by Herman Davis: “When you give to others to the degree that you sacrifice yourself, you make the other person a thief.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant, paraphrasing A Course in Miracles
Lately, there’s been a huge myth in our culture and it’s about time we shake it up. This idea that if you always put yourself first, you’re selfish.
When you love another person, for example, (whether it’s a family member, partner, or close friend) you prioritize thinking about their needs, desires, interest and so on, right? Most of us would agree that this makes sense: in other words, we want to make those we love happy; we want them to feel loved and understood.
Loving others, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t love yourself. As a matter of fact, we should all try to cultivate more love for ourselves than we do for our loved ones.
What does that mean? Well, loving yourself, by taking care of yourself first and foremost, ensures that your care for others comes from a place of abundance. To put it a different way, it generates a feeling of already being taken care of from within. As a result, you’ll start to become more of a giving partner, family member, and friend. This is the first step towards investing in yourself.
A big part of the cultural problem is that most people, unconsciously, associate the theory of loving others with forgetting about yourself. Due to this dynamic, people often build up resentment towards others that often goes undiscussed (which can end up hurting the people around us without even realizing it).
The point of this is that in order to give your best, you have to always put yourself first.
Yes, that’s right.
Over your kids, boss, friends, family, cat, and dog. No one benefits from you being in second place.
5 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ALWAYS PUT YOURSELF FIRST
You teach people how to treat you: Usually, when people don’t honor their own needs first, they run the risk of letting others walk all over them. This can be a very slippery slope for some individuals. If you don’t have healthy boundaries, and if you don’t always put yourself first, people pick up on that and will take advantage of it. It’s important to let people know that you honor yourself, and if they come into your personal space, causing lots of problems or seeking to drain you, you will be forced to cut them off quickly.
People don’t get treated unfairly when they have firm, healthy boundaries. They do, however, get treated poorly when they sugarcoat what they really want and allow others to take advantage of them in little bits over time.
By the end of the relationship, they find themselves bent over backward and don’t even realize how it happened. Unfortunately, it happened because the individual allowed it to happen over a period of time.
2. Your health depends on it
This is a pretty self-explanatory one. Taking care of yourself doesn’t just mean monitoring your physical appearance, it also means taking care of your emotional and spiritual well-being. If, for instance, you always feel negative, consider getting help to change this approach, whether by going therapy, reading inspirational books or just spending time around more upbeat people.
Have you ever realized that after a crazy, stressful week of working long hours and feeling overwhelmed, you finally make it to the weekend only to wake up sick and you’re stuck in bed? Well, if you don’t put yourself first, your body will certainly force you to. Stress and lack of sleep have the ability to weaken your body’s immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to all sorts of digestive system ailments which can cause distortion throughout the anatomy. In the long run, it’s not worth the risk.
3. Family and friends will benefit from it.
Do you think that your friends and family don’t realize when they’re talking to you and you’re half asleep or just mentally exhausted? Think again. Remember, these people know you best and, perhaps, love you the most. That being said, they would much rather prefer seeing you happy, healthy, and clear-headed when they interact with you.
Spending time with positive, loving people you care about can help ease the physical effects of stress and improve the way you feel overall. These people can be family members, friends, or a peer counselor at a local community center. In the end, this will help you become a better listener and more enjoyable to be around because you’ll truly be able to be present in the conversation.
When was the last time you were truly alone with nothing but your thoughts? Traditionally, time alone is time spent reflecting. Whether it’s a vision quest, a set of obstacles to overcome, or learning, being by yourself allows you to focus on improvements.
So, whether you’re in a relationship or out looking for one, I’m sure your partner will feel more enamored with you and have a sense of fulfillment in the relationship when you’re not afraid to make yourself a priority. First, by taking the time to focus on yourself, you give your partner the freedom they need to better establish who they are as well. Meaning everybody wins, and everybody’s happy. Second, when you’re well rested, relaxed, and full of energy, you’re much more fun to be around and be with. It’s okay if your partner misses you because you needed to hit the gym, and sit in the hot tub; the version they get afterward will be far more rewarding and stress-free.
5. You’ll find your individual standards of happiness.
It’s important to point out that the term “selfish,” has a different definition for each person. If making other people happy helps make you happy, that’s great. On the other hand, if being completely alone watching Netflix does the trick for you, then that’s fine too. The moral is to live for yourself and to make decisions that make you happy and feel a sense of belonging. When you start to live for other people and feel guilty about some of the choices you make that benefit you, you’ve crossed a fine line. Although you can’t please everyone, you can please yourself and please those around you who care for you.
Don’t forget about yourself in this life, you only get one! The takeaway here is that you cannot under any circumstance work with your foot constantly on the gas pedal. Much like a car, you need to regularly switch the engine off in order to perform maintenance. Rather than waiting for problems to arrive, you can simply minimize problems from occurring by putting yourself first. After all, when you always put yourself first, you boost your physical and mental well-being.