When my doctor told me that I was post menopausal at the age of 42, the first thing I did was wonder what I’d done wrong and blame myself!
In this empowering episode I share my own menopause experiences and delve into the guilt and blame often associated with challenges faced during this stage of life.
I challenge the notion that lifestyle changes alone can alleviate perimenopausal symptoms for all women, and emphasize the need to prioritize ourselves.
We explore coping mechanisms like people-pleasing, perfectionism, and avoidance, and how they hinder self-growth.
I emphasize the need to shift from trying to fix yourself to taking care of yourself – and why this matters, and how this perspective shift builds resilience to navigate the unpredictable hormonal shifts of perimenopause.
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Full Episode Transcript
Hi friends. Welcome to the podcast. Episode 49, the one where we figure out why it’s so important to show up for ourselves. At this time of life, how we do it and what are some of the signs that we’re actually avoiding ourselves? And therefore avoiding, actually been able to change. I’m going to highlight those in this episode. Join me for the ride.
Okay. So I want to get something straight, right from the outset. We hear a lot about self care. At its core. I think that self care is really important. However, self care has been hijacked by marketing to try and sell us stuff. So I don’t think of self care necessarily as buying new clothes. New shoes, getting my nails done. Getting my hair done. And there is nothing wrong with those things. They are important. If they’re important to you, depending on your values, they can be super, super fun. But by not the kind of self care that I think makes a change and a difference to the way your nervous system functions. So.
Just to note, when I talk about self care in. In this episode, I’m meaning that deep. Abiding. Coming home to yourself. Resting the nervous system.
Learning how to access calm from the inside out so that you can be restored on a moment to moment, day by day basis. That’s what I mean by self care. In this episode.
So generally what happens for us in midlife is we have that change of hormones that comes along and perimenopause. And then for many of us, it’s a slow creep into not feeling. Quite like we used to a few months ago or a year ago or whatever the timeline is for you. And we try and carry on doing the same things that we used to do. However, they’re not working and we’re getting more and more. Worn out. And we’re losing track of ourselves as an essential being. And so very often when women come to my course or I work with women, one-on-one. A very common thing that they say is. I feel stuck. And I just feel so lost. And I don’t know what. I need to do to get out of this place. So, this is what showing up for yourself. We’ll give you. It will help you get unstuck. It will help you get out of that place that you don’t want to be in. And we have to remove guilt. Right from the beginning in a guilt or shame needs to just be gone. And we don’t need to figure it out and fix it. We just need to know that.
It’s not ours. The guilty feelings, the thoughts, the shame.
They’re not the truth of who you are. It’s just a layered on of belief, systems, expectations, gender conditioning, all of that good stuff or not good stuff.
And so we’ve come to this place in midlife where we’re not feeling good, either physically or emotionally. And the first thing we do. As we blame ourselves. I did the same thing. When I was told by my doctor. That my hormones were showing that I was post-menopausal.
And I was about 42. I was shot. Shocked. I didn’t quite believe it. And then I started to wonder what I’d done wrong. And how I could fix it. And so there was layers of guilt and blame. That showed up initially and took me some time to unwind it. So it’s a really, really normal place that we go to when something isn’t working, we.
We turn our attention to ourselves in terms of what have I done wrong. And. Look done well. And without those layers of guilt and shame looking at well, what might I have done to contribute to this? Can actually be helpful. But what it very often shows that payers and what it showed up for me. Was what have I done wrong?
And that is further.
Layer upon. Bye. Things that we see written out there by well-meaning.
Persons in some helping professions.
Home. In my opinion, a lumping all of our perimenopausal symptoms, both physical and mental, psychological. Into one basket and saying, well, if you slipped better and you ate better and you didn’t drink alcohol, you’d be fine. You wouldn’t be experiencing these symptoms.
We know. That those things can be helpful. But we also know that many women.
Don’t drink, try and get as much sleep as they can for studious about their diet. And they still have terrible. Terrible symptoms.
So we want to unpack this a little bit. And.
The only way that we can take a look inside ourselves.
And really show up for ourselves. Is to take away guilt. Take away. Self-blame takeaway Shane.
Just put it over to the side for now. We can pick it up later if we need it. Maybe we don’t need it, but it’s, you know, off to the side for now.
And so what’s happening is we’ve got these symptoms arising. We’re just carrying on and doubling down and trying to get it done, trying to muscle through because. Damn, we are so good at that as woman.
And it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because you’ve got a significant shift happening. Inside your body. In regard to your hormones, there’s a massive shift happening, and it’s not a gradual decline of your hormones, either. It’s up and down. It’s a little bit all over the place for months. And for many of us years, So we need to take a. Different look at how we. Can look after ourselves. And what I mean by showing up for yourself. What I really mean is putting yourself. As a priority. And if that means that things get left on done. Things are not as tidy or as orderly as they used to be. Then, so be it. You need to make yourself a priority at this time of life.
Because if we don’t, there’s not a whole lot of us left I mean, in terms of our vitality, in terms of our.
Robustness for life. Been in life, been engaged in life that. We’ll dwindle. If we don’t really put ourselves first and show up for ourself, right. So prioritize yourself. Do the self care that makes you feel. At home within yourself. So not just a quick fix.
The stuff that brings you home to yourself and it could be something really simple. It could be a walk in nature. You’re not rushing. You’re not doing it to burn calories. You’re not doing it to exercise. You’re doing it to be in nature. That can be an example of some really good self care.
So we’re at quite a unique stage of our life and midlife, because if you’ve had children. They may well be a little older. They may well be teenagers and going through their own emotional stuff. And here we are. As women and pyramid and post menopause. Going through our own hormonal, emotional stuff, a little different to the teenager. But it can still feel just as tumultuous.
I started to feel better on my journey.
When I stopped trying to fix myself. And I started taking care of myself.
Can you feel the energy that difference in that?
Can you feel how that’s.
Taking care of myself. Has a different intention, a different deeper intention then. Trying to fix myself and doing every diet under the sun, upping my exercise, restricting my food. Pushing through and not resting. All of those things that we know we do. We know we’ve been able to do them in the past to get all of that stuff done that we had to do. But now. Right now.
We need to do it differently.
And just because you’re taking this time to rest more. And Medlife. It doesn’t mean that you’re always going to need to do this.
So when I look at the consequences of not showing up for yourself, Right. So very often it will it will start with. You’re just getting a slight increase of symptoms, physical, emotional, mental. You’re pushing through in the same way that you’ve always pushed through. Well, there’s going to be a cost to that down the track, and it might not come today. But it very likely will hit us further down the track and then we’ll have to do this massive. Uncomfortable.
Very inconvenient. Recalibration.
Because if we’ve based our self worth and our self-esteem on.
On people pleasing.
And we’ve gone into a lot of avoidance.
They say three things.
We’ll take us away from being able to show up for ourselves.
Because these are compensating mechanisms, right? There are about trying to keep the world around us. Okay. So we don’t have to deal with the conflict that will arise if we drop the people pleasing. And we really say what we think. If we let go of the perfectionism.
And things are being turned out that are just good enough rather than perfect.
Because we’ve. We’ve lived into these patterns, these coping mechanisms, because they’ve kept the peace. They’ve kept the waters relatively smooth.
And we’ve been able to carry the cost of that. Within ourselves until now. Until now when your hormones are changing. Your nervous system is changing. My goodness. Your brain is actually going through a really big recalibration. And so if I was to look at well, what are the things that I want to need to would be helpful for me to change?
That are keeping me away from showing up. For myself. I would start with people pleasing.
That’s one of my biggies. Perfectionism.
And of course avoidance.
And what you could even do is looking at, you know, grab your journal.
Right yourself or we paragraph.
I notice, I think I might be people pleasing when I. And write down some examples.
I get caught in perfectionism when. And fill in the gaps. If I’m really, really honest with myself. This piece here is what I’m avoiding.
And just by being.
Radically honest with ourselves. It can feel. Like such a relief. Because we don’t need to change everything overnight.
Some of the biggest relief comes by. Facing into the truth of. Ourselves and what’s not working in our relationships. And so awareness is that first pace and it’s such an important piece. Even if we’re not fixing the people pleasing. Even if it’s taking me. A number of years and I’ll, I’ll people please end an interaction with someone and then I’ll come out of that interaction. I’ll realize. Damn it. I was people pleasing. Then there was a signal for my gap that I really didn’t want to do that. That wasn’t right for me. And that moment, but I still said I would, I still see. Yes. Even if that’s still happening. I’ve got that awareness building. And that awareness is such a strong piece for us. That is.
It helps us to. Build our. Resilience back up.
So you might not. Catch yourself in the moment. With these. Coping mechanisms. Of people please, infection ism. Avoidance. There’ll be others as well. You might not catch yourself in the moment. You will probably start by catching yourself. On the other side of the interaction and going, why do I feel a bit. About that. What just happened there? And you can journal about it. And it will probably come to light. Oh, I said yes. When all of my gut and my body was saying, no, But I just went into autopilot. And I said, yes. Okay. So. Then that next step would be okay. Am I going to go back and undo that change that have that conversation maybe? Yes, maybe no.
Sometimes I wouldn’t, sometimes I wouldn’t. Sometimes I would. Be like, okay, well I’m done. I’ve said I’ll do it. I’m going to do it. I will pay more attention next time. When it shows up. For me and my body. And over time. I learned to slow down enough inside myself, because what I was doing was feeling it, but sort of overriding that feeling inside my body and saying yes, when I meant no. But over time, I could slow down enough where I had that feeling in my body. And I could pause and go. Oh, you know what. I’m going to get back to you on that. I need to have a think about it.
And that was a breakthrough. That was so helpful.
I really love seeing women start to show up for themselves. I’ve seen it in my experience on my journey.
And I see it for the women I work with.
And then our groups.
And because we’re so conditioned to be there for everyone else.
That we kind of have to relearn how to show up for ourselves.
And then what happens, you know, when you are showing up for yourself, you might still have the challenges. There might still be some. Pyramid of puzzle anxiety. They might still be some physical symptoms showing up. But. You’re prioritizing yourself and your wellbeing. In a way that really respects your values and what you need.
And you can see that shift. When someone’s there, when someone’s got that. And they actually start showing up for themself.
So, how do you know. When you’re doing that. Where you start to take that time out. And you might notice actually that there’s a kickback of guilt. Of, oh, I shouldn’t take that time for myself. That can actually be a really positive if we, you know, flip our perception on it, positive sign. That you started show up for yourself. That you back yourself that you reach, start reaching out for help.
Look, I’m so, so pleased that we’re having more and more conversations about midlife, about menopause. I think we’re the generation that is breaking through those old paradigms and it is going to look very different. For the women that come after us. And there is such. A great thing. We’re doing good work. Not only. Inside ourselves. But. Within our communities, the more conversations we have around this, the more honest open. Vulnerable conversations. We have, the more we bring. Midlife and menopause out of the shadows. Now out of the.
I just have to get on with my life and pretend it’s not happening because nobody really wants to hear about what happens for a menopausal woman and the symptoms that she’s dealing with. Well, We’re bringing that out of the shadows. And we are expressing that because it is just a natural, normal part of life. And we are, I believe over time, changing how it’s perceived.
And very importantly, this is a time where you get to. Create.
The kind of like a soul mate relationship. With yourself. With your own being. And that is showing up for yourself. And that is a hugely rebellious act in terms of our own gender conditioning.
And yet. I think for me, It was the. Y that I got through midlife.
Was to. Forge a healthier, better. More loving. Deeper relationship with myself.
Ultimately. This is showing up for yourself.
And look, if you, if you’ve. If you’re on track with it. If this is happening, if the, the, because the nurture hormone start to. Diminish. And menopause. And so it is actually easier for us to put ourselves first. And not in a selfish way. It might be perceived as being selfish, but it is. Actually about self care. About resilience about restoring your vitality.
The reason, I think this is so important is because if we don’t show up for ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us. There is no one coming to save us. There is no. Menopausal remedy on.
White horse. Galloping into the sunset to come and rescue us.
We’re actually having to advocate for ourselves. We’re having to put ourselves as a priority. I mean, this shows up for women. If you’re unfortunate enough to.
Have a medical professional that is not up to speed with. Menopausal. Hormonal treatments. Then, you know what I’m saying? When I say we have to advocate for ourselves. We have to do the research to understand what’s going on so we can speak in a way that they can take it in.
I know this can be a time when we really struggle. And. This is why. One of the psychological medicines that we can engage. Is that of showing up for ourself and putting ourselves as a priority.
And if we don’t do that,
And we are. Still trying to get the. Quick. Fix.
Kind of sticking plaster approach.
It does make the journey more difficult. And it might seem really hard to put ourselves first. To drop the people pleasing and the perfectionism. And the avoidance and really stepping into speaking our truth. That. Can feel.
Ni shakingly scary.
But it’s actually the key to.
Coming home to ourselves. To feeling at home in our lives.
To be able to let, go with love the woman that you were 10 years ago. And embrace with appreciation.
Woman. That you are now, and that you are becoming.
Because she is just around the corner. And this hormonal shift of midlife is preparing the way.
Your brain is going through an upgrade and midlife. And on the other side is the wise woman. And no wonder. She has been denigrated as the scary, ugly witch. And fairytales and myths and movies because she’s so damn powerful. She is so connected to herself.
She is so intuitive. She knows what she wants.
She knows how she wants to be in her life. And she goes after it. And that is available to all of us.
Every single woman.
I think we’ll wrap it up there.
Thanks for joining me.
I think this is such a great.
to listen to.
If you’re just feeling a bit. Kind of like all laws. A bit like I’m dragging my feet. It’s also frigging hard.
I think, honestly, I think it’s so important that this is one of the first switches that we make.
That. I Ables. Us too. Come home to ourselves. To create the second stage of life on our terms.
This is what is. Available to us. This is our birthright. We do need to take an honest look at. Our coping mechanisms.
And that’s okay. It’s only scary when we’re avoiding them.
It’s scary, exhilarating when we’re changing them. When we’re changing our behaviors.
From that place of.
You go and get it.
Okay. My friend love you so much. I have got the next round of the. Mid-life upgrade course. We’re enrolling for the next round. If you want more of this in your life, if you want to. Go from hearing about it. About the showing up for ourselves and empowering ourselves.
To taking action and implementing this in your life. Step-by-step week by week. Check out my small group course, the midlife upgrade course.
This is what we’re doing inside that. So you can just go to my website, Megan care.co.nz. Forward slash course and all of the info’s on there. All right. Have an incredible empowering day. I’ll talk to you real soon.