How to say no and put yourself first

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Use these 3 tips to begin to reclaim your “me-time,” especially during your pregnancy

By Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS, founder of www.PelvicPainRelief.com

Rachel always thought that love was pretty clear. You meet a great guy, you get married, you spend the rest of your life happy. She thought it was a given, something that just happens to everyone in one way or another. Some succeed more than others, some get to be happier in love than others, but it is what it is and you have to make the most of what you get.

Yet as her pregnancy progressed, and her pelvic floor symptoms became worse, she found it increasingly challenging to ignore how unhappy she really was. She started questioning if she’ll ever be good enough to be *truly* loved.

I hear this from so many women in my healing center, although sometimes I hear it between the lines, or as they share the many times they gave up on themselves, on their intimacy with their significant other, or on their willingness to speak up when they feel their world crumbling down.

But if there’s one thing I know is that all women are queens, and all women deserve to be treated as such, and all women deserve to be loved.

Make today the day you say NO to anyone who treats you otherwise. Use these three tips to begin to carve out your “me time.”

1 – Define what love looks like for you

For a while, Rachel thought she had it all – a husband, a baby on the way, a beautiful house.

But as her marriage progressed, Rachel noticed she was spending every day taking care of other people, and what her sister defined as feeling loved – like getting flowers and surprise weekend getaways – wasn’t filling her own cup. Especially not as her pelvic dysfunction grew worse, and no doctor seemed to be able to help, and her husband, who she thought she could count on for anything, started distancing himself from her, even as they prepared to start their family in the coming months.

Rachel, like so many women I’ve worked with, had to figure out from scratch what love looks like for her.

Maybe you’re in a similar situation, and you feel like you’re the only one in your family who wants something different. Or the only one who speaks up about it. Maybe you haven’t seen your dreams represented on TV. It doesn’t make your definition of love any less valuable.

This is your life. It’s OK to own your desires. That’s what a queen does.

And once you do that, it’s going to be harder to put yourself last.

2 – Prioritize your needs

Compromising who we are for the sake of love is just too common. There’s no doubt you know someone who’s done that. Maybe you have, too. I know I have. Wanting people to love us is human, but we have to love ourselves first, so we can teach others how to love us in a way that makes us feel alive.

And yes, you make sacrifices for people that matter to you, but you don’t need to sacrifice who you are for people to love you. You deserve to be loved for who you are, and you deserve to have your needs met.

Rachel, for example, stayed in a job she hated so she could support the family financially while her husband pursued his dream career. It looked like a deal she could live with at first – she wanted him to be happy – except she ended up staying with a bully boss, and at home, she was the one in charge of cleaning, cooking, and getting more and more in pain as her pregnancy progressed, and trying to help their intimacy survive became more and more difficult.

Slowly, she started seeing the patterns, which was an important step. Often, if we compromise ourselves in one area of our lives, it’s very possible we compromise ourselves elsewhere as well.

Rachel kept going to OB-GYN, who seemed to think she was hysterical for complaining about her pelvic dysfunction. She never spoke up at work when her boss put her down. And then one day, another colleague passed her up and got the promotion she had wanted, and she only wished she had spoken up.

That was the moment Rachel started speaking up.

She knew it was wrong to let people treat you poorly, and she wanted to set an example for her daughter-to-be on how to claim her inner queen.

Speaking up for her needs was almost unnoticeable before.

It started by asking for a different meeting time at work.

But it continued by telling her doctor straight out that she wasn’t crazy the next time he tried to say it’s all in her head.

And eventually, she did what scared her the most, and started opening up to her husband about how unloved she feels in their home, and what she needs to see changed for this marriage to have a chance to last.

3 – Practice trusting yourself

Practicing trusting yourself is deep work. You need to practice trusting your thoughts and your body and what your gut tells you, so you can ask questions, make decisions, take leaps of faith and change course of action when you need to.

After so many years of trusting others over yourself, it might not be easy, but it’s possible.

Maybe you’ll need to remind yourself a million times a day that you *are* good enough, that you do have a ton of value to give, and that you deserve to be with someone who will fully and completely love you for who you are, no matter how challenging your present journey feels.

That’s what Rachel did because she was terrified of everything blowing up in her face.

She was afraid to lose the primary income of her family if she stood up to her boss.

She was scared to go to another doctor, get her hopes up, and feel devastated at the disappointment again if she got treated the same.

And she couldn’t even imagine a life where she couldn’t heal her lady parts, because, despite her best efforts, it was already ruining her marriage.

She drew a crown on her mirror to remind herself every day to trust the queen she is, and therefore, to trust that she will find a way to get through this and live a full, happy life.

And she kept taking steps forward.

If you, like Rachel, need someone to cheer you on, here’s a video I created about why all women are queens and all women deserve to be loved. Add it to a playlist or save the link somewhere safe so it can support you every time you need some cheering up and extra courage to claim your crown.

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