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Renee Trudeau's picture

Have you ever experienced a time when you were wronged or mistreated and didn’t stand up for yourself?

In my late twenties I worked at a large international biotech company as a communications specialist. My counterparts in our Paris office were impressed with my work and invited me to come work side by side for a year in their European offices sharing US best practices.  I was elated! My excitement around this opportunity kept building until I accidentally picked up a transmission off our office fax machine. My boss–for no good reason–had “turned down” the opportunity for me even though the executives in Europe had signed off on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.   I was livid and I could feel in my bones this move was sabotage. Yet, in my youth and naiveté, I steamed in silence and never took this above her head or to the company CEO–who I knew and often wrote speeches for. I regret to this day, not speaking up and advocating for myself.

At the retreats I lead around the US, women share with me that every day in big and small ways–whether it’s eating when they’re not hungry, packing their schedules too full with activities or staying in a relationship that ended years ago–they abandon themselves. They squelch that still small voice–their Wise Self–who truly knows what’s in their best interest. Or they turn their back on her completely.

How do you abandon yourself?

I often negated my needs in my 20’s and 30s–especially when it came to romantic and platonic relationships. Trying to find–and hold onto–myself in the midst of complex human dynamics often felt squishy and nebulous. I threw myself “under the bus” more times than I’d like to remember. Recently my 14 year-old son and I talked about friendships (remember the “minefield” of friendship terrain in high school?). I tried to remind him that the most important thing is to be “true to you.” To not sacrifice who you are, for others. To choose friends who nourish your heart and spirit and let you show up warts and all.

One of the most powerful gifts I’ve received from my 17 year self-care practice (read more) is a strong and unwavering allegiance to self. I have learned the hard way–like most–that you’ll never win trying to please others. But you always win, if you stay in integrity with yourself–even if this means leaving a trail of disgruntled people in your wake. There is no sweeter feeling than when you “have your own back.”

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