In a conversation with a client last week, we talked about how difficult it’s been for her to focus equally on what’s in “her best interest” as well as those of others. While she’s finally doing this more in her 50’s, it’s been hard to overcome the message that women often learn growing up of taking care of others in spite of the emotional cost to themselves.
I still remember when I said “No” for the first time to one of my family members and they threw a jar of mayonaise at my feet. Although I was startled by their response, I knew I had to stand my ground. One of the most revered Jewish teachers, Rabbi Hillel said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now when?”
In her remarkable poem “The Journey,” Mary Oliver describes how ultimately we must abide by our “inner voice” if we are to survive. This is also one of Maria Shriver’s favorite poem which she presented for National Poetry Day at the 2011 Women’s Conference, and which I advised my client to listen to last week.
So sit back, relax (well maybe) and enjoy the following rendition of “The Journey.” Then let us know what you think. Is this too radical to imagine or not? If so, what may be standing in your way? What would it take to free yourself to be yourself?
Click on the black box below to listen.