How to Stop Playing Superwoman, Get Support, and Remember That Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alone.

Get Over “I Got It!” with Elayne Fluker

Many womxn, especially ambitious womxn, often fall into the trap of playing “Superwoman.” We tell ourselves we have everything under control, we don’t need anyone’s help, that we’ve “got it.” The truth is though, while we might say we’ve got it, we often could use a helping hand. Or two. Or ten. For this session, The Lola Member Elayne Fluker sat down with Co-Founder Martine Resnick to discuss how we can get the help we need and her upcoming book: Get Over ‘I Got It’.

How to Stop Playing Superwoman, Get Support, and Remember That Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alone.

Elayne explains how we pride ourselves on being ambitious and driven which leaves many of us feeling ashamed to ask for help – especially when we really need it. We let our families down, our co-workers down, etc. With the pandemic, we have learned that we can’t go it alone. How can we get the help we need? Connection and collaboration are key – especially now. My hope is the book will be the tap on the shoulder we need at this time. Moms are working, home-schooling, etc. We go, go, go and we never have that moment when someone tells us we’re allowed to ask for support. Having it all doesn’t mean doing it all alone.

As womxn, we’ve been conditioned to just keep saying yes. We constantly feel like we have to prove ourselves. The hope is to shift the internal narrative that asking for help doesn’t make you less than a superwomxn
— Elayne Fluker

The book includes women from all different backgrounds/experiences and showcases reminders and ways to take action. There are exercises at end of each chapter on how you can put these thoughts into action.

Childhood messages around asking for help and support.

[I] thought that to get support meant you were in crisis mode. [That] needing help says something about me. If I get help, that means I can’t do it or don’t have all the answers. It made me want to just figure out how to do things on my own.
— Elayne Fluker

Elayne explains that once she saw the reflection of herself in others who weren’t asking for support, she realized that she had the same issues with asking for support. Even being from NY, she didn’t say hello when passing others on the street. She has learned the importance of being open to connecting with people and believes that it could be a gift to someone else to have the opportunity to be there for you.

Suicide rates amongst womxn are increasing.

In her book Elayne shares the following statistic:

THE SUICIDE RATE AMONG WOMEN WAS 63% HIGHER SINCE 1999. THE LARGEST INCREASE WAS AMONG GIRLS AGES 10-14.

It’s a terrifying reality and unfortunately personal for many womxn. Elayne shares her own story which highlights the importance of seeking support when you need it. When I was 15, I tried to commit suicide because I felt alone and isolated. Sometimes we get stuck in trying to figure out what’s wrong. Girls are figuring out so much about their bodies, their world, and they’re up against social media. Young girls don’t know how to say “I need therapy.” [They are] wanting to disappear and [are] feeling like a burden. [They] don’t know how to interpret those feelings. Everyone thought I was ok.

We put on a mask [that says] “Everything is fine.” I wasn’t able to interpret my feelings on what I truly needed.
— Elayne Fluker

The superwoman complex creates burnout for womxn.

Elayne spoke to a friend about this, and found that for a lot of us, the pressure comes from internalizing feminism in a way that makes us think we have to do everything on our own. Feminism is great and extremely important. It doesn’t tell us to do everything for everyone, but we often get the idea that we have to do that in order to be truly feminist. Studies show that womxn haven’t stopped doing all their other “duties” at home even though we’re now working in the corporate world. Women now working outside the home and doing “at-home” work on top of that.

  • We often tell ourselves things like:
    • “The world is moving fast so I should do more.”
    • “I have to do it all bc if I don’t I’ll be letting ‘them’ down.”
    • “I got it”

Why we don’t ask for help?

We stick to the three D’s: Defensive, Defiant and Defeated. We often think it’s insulting or a threat when someone offers help (“how could you ask me if I need help”) or we feel like we have to be the strong one all the time so we don’t let anyone down.

When asking for HELP:

  • H: Having it all doesn’t mean doing it all alone. You’ve done enough already.
  • E: Empowered Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. How can you get support? Where can you find it?
  • L: Live The Question. Letting go of the HOW. Don’t feel bad for not having the answers. Be open to “I need support” How can I reach my goal? Who can help me?
  • P: Believe in the Possibilities

When asking for Support:

  • Remember, you’re not asking for a savior…you’re asking for support. When you’re more open, you never know where hope is going to come from. We lose perspective – we think “do more” – it’s not possible to do everything on your own. The consequences of that mindset are serious.
  • Think about the 3 things you’re proud of each day. Remind yourself of just HOW much you’re doing.

When setting Healthy Boundaries:

  • Set up boundaries with your family and friends – this way you don’t have a negative association with your loved ones.
  • Give them clear expectations so they’re aware of your boundaries.
  • Be sure to stick to the boundaries you set.

A bigger cultural shift is happening around support, collaboration and mental health.

Public consciousness is changing around collaboration and help, and COVID-19 has forced us to slow down, stop and think about what matters. Mental health is in focus now more than before. However, it’s also a lot more difficult time for many people, especially womxn, due to COVID-19. It is important to define what matters to you – people are wanting to connect more and show up for one another, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Support is Sexy. Don’t think you’re a burden.

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