Don’t allow others to consume you. If they don’t call, go to sleep. If they don’t message you, put away your phone and have a blessed day. If they are distant and refuse to tell you what’s wrong, go home and do something fun. You live for yourself first. They are secondary. - Unknown
Perhaps it sounds too harsh, or maybe a bit too selfish, but it is none of those. In fact, it is the opposite of those.
Most people misinterpret it when you say, “put yourself first” to mean “be selfish”. It doesn’t mean that you are self-absorbed and don’t care about other people, but that you have healthy boundaries.
Need to practice some self-love? Check out this article next! Why You Come First? The Importance of Self-Love
Putting yourself first means you know:
In fact, trying to be another person’s superhero actually spoils the person you are going all out for. It can make them helpless, weak, and dependent. Other times, it simply diminishes your joy and quality of life. Either way - not good.
People must be allowed to take care of their own problems – including kids.
If you always carry the baby, the baby would never learn to walk. You must allow them to struggle when it is necessary. Keeping the baby from injuring themselves is your responsibility, what is not your responsibility is always bringing the toy to them.
A lot of people grow up with unhealthy mindsets. A lot of people have boundary issues and this means that sometimes they would expect you to do their work for them. It is not your job.
Putting yourself first is all about a question of prioritizing, and understanding your obligations – and those that are not.
You don't have to:
Even when the people you care about hold back, you should let them be – it is their decision, and you have shown you cared. You don’t have to beat yourself up for someone else’s internal struggles.
Depending on your values, your priorities can range from your health, family, job/business first, then the community and the rest of the world. First things must be first – then others.
The truth is that everything and everyone is connected.
Your self-care practices would ultimately put you in a good position to do your job, which then enables you to take care of your family.
Your family (which is now well taken care of) would go on to become part of a larger community. That community would proceed to interact with the rest of the world – in a healthy and constructive way.
They say “charity begins at home.” Perhaps, it should have been, “charity begins within you." If you don’t love yourself, how can you love others? Love yourself enough to put yourself first.
Ignoring your mental, physical, or emotional health would affect your family and even the person/organization who wants to distract you from that obligation you owe yourself. The obligation of doing the best for, and taking care of yourself.
You must learn to take care of yourself first because as the cliché goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup."
In other words, enrich yourself first, in order to be able to enrich others.
This involves eating right, and healthy, as well as working out regularly. You must give your body the nutrients it needs, and keep it lively with exercise.
The things you say to your ears are as important as the things you eat with your mouth. You must learn to not always criticize yourself but to encourage and speak positivity to yourself.
As much as work is important, you don’t have to work yourself to death. Learn to take breaks and even vacations.
To do this, you can set milestones that you want to hit, after which you are entitled to treat yourself. When it is time for your treat – sleep, vacation, or recreations – don’t let anything rob you of that.
Before you take any course of action, ensure that it perfectly aligns with your values. You don’t have to do anything that makes you feel terrible. No matter how much others seem to justify it.
You also have to ensure that your actions align with your goals – or at least, that they don’t deter or distract you from them.
There are a lot of good courses/ambitions/goals to engage in, and even pour your resources into (time, money, and energy). But you have to put yourself first, by clearly defining which aligns with your goals, and then sticking to those – forsaking all others.
You “can’t” decide to commandeer space exploration, revolutionize car travel, and take care of 7 kids all at once – (Unless, of course, you are Elon Musk - and you can bet he has a lot of help and boundaries.)
Anyway, you get the gist. For any of these to happen, you must not allow other people’s opinions, and emotional manipulations to get to you.
Remember you are the primary character in this movie called “your life”, and all others are secondary – so, keep it that way. You don’t have to ignore them or make them your antagonists, but you don’t have to lose yourself for them either. Put yourself first.