How often do you do something for or with others because it just doesn’t feel right to focus on yourself? Do you ever feel ashamed because there are times you just don’t want to do one more thing for anybody else? Are you trapped in a cycle of doing, doing, doing for everyone but yourself?

In the spirit of Independence Day, let’s take a look at three emotional thieves that steal our mental freedom and block our love of Self. They wreak havoc with our serenity, self-worth, and keep us from living full, authentic, and sparkling lives:

  • Guilt
  • Selfishness
  • Shame

Many women wrestle with these three feelings and their associated limiting beliefs.

How would you like to be liberated from the behavior you’ve been trained in to always put others’ needs before your own?

Guilt –

Do you feel a wave of guilt when you decide to take time for you or set limits around your availability or what you’re willing to do for others?

If you are like most women, you might feel guilty for taking time to replenish your own reservoir of life-giving energy.

As counter intuitive as it may seem, the most loving thing you can do for the people you care about is to take care of yourself first. If you intend to continue giving your time and attention to loved ones, then you must be kind and loving to yourself first.

Ask yourself, “Who would I be without guilt?” Dig deep to see if you can get to the root of what holds you to these feelings of guilt because without guilt you can be a new woman—sparkling, replenished, refreshed, and ready to cheerfully give fully to others.

So right now, right here, write down at least 1-3 things you can do to nurture you – and then do one of them!

Selfishness –

Do you label yourself as “selfish” when you want to do something for yourself or even by yourself?

Sometimes others take advantage of your desire to serve. They can call at all hours of the day and night and expect you to be available at a moment’s notice, especially when they’re experiencing a crisis. When you get courageous enough, you may set boundaries around your availability. As soon as you do, an alarming voice might resound in your head, screaming at you about how selfish you are being. That distorted belief of what it means to be selfish kicks in and challenges you to wonder how you could ever think you were so special to deserve to put yourself first. Along with beliefs of selfishness come other judgmental and critical thoughts that take you down that bottomless rabbit hole.

To overcome these toxic thoughts ask yourself what you get for buying into the belief that you are selfish. Then set a healthy boundary and stand strong. Decide to reframe the time you spend on yourself as being centered in self so that you can be of greater service to others. The truth is we need self-care to really glitter and glow. Just like a diamond, our beautiful, brilliant, multi-faceted radiance cannot shine if we don’t take some time to polish and buffJ)

Shame –

The dance of blame and shame holds you back. You feel ashamed for thinking you were so special or significant as to put yourself above another. Shame keeps you from taking care of yourself adequately.

Instead of feeling shame, honor your own value.

For instance, if you decide to nurture yourself by going for a run and a friend calls to vent, either let the call go to voicemail or answer the call and let her know you’ll call her back. When you permit others’ needs to take precedence over your own, you are not valuing yourself. It’s imperative that you make yourself the priority.

Feel the weight lifting off your shoulders as you permit yourself to nurture your own needs. Imagine yourself floating as light as a feather and take a deep breath. If all else fails, regardless your religious affiliation, perhaps you can find comfort in the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

Recently, I spoke with leadership expert, John Boggs, about reclaiming control of your life. If you missed the interview I encourage you to click here in order to discover the most common culprits that block self-leadership and how to overcome them.

When you are out of balance, the quality of your giving will be less than adequate. So take a break and take care of you. It will help reduce your own stress, keep you in good health, and allow you to be even more nurturing to others. Then, what others will get is the best version of you: the sparkling diamond that is YOU.