Are you tired of always putting others first and losing your sense of self in the process? In this episode, I share my thoughts on how you can stop being the best supporting actress in the movie of your own life and start embracing your extraordinary potential.
I discuss how many women in midlife have been socialized to prioritize others’ needs over their own, but it’s never too late to break free from these patterns and start living the life you truly desire.
Listen in as I explore the connections between body image, purpose, and relying on others for validation. I share insights on how our weight can sometimes be a distraction from other areas of our lives that we should be focusing on, and the importance of finding our purpose and taking charge of our own lives.
Don’t miss this empowering conversation that will inspire you to become the hero of your own life and embrace your extraordinary potential.
I discuss the common occurrence of women neglecting their own desires and dreams in midlife and urge the listener to break free from this pattern and prioritize their own happiness, rather than being a supporting character in their own life story.
The issue of women often playing the role of the best supporting actress in their own lives, acknowledging that it is not their fault and aiming to uplift rather than induce guilt. And how societal conditioning leads women to prioritize the needs of others, causing them to wait for external validation or permission before making decisions about their own time. This behavior pattern results in delayed personal growth and self-neglect.
I encourage you to create your own retreat by booking a weekend away to reflect on your life. Explore potential hesitations and self-reflection, emphasizing the importance of reconnecting with oneself amidst prioritizing others.
The discussions about weight and diet are uninteresting and wish to shift the focus toward more meaningful aspects of life, such as purpose and relationships. I convey enthusiasm and empathy, emphasizing the need to move away from weight-related concerns and redirect attention toward broader life goals. Additionally, I suggest a reciprocal relationship between weight and other areas of life, highlighting the interconnected nature of these factors.
Many women have been conditioned from a young age to suppress their desires and conform to societal expectations, leading to a fear of asking for what they want and a sense of worthlessness. However, breaking free from these roles and embracing personal empowerment can be uncomfortable but ultimately liberating and fulfilling.
This episode will light a fire in you and inspire you to take charge of your own life story. Are you tired of playing the supporting role, always putting others’ needs before your own?
Well, guess what? It’s time to unleash your extraordinary potential and become the hero of your own life. Discover how to break free from societal expectations and step into your true purpose. Especially, if you are a woman in midlife.
Today’s episode is packed with insights on body image, purpose, and seeking validation from others. Get ready to put yourself first and transform your life to be greater than you ever imagined.
You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms and want to feel better – like they did before their body started changing.
I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman, Master Certified health, and life coach for women in menopause and peri menopause. I’ve helped thousands of women manage their symptoms, get off the diet roller coaster, and change their relationship with food, exercise, and stop fighting with their bodies. And I do it through a feminist lens – which means exploring how we are socialized as young women has a huge impact on our current relationship with food & exercise, our bodies, health, and ourselves.
What’s different about this podcast is that we’re exploring your health from all sides, not just food and exercise. We also address the mindset shifts that will make you happier and lead to better health.
My goal in this podcast is to illustrate that the reason diets don’t work long term is because your health doesn’t exist in a silo. Your health and your weight are a symptom of the OTHER parts of your life and how you show up. I want to help you to feel good and live the life you desire from a 360 degree approach: body, mind, and soul.
Welcome. Let’s get started.
Hey everyone, welcome to today’s podcast. Let’s just get in and get started because I am on fire. So, I was talking to a client, this is something that I’ve been talking about in the last few episodes over the past few months. This is something that’s ignited a fire in me.
And I think it all started a few years ago, probably about a year ago. I was coaching a client and all of a sudden it dawned on me that she was taking care of everyone else in her life. When you looked at her, she really didn’t want to stand out. She didn’t want to make a fuss.
And in doing so, what was so readily apparent was that she was becoming the best supporting actress in the movie of her own life. So, let me back up a minute and explain exactly what that means.
What it means is that whenever we go to see a movie, there is something called a “story arc.” Where the protagonist of the movie has a problem and that person in the movie, the Star, then meets a guide and the guide helps them resolve the problem. And become the hero of her own life.
When I look at this client and so many other clients because this is something that once I became attuned to it, it became so readily apparent that this is something that happens in so many of our lives. And if there’s one thing that I want for women in this world is that just because we are in midlife, doesn’t mean that we have to roll over in our graves and stop living.
In fact, there is an amazing story in you, the listener. Who I am talking to right now. You are an amazing person who has wants and dreams and wishes. And you are serving everyone else at the expense of your own life.
Today, I want to encourage you to make a change. I want to encourage you to stop being the best supporting actress in the movie of your own life.
Years ago, I used to have this thing that was on my running shoes. And it was called a “road ID.” I had it because I used to run early in the morning when it was dark out and I had this fear in my head, which valid that if I accidentally got hit or something that no one would know who I was because I didn’t carry Id with me when I would go running in the morning. Right?
Even though, the neighborhood that I lived in was actually very safe. But I had this road ID and on the back of it, I had the option to write a little quote or something. Something inspirational. The quote that I had on the back of my road ID was. If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?
I think that for many of us, we have this idea that well, who am I? I’m just Elizabeth. I’m nobody. Who am I to be spectacular or extraordinary? I think that you are extraordinary and that you do have a purpose on this planet.
If you want to live a life that is greater than what you have just been handed, then I am going to encourage you to listen to this episode and to do whatever you want to do in order to be who you were meant to be. Because for so many of us, we have been taught that we need to be small. We need to be seen, not heard, that we are to look pretty, and not really voice our opinions.
And I think that now that we are in midlife, and we’ve been so busy taking care of others in our lives. That so many of us are sitting back and saying, why did I do that? I could have been a doctor, a lawyer, a social justice advocate, whoever you wanted to be, a writer, a painter, whatever. Imagine like the things that you wanted to be when you were in high school, when you were in college, and for some reason life got in the way and you gave up on those dreams. It’s not too late.
Now, be aware that when I’m talking about being the best supporting actress in the movie of your life, It’s not your fault. I’m not talking about this in order to make you feel like, oh, I haven’t been driven enough. No, absolutely not.
But you have been socialized to give everything to everyone else in your life. How does this show up? So, how you know that this is something that is happening in your life. I’m going to give you a couple examples. One is you wait for others to tell you how they want to spend your time before you decide to schedule whatever your plans are.
So, an example of that is it’s the weekend and you check in with your family. You ask your partner, hey, what are your plans for this weekend? You ask your kids. You ask your friends, hey, what are you doing this weekend? Because I really wanted to do this thing, but I won’t do it if you need me. Right?
That’s how it shows up. That we delay making decisions about our own time and needs because we think someone else might have a feeling about what it is that we’re doing. And so, we delay doing the things that we want because we’re waiting for other people to make their decisions. That’s one way.
Another is you would have no idea how to spend a weekend, a week, a vacation, whatever. Doing whatever you wanted. So, if someone said, we’re gonna go away for a weekend, or if you had the house to yourself for an entire weekend, what would you do?
Everyone went away and you had the place to yourself. You had 48 hours, 72 hours, however many hours that you could do whatever you wanted to do. What would you do? Sounds pretty amazing, right? But seriously, what would you do?
I had mentioned a couple episodes ago that I’m actually hosting a retreat for some of my clients here in Mexico. And so, what if you were to create a retreat of your own? Go away for the weekend, how does that sound? Go away, book some time in a hotel far away from home so that no one can reach you and just reflect on life and what’s happening.
What’s coming up for you right now? Are you like, oh my God, I couldn’t possibly do that. Or are you like, hell yes, let me do that. If you’re in the first camp, I’m going to ask you, why? What would you do for an entire weekend alone where you were alone on a retreat. Thinking about whatever it is that you need to reflect back on.
So, that’s number two. You would have no idea what to do if you spent a weekend alone or a week.
And number three is you know, everyone else’s favorite color, best friend, favorite food, dreams. But when you think about those same things for yourself, you’re really kind of befuddled. They escape you. What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite restaurant? What’s your favorite movie? Who’s your favorite band? What’s your favorite creative outlet?
For so many of my clients, they know everything about everyone that they love. But they can’t answer these questions for themselves. Because we’ve lost ourselves in everyone else. And so, if these examples resonate, we’re going to work through a little bit of that today.
Now, for some of you, you might be like, I’m fine with my life right now. I’m totally 100% cool with where I am right now. And if this is you, I say fantastic. But this episode is for the women who are like, I have no idea who my sense of self is.
This is an epidemic that so many women in midlife are facing right now. Because so many things in our lives are changing and we have no idea who we are. We don’t feel grounded because we aren’t grounded. What we are is we are tethered to other people. We get our sense of self from other people.
And so, when those other people are changing, when careers are changing, when our family dynamics are changing, when our friend groups are changing, when our body is changing, we have no sense of self anymore because everything is up in the air.
So, let’s talk about how this impacts your weight or where weight and health are involved in this phenomenon. One, I think that for so many women, we focus on our weights and our eating and those things that we can artificially control because it allows us to preoccupy our mind with something that we can have control over.
What I mean by that is for many women, when we get rid of the health issue, when we get rid of the weight issue. When weight is no longer a problem. What will fill your brain? Like, seriously. When we no longer have to think about our weight, imagine all of the hours that you think about your weight, and your food and all of those other things, when you no longer have to preoccupy your brain with those. What will occupy your brain?
Because nature abhors a vacuum, right? And so, if you are no longer thinking about your weight, you’re going to be thinking about something else. How is your weight distracting you from the other parts of your life that you are avoiding thinking about and working on because your weight seems like something that’s easier to deal with.
But when we think about it, talking about weight is 100% boring. Like seriously, if you have been to a party where you are talking to another person and they’re talking about their weight and their diet the entire night, that is so incredibly boring. I do not want to go to my deathbed thinking about my weight, and my health, and what I ate.
Who cares? I just can’t say enough. Let’s get this over with. Let’s stop thinking about our weight. Let’s stop thinking about food and move on to the more important things in our lives like our purpose, like our relationships, like anything else.
But here’s the other thing in how our weight is connected to this whole thing. It’s actually a chicken, but it’s also an egg. So, when we don’t feel like our life is important in and of itself, when you rely on others to give yourself your purpose. Meaning that you won’t take time because who are you.
So, when we are relying on other people to give us our purpose, what difference does it make if we eat the cookie or not? When we are just a backdrop in the lives of other people, we become less important. And so, what difference does it make if I eat the cookie or not? What difference does my health make? I am unimportant.
When we are relying on ourselves to be the best supporting actress, to support others in our lives. We are not creating our own power. We are receiving whatever scraps other people will give us. And so, I’ve talked about these concepts a little bit before.
In episode 115, I talked about nice lady syndrome, the good girl syndrome, where we just have to be the good person. And so, this is tightly connected to that. As well as the most recent episodes, 123 about people pleasing and 124 about time. And how we give up our time to serve other people.
What that does is it keeps us distracted from whatever it is that we are able to accomplish in our own lives. And you might be thinking to yourself, but Elizabeth, I’m too old to do any of this. And I want to tell you that no, you’re not. You still have so many years ahead of you. You can do amazing things.
When we don’t feel like we matter, why would our weight matter or that cookie? So, being the best supporting actress in our own lives, what that’s doing is it’s just keeping us small. Like I think about being wallpaper, this same concept. I’m thinking about a room, and everyone who you love is in the room and you’re wearing a sweater that matches your wallpaper and you just like sink into the background.
If other people were to describe you, how would they describe you? I love this question. I love asking my clients this question. Because so many of us have no idea what our good qualities are and why other people like having us around. We really don’t.
So, what we do is we basically hide in the shadows. We don’t speak out; we don’t stand out. We don’t voice our opinions. And so, what happens is we’re just hiding in the shadows. And the reason why we’re hiding in the shadows is because we have been taught that we need to be perfect. We don’t want to risk standing out for fear of judgment.
And when we are judged, one, we are not going to have our own backs. Meaning that we are going to assume other people are right when we receive judgment. And number two, we don’t believe that other people are going to come and stand by us either. We fear that we are going to be alone and that we are going to be rejected from the herd and this is a very human instinct to not want to get kicked out of the tribe, quote unquote. That we need other people in order to survive.
And so, we are so afraid of getting kicked out of our friend group, of our social circle that we don’t want to put ourselves out there and risk rejection because it’s a survival skill. It totally makes sense that we would do this. However, women are completely socialized to look at this differently than men are.
So, perfectionism means for us that we can’t be vulnerable. We can’t show other people that we have needs and that we need help. We can’t ask for help and also, we can’t be at the center of attention.
Because of this, when I talked about the story arc earlier, that happens in all stories and movies. When you think about it, this right here is the reason why we would rather help other people because if we show that we need help. Then, that shows insecurity. That shows that we are vulnerable. That shows that we are not perfect and that we need help.
However, at the same time, we are told that we shouldn’t ask for help, that we should be able to do it all on our own. That asking for help is actually a sign of weakness. Even though, everyone around us loves helping us. But we don’t feel like that, we feel like we’re in imposition. We feel like that we can’t be quote unquote high maintenance because high maintenance means that we are getting what we need for ourselves.
That someone who is high maintenance is someone who isn’t the cool chick, right? Someone who goes with the flow is easier to get along with than someone who has needs. And we’ve been shut down from young college age to teenage life, that we should just go with the flow. That we should be cool girls. That we shouldn’t ask for much.
And if we do ask for too much, then other people aren’t going to want to give it to us. And so, what ends up happening is we don’t ask from others for fear that they will not give it to us. And therefore, what that means about our own worth.
So, we’re happy to be the helper. We are happy to be the unsung hero, the humble servant, or what I grew up with was the martyr. But being in those roles, it only leads to resentment. It doesn’t lead to a life purpose that actually allows us to go out and be amazing. Right? It keeps us in this victim role.
So, stopping doing that is actually really uncomfortable. Especially, if you have been the good girl your entire life, the good woman, the good friend, the good daughter, the good wife, the good mother. Like putting yourself out there and asking for what you want is actually really scary.
And so, as I talk about this, I’m going to ask you to reflect back on what are your thoughts about doing this. You might be thinking, one, oh, I couldn’t do that. And if that’s something that you’re thinking, I’m going to invite you to question that. Why not?
This is something that I work with my clients on all the time. Like, who said so? Who decided this? The other thing, and I talked about this in the people pleasing episode was, oh, if I did that, so and so wouldn’t like it.
And that’s because we have been going around making everyone’s life around us so d*mn comfortable. And disempowering them to be empowered of their own. To make decisions and make things happen for themselves. We do things for others, but in doing so, we are cutting them off at the wrists because they’re not doing things themselves.
I’m going to invite you to stop doing so much for other people. I know that that feels really uncomfortable. And if it does, I of course am going to invite you to schedule a call with me and we can work through all of the things that I’ve been talking about on this episode. But that being said, I’m going to give you some tools today.
So, the first thing is I want you to put on your oxygen mask. Now, if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know that I deeply abhor the oxygen mask analogy. You know the oxygen mask analogy. The oxygen mask analogy that says that you need to put on your own oxygen mask first so that you can help others put on theirs. Or rather that you need to take care of yourself so that you don’t get to run down, which would prevent you from taking care of yourself. And then, in relation to prevent you from being able to take care of others.
So, everything that we have been taught as women about self-care, about health, all of it is in relation to other people. I want you to put on your oxygen mask, not so that you can take care of other people, but because you’re a freaking human being who deserves oxygen and you deserve to take care of yourself.
The essence of the oxygen mask analogy is that other’s needs, wants, health, and desires are the primary goal. And that we should only do a minimum of self-care for ourselves to the extent that we are able to function at a level that allows us to still take care of other people.
That other people’s wants are always way more important than your needs. That the only reason that you should practice self-care is so that you can serve others. And I’m calling b*llsh*t on all of this. Because it’s as if you’re not worthy of taking care of yourself just because you’re a human being and by extension worthy of taking care of.
That self-care is a luxury. That manicures and massages are a luxury. And okay, I get that part. Manicures and massages are expensive and they’re time intensive. But self-care is so much more than manicures and massages. Self-care can be, no, I can’t do that for you. And not needing to justify why.
Self-care can be going to bed on time because you prioritize yourself and your needs because you are the only one who suffers the consequences of your decisions.
Self-care can be spending time getting yourself organized, knowing that it will save you time and brain space later. It’s asking yourself, what do I want? And then, when you know what you want, considering your wants with equal weight to the wants of others.
Now, of course, I’m not telling you to stop serving others. I’m not telling you to give a big middle finger to everyone in your life. You want to take care of those people that you love, and I’m not suggesting that you don’t continue to do that. But I also don’t want you to lose yourself in the process. You owe to yourself to live a life that’s worth living.
At your funeral, don’t you want people to say like, Oh my God, that Elizabeth, she had spunk, and you wouldn’t believe what she did. Not oh, she was nice. I don’t want people to say that I was nice at my funeral. Because nice means acceptable. Right?
I’ve met too many women who are playing the best supporting actress in the movie of her own life. You’re watching and waiting and helping everyone around you get what they want. Hoping that someone will give you some breadcrumbs. That someone will give you what you want without you having to ask for it.
But here’s the thing. No one is going to save you. No one is going to put on your oxygen mask for you. You have to step up and save yourself because you are an adult. You are capable of doing it yourself.
So, today has been your friendly PSA to let you know that you only get one shot at this life, and you are worth it. Your story is worth telling. And if you are focusing on your weight right now, let’s get that figured out so that you can move on to greater things.
Schedule a consult with me. We can figure out if one-on-one or group coaching is better for you. So that you can move on and move into an amazing life that is full and rich. And that is a story worth telling. Trust me, you have so much to offer the world. So, put on your own mask.
Have an amazing week, everyone. And I will talk to you next time. Bye-bye.
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