderly parents, be involved in their children’s school, the community or church and of course, to look great. The superwoman is a fantasy. We need to slow down and take some time out for ourselves, to relax, think about who we are and what we want. Sometimes in our fast-paced lives we feel a loss of identity as others become a priority. We lose ourselves in living!

Re-discovering one’s passions and purpose in life opens the door to happiness. As a young woman, I had no clear direction, nor the confidence to follow my dream of becoming a writer. For me, the joys of motherhood came at a cost. I was sleep deprived and couldn’t fathom doing something fun for myself. My life revolved around everyone else’s needs. Depression crept in. My relationships broke down, I got sick and felt a deep void in my spiritual life.

I struggled with depression for years, feeling the weight of my conditioning and belief systems keeping me in a rut. At the heart of my problems was the belief that I wasn’t good enough. I dropped out of high school four months before my higher school certificate and I didn’t pursue a writing career which I wanted so desperately. I perceived this as a failure and while I was grateful for my family and beautiful children, something more stirred within. I related to Victor Frankl’s quote in Man’s Search For Meaning. He was a survivor of the Holocaust and wrote:

“Perhaps our deepest subconscious drive is the need for meaning and purpose in our lives. To be truly happy you need a clear sense of direction. You need to commit to something bigger and more important than yourself. You need to know that your life stands for something, that somehow you are making a valuable contribution to the world.”

I knew I was the only one who could change me and realised courage was about admitting I needed help. I saw a counsellor, talked to my family and friends about my low self esteem and shared my secret dream with a wonderful Good Samaritan Sister who encouraged and supported me. When I filled in forms that required ‘occupation’ I wrote Mother/Writer and it felt so right. It was time to live in the way that God intended for me.

When people say they don’t know what to do with their lives I don’t believe them. They are paralysed with fear – fear of stepping out of their comfort zones and breaking free from old, limiting belief systems and results.

I believe we all have a divine purpose and that on some deeper level we know what that is. Some of us are afraid to let our light shine and reach our highest potential and so we sabotage our lives in various ways.

The first step on the road to finding yourself and re-discovering your passion and purpose begins with setting a worthy goal, something that excites you so much you can’t wait for the day to begin. I started by doing little things daily. Here are some things I did to help me find balance and purpose in my life:

  • Stillness. Being still is the key to knowing yourself and your purpose. Whether it is in prayer, meditation or a walk in nature, when you are quiet and let the mind chatter go, you get more clarity about who you really are and the direction you should go.
  • Banish negative self talk. Become aware of your self-talk. What you say to yourself about yourself or what you say to others about yourself is crucial in releasing your negative self image and old habits.
  • Writing as a release. Journal or free write, where you write thoughts or feelings without self editing. Let all the pain and suffering you have experienced become black marks on a page. Let it go. It is not you and does not define you. Get it out and throw it away. Use the new blank page to create the life you want. Begin with “I am so happy and grateful that now I…” and write in the present tense about the joyous life you are living, doing what you love and being happy. Do this daily, as the constant repetition becomes the new belief system and your thoughts will be creating your new life.
  • The F Word. Fun is essential to feed the spirit. Think back to your childhood and the activities you enjoyed doing or things that made you laugh until your stomach hurt.

Our spirit is crying out for us to live authentic lives. How can we guide our parishioners, teach our students, be the role model for our children if we are out of balance and not happy? We have all been graced with divine gifts and talents and I believe happiness comes from living your passions and being on purpose.

Leeza Baric

Leeza Baric is an author, mentor and teaches creative writing workshops. She was a finalist in an international short story competition on the subject of domestic violence and contributed her story in the anthology, "Living an Abundant Life". Her book "Wobbly Woman: An Illustrated Memoir" is available at www.LeezaBaric.com

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