Quick question: Is it really selfish to make yourself a priority? 🙇🏿♀️
Depending on what your answer is, another question may pop up in your head: Why do we always fail to prioritize ourselves? 🤷🏿♀️
Personally, I have lived most part of my life (to be honest, until recently) with the belief or assumption that good people put others before them – that success and good things always happen to those who always and without hesitation, “do the right thing” – that I will live a good life if I put the needs of others ahead of my own
Well, is this not what conventional wisdom typically tells us?
Let’s not forget that in the bible, it literally states, “Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself.” Philippians 2:3-4
So over time, from the early stages of our lives, we have internalized the idea that we are to be caregivers, to take care of ourselves, only once we have made everyone else happy. We hold on to this misrepresented idea that it is selfish to do things for ourselves, to prioritize our own needs.
Hold on, do not misinterpret what I am saying. Selflessness is virtue, I agree. I, for sure, understand and support the philosophy behind this. This world as it is, definitely could use some benevolence. We should always make room for those who have a genuine and authentic concern for the well-being of others (especially in hard times like this. God save us from the plague of coronavirus)
Yet, it is this way of thinking that can lead to distress and sometimes leave us “caregivers” with feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and resentment.
We operate under the assumption that if we give and give and give that it will come back to us in wonderful and fulfilling ways, and life will be all sunshine and dandelions.
But honestly guys, is that how it really works? 🤔
Why? Because there is something missing in all of this – OUR OWN NEEDS.
“You can’t pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first” remember that phrase?
After all, if we are not making ourselves and our needs a priority, what kind of message are we sending to our subconscious? That our needs are not as important? That they should take a seat back to everyone else’s?
Consider what this might do to our self-esteem. I certainly know the effect it had on mine.
On a similar note, what kind of message does this send to the people in our lives? If you are constantly putting someone else’s needs above your own, this might cause others to depreciate you, or lose some respect for you.
The irony here is that,-in meeting our own needs – we become more capable to meet the needs of those around us.
preshgaza (that’s her IG handle) on “Signs that show you lack boundaries” gave a couple of list:
1. You find decision making a real challenge. Without healthy boundaries, you can end up spending so much of your life doing what others want that you lose a sense of self.
2. You don’t know how to say no
3. If you eventually try and say no, you are consumed with unhealthy guilt and anxiety. Even for the smallest things.
4. You over share details of your private life with people you just met, leaving you open to hurt and manipulation.
5. You secretly feel that others don’t show you respect
Boundaries give others a manual on how you expect to be treated and what behavior you will allow. How can this be possible? Well, I think we can link that to self-prioritization.
So here are 30 ways to make yourself your number one priority:
1. Take time to go inward. Stop making excuses and start setting aside a piece of your day for mental health.
2. Listen to your body. You, like practically everyone else, probably don’t listen to your body like you should. Only by tuning in to how you feel moment-to-moment can you truly take care of yourself.
3. Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. That may sound extreme, but that is the point. Once you grant yourself the permission to refuse to do those things that don’t feel right to you, you also learn the difference between something that is merely convenient and something that is not true to who you are.
4. Stop saying “yes” to everyone. When you take control of your decisions instead of letting others navigate your way for you, you take back your power.
5. Breathe. Seriously. Just breathe. When you feel stressed, overwhelmed or scared, stop and mindfully show your breath!
6. Nourish your body.
7. Nourish your mind.
8. Trust your instincts.
9. If you need rest, then rest. Sometimes you need to allow yourself a break. For real!
10. If you need physical activity, schedule it.
11. Don’t push aside your needs for the needs of others. Being selfish isn’t a bad thing. It has such a negative connotation, but don’t be afraid of owning your needs and making surethey are met.
12. Know that you are enough.
13. Indulge yourself – whatever that means to you.
14. Be okay asking for help.
15. Think before you answer. Before you agree to something or offer assistance, first make sure it’s coming from an authentic place. Otherwise you’ll end up resenting your own choice.
16. Reflect on what you do. It is a good way to learn more about yourself and what you need and want.
17. Open up and be kind.
18. DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS INTO YOUR HEAD. If you do not have a strong sense of self, it is easy to let others sway you to make you feel bad about yourself and your choices.
19. Know that someone else’s reaction is not about you. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the realization that you cannot control how others react to you. When you let go of this responsibility, it allows you to be truly be who you are without fear or anxiety.
20. Spend your money on what you want.
21. Be honest about your limits. Don’t overwork yourself, overshare yourself with others or exhaust yourself trying to make everyone happy. Not worth it.
22. Ask for what you want and need.
23. Believe in yourself
24. GET RID OF ANYONE WHO BRINGS NEGATIVITY TO YOUR LIFE. Even Gabrielle Union said it’s one of the reasons she looks so young. It can be difficult to remove people from your world, but it has to be done. It is best for everyone in the long run. You don’t need their bad energy and they need a wakeup call.
25. SPEAK POSITIVELY TO YOURSELF.
26. Dance like no one is watching. Literally. Give yourself the permission to be exactly who you are all the time and stop caring what other people think of you. Be free and open and alive! This makes you the priority instead of their opinions.
27. Try everything you have always wanted to do. Just go on and try it!
28. Venture out alone. Get out of our comfort zone!
29. Don’t allow others to put their agenda on you. If you let yourself get caught up in the drama and gossip of others, you are not putting your needs first. You are letting themsway you, so don’t do it. Stay positive and stay focused on what’s important.
30. Spread love everyone! Give love to someone just for the sake of doing so!