I contemplated this title for a while, but it still doesn’t sound right to me. In our society, putting ourselves first has a bad reputation. It’s selfish. It’s inconsiderate. Why would I ever promote such a thing?
I am talking about this because too many of us badly need to hear this message. I am writing about it because too many of us are putting ourselves last. We place the needs and desires of our partners, children, friends, and sometimes even strangers, well ahead of our own. We have traveled so far from selfishness that it would take years to get back to normal. Starting from the purest desires and best of intentions, too many of us find ourselves living lives of self-sacrifice and, consequently, self-neglect. I am writing an article about how to put ourselves first because, for some of us, this is the only way to breathe life back into our existence.
Imagine all of your time and energy as a pie. How much of the pie do you devote to your partner? How much do you devote to your children? Your friends? You job? Your chores? … Now how much is left for you? Too often, the answer is “nothing.”
Some of us live our lives as if we don’t deserve any of our own time and energy. We work at jobs that bring us no satisfaction, and we spend all of our free time pleasing others. “What about me?” Your body and soul may be crying out. The aches and pains crying out for help. The depression and anxiety, all pointing to the fact that there is a REAL PROBLEM: You have deserted yourself. And it’s killing you.
But the solution has been there all along. Your pie, your time and energy, can be used to save you. But you will need to cut yourself a bigger slice.
Maybe you were hoping that in exchange for your love and care, others will take care of you. You may have already noticed that this doesn’t work. Even with the best of intentions, others simply are not as well positioned to help us as we are. Helping ourselves is by far the most efficient and effective way to take care of ourselves and our lives.
Learn to put yourself first. Yes, first. Before your job. Before your friends and, yes, before your partner. You come 1st!
By that I mean that you take care of your own needs before taking care of the needs of others. You should take your needs and desires seriously. Give yourself the highest priority. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care for others. Not at all. It’s just that you do that when your needs have been met. You attend to the desires of others once yours have been attended to. At the very least, put yourself on par with other important people in your life.
If your own well-being is not a good enough reason, I have compiled some more reasons for why you should put yourself first.
1) MORE APPRECIATION
Do you ever feel as if nobody appreciates you? Do you give, and give, and give, and nobody seems to even notice how hard all this is for you? When you start to put yourself first, suddenly others notice when you give them a piece of your pie. They stop taking you for granted, because you are no longer always there, eager to give. When you are more discriminating about giving away your time, energy, and money, others become a lot more appreciative.
2) MORE RESPECT
By putting yourself first, you automatically exhibit self-respect – and when you exhibit self-respect, others begin to respect you. You deserve to put yourself first, and you deserve respect. When others see that you treat yourself well, they are sure to follow suit.
3) You will be more fun to be around
People that put themselves first, who take good care of their needs and desires, are more rested and relaxed. But even more importantly, people who take care of themselves are happier. And we all know that happier people are more pleasant to be around. By taking care of yourself first, you become a lot more fun to be around. In fact, taking care of yourself first can create an almost magnetic force, causing people to gravitate towards you.
4) set a good example
If you have children, what kind of adults do you want them to grow into? Remember that actions speak louder than words. Whether we want them to or not, our children follow in our footsteps. If we want our children to take care of themselves, to take their own needs and desires seriously, there isn’t a more effective way than by demonstrating this behaviour by adopting it ourselves.
But it doesn’t only apply to our children. You will affect almost everyone in your path. Friends, co-workers, and spouses all tend to imitate each other to some degree. If you take care of yourself, this will encourage others in your life to follow suit.
5) Life will get better
But, the most important reason to put yourself first, is because it will improve every aspect of your life. What used to feel impossible will suddenly become easy. What you only dreamed of before, will suddenly become reality. We have an incredible amount of resources at our disposal. We have 24 hours in a day, a beating heart, and money in our bank account. Once you begin to devote more of your own resources to improving your own life, a wonderful thing happen: your life improves.
Believe me, I’ve been there. Starting to put yourself first is not easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult paths that I have ever traveled I am still learning. But it has already been incredibly rewarding.
Put yourself first. Take care of yourself first. Pay attention to your own needs and desires, and find the courage to do something about them.
Cut yourself a bigger piece of pie.