What It Means To Be Generous With Yourself
As joyful as we like to remember them, holidays can be a stressful time. (especially for women and femme indoctrinated people.) Over the coming weeks, I’m hoping to offer you insights and encouragement to be generous with and to yourself.
Generosity is all too often conflated with money or the things it buys. That’s not what I mean. All too often we are parsimonious with time for ourselves. We have been trained to put others before ourselves; to give endlessly and selflessly; and to sacrifice for the greater good. Whether that plays out in our family constellation or workplaces, it happens so much researchers actually study it.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh teamed up recently to investigate what keeps women from obtaining the promotions they desire. They found that women tend to be asked and volunteer for what they call "low promotability" tasks like: write a report, serve on a committee or organize an office party. While these help the organization overall, they are not valued in the same way that high promotability tasks - such as revenue-generating activities - are.
Compound those requests with women’s conditioning and men’s “strategic incompetence,”(1) and the researchers discovered that women are more likely than men to volunteer. The end result is that women’s time gets sucked away doing things not in their actual job description, rather than be focused on the valuable tasks which lead to promotion.
Many women and femme indoctrinated humans leave their workplaces and come home to spouses and children well versed in strategic incompetence. Rather than de-stressing from their day, they are faced with all of the responsibilities associated with running a home. And then come the holidays with added pressure to create lasting memories for the whole family.
When I say be generous with yourself, I mean indulge yourself with time for the things which advance you. Make a commitment to giving yourself the space and time you need to relax and enjoy life.
Show up for work and do the things in your job description to the best of your ability. Don’t surrender your lunch break to buy cake for Bob’s 30th birthday or getting everyone to sign the perfect retirement card that you spend 20 minutes finding.
Take a good hard look around the house. What do you really care about? Is it a clean kitchen? Is it an orderly living space? Is it a restful, calming bedroom? Commit to maintaining your highest priorities. Communicate to your household that you are setting new priorities for yourself. Tell them what tasks you will be doing and for which services you are no longer accepting responsibility.
Set em all free. Let it slide. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter if people judge you. They aren’t living your life. Only you in your heart know what is and is not good for you.
Being generous with and to yourself is a gift you aren’t just giving yourself. It is a gift you give others because when you are less stressed and less anxious you have more capacity to be generous with others.
- Strategic Incompetence, also known as Weaponized Incompetence is a tactic usually associated with men. Lauren Elisa gave a great description: “when fully functional adult says they can’t do something because they don’t know how or does it so poorly that it discourages future requests.” Or saying kind things, “I don’t really cook as well as you do, why don’t you make the dinner?” Or constantly shrinking clothes in the laundry. A classic example went viral in a hilarious TikTok video where a woman made a detailed grocery shopping list including a chart of the layout of the store, aisle number and shelf location for each item. Strategic incompetence is manipulation tactic.