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Some people have ZERO problems putting themselves first. They naturally consider themselves a priority in all aspects of life and are completely fulfilled in their own world. In this post, we are not talking to those individuals. If that’s you, congratulations. You have graduated ahead of this class. You rock and you have my permission to move on to the next post! 🙂 However, if you are like the rest of us, you may find the thought of putting yourself before others not only challenging, but downright selfish. Who would actually want to do THAT? Well, this post is for YOU. Let’s talk a little bit about the importance and benefits of putting yourself first.
How many of us are guilty of giving and giving and giving of ourselves until we have nothing left over at the end of the day? How many of us wonder why we often feel stressed, overworked, underappreciated, and downright empty inside? Are you the kind of person who forgets just how important you are because you are constantly putting others first? Spouses, children, family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. are all counting on YOU to meet their needs, right? And you HAVE to live up to their expectations and fulfill their desires consistently or you will be deemed a horrible person, right? Ummmmmm, NO!!!
Putting Yourself First is Hard
As children, teenagers, and even young adults, we tend to have no problems putting ourselves first. Our own needs and desires in these phases tend to take priority above others, and we make sure our needs are met (be it by our own means or by the means of others). It’s natural, it’s human nature. It’s all good.
But what the heck happens as we get older, grow our careers, get married, have children, and so on? Where do we get off course on the self-prioritization train? When do we adopt the mindset that making ourselves a priority is a bad thing? I don’t know exactly when it happens (as that timing might differ from person to person), but I do know that it happens. Once we’ve hit that mark, it can be hard to understand that we have to be diligent in putting our needs first sometimes, no matter how selfish it may seem. Self-care and self-love should not be an option, it should be a priority.
Putting Yourself First is Necessary
I will speak as a wife and mother of three. I am 100% guilty of putting my children first, and I constantly fight the feelings of not being a “good enough” wife. It can weigh me down. Over the years I have forgotten how important I am and how to put my needs first. I find myself constantly making sure everyone else is taken care of, and then I am the priority on Mother’s Day, my birthday, and maybe our wedding anniversary. Wait. What???
It truly hit me earlier this year that this concept is extremely unbalanced. Why am I having such a hard time taking the time to put myself first? Why do I feel guilty putting my needs before those of my husband and children? Easy answer. We love others so much that we want to make sure they are completely taken care of in every way. But what about my needs? Is it wrong for me to want MY needs met too? Am I selfish for wanting to do the things in life that bring me joy (and sometimes those things do not involve my husband or children)?
I have concluded that the answer is AB-SO-LUTE-LY NOT! Not only it is NOT selfish to put myself first sometimes, it’s absolutely necessary for my happiness, well being, and overall good/balanced health. If I don’t take care of me, who will?
Putting Yourself First is Beneficial
Let’s take a second to work on a visual exercise. Imagine you are holding an empty cup (and if your coffee cup is empty, physically pick it up and read this before going for the next refill – ha!). Now, turn the cup over and imagine what is spilling from the cup. What is that, you say? Nothing? Correct. Nothing comes out of an empty cup. Do you see where I’m going here?
You can only give to others what you have an abundance of. If you are overflowing with happiness, you can pass that on to others. When your cup is full of self-love, the overflow will cause others to feel love. If you make yourself a priority and take the time to fill yourself up with the things in life that regenerate your spirit, then the people closest to you in life will reap all of the benefits. Those same people that we work so hard to take care of in life will actually benefit more from the fact that we take care of ourselves first!
Putting Yourself First is Beautiful
Crazy concept here to some of us, but it’s true. You cannot give what you don’t have. Give yourself permission to take a break. If you have forgotten what brings you joy as an individual (not as a parent, spouse, friend, etc.), be intentional about rediscovering you. Let go of the guilt, relinquish the fear, and give yourself permission to put YOU at the top of your to-do list today. Find some time to fill up your cup, put yourself first, be best friends with YOU…and the rest will fall into place.
What will you do to put yourself first today? Here are a couple of sources to help motivate the process.
Find more Mindset Monday inspiration HERE and we’ll talk soon!
Wishing you self-love, happiness, and a cup overflowing with joy…