Putting yourself first without apology.
Doesn’t it seem quite unnatural that we are led to believe that others have to come first, and that you yourself come second? It can seem quite confusing-to put others first and forget about your own needs. It happens all the time.
The boss has work that she needs and wants from you.
The children have needs and wants all the time.
Your partner has their own needs and wants.
Your parents have their own needs and wants.
The clients, customers and the service providers want your services and products. On any given day, where does that leave you?
I believe that we are all here to be of service to one another. That may be our family, friends, business colleagues, customers and so on. However, I’ve learnt that hard way that it can’t be at the expense of our own needs. None of us should be losing ourselves in order to give to another. As a single parent, as a business person, as a professional, as a parent, as a carer, as a partner, life can seem like it’s all go-go-go. The only person who can slow the momentum down is yourself.
You see, I starved myself by putting others first; By giving away money to others before feeding myself, paying bills rather than buying food, buying food that wasn’t exactly nurturing but was cheap enough to eat. I’m also talking about emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Early on, I would put my famil
y’s needs first without a question of doubt about my own needs, during my early teens I would always put my friends first in order to have friends. I had been led to believe that “Other people come first. You’ve got to put others first, and give them all you can. You do matter, but not the same way that others do” Isn’t this flawed?
The consequences of always putting others first meant that I would often be disappointed when the other person was ungrateful to my efforts, disrespected me by asking for more and more, more of the time. There was no reciprocation, and all the efforts to give, give, give were just exhausting me. I was burnout, disappointed, tried, stressed, angry and sooooo lost within myself. I couldn’t see a way out. I was argumentative and confrontational with anyone that would ask more from me-my mum, my boss, my partner etc. All I really wanted to say was ‘Leave me alone, I need to be here myself’.
Here’s the thing, we can only give to others as much as we have given to ourselves. We can only give to others when we have found the reservoir of love, respect, patience, compassion and kindness in ourselves.
So, start balancing ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. I don’t buy into the whole thing is ‘say yes more’ or ‘say no more’. If you consider yourself a people pleaser, practise saying ‘no’. Balance the two. Put yourself first and learn to understand your own needs and wants. There are valid, they have a place and they deserve to be acknowledged and met.
•Allocate time for yourself with meditation, time to exercise, time to sit and reflect.
•Take time to process.
•Take time to be creative and explore new solutions.
•Make time for yourself without apology.
•Make space to have fun for yourself!
•Ask for what you want, and you’ll know the answer.
If you are not putting yourself first, you are going to have to work harder to keep giving to others. By all means, love others, take care of them, be there for them. However redress the balance so that you are putting yourself first IN ORDER to be there more for others. By putting my emotional needs, mental, physical and spiritual needs first, my personal relationships are energised, dynamic and understanding, my work is creative, fun and ever-expanding, my mental health and physical health is stable and secure.
Love IS giving. But love can only be GIVING, when you have found it in you, for yourself and THEN you give to others by sharing it.
Share your thoughts below: How are you putting your needs first? How are you putting others first?
What can you do to make sure you have time for yourself? Thanks for sharing!