“What?” “Put myself first?” “What, are you crazy?” “That’s so selfish.”
Somewhere down the line, we began to believe the lie that the more tired we are, the more we do for others and the more often we put ourselves last, the more honourable we are. Last time I checked, there was no prize given to the person who burnt out first, who got the least amount of sleep, or who abandoned their happiness. In fact, the ‘reward’ for those things is usually resentment, exhaustion, displaced anger, and stress.
The truth of the matter is, the quicker we form the habit and the more we practice being self-centered, selfish, and putting ourselves first, the more we, and everyone around us benefits. For instance, if you get yourself to bed at a decent hour, wake up and have enough time to be alone for a few minutes, make and drink a coffee, tea or smoothie, stretch, and maybe even meditate or pray before you have to wake everyone else in the house up, or head out into the busy world, how much more peaceful and relaxed would you be?
When you rush to get everyone ready and rush to work and demands are being made of you before you can even take your seat, you scoff. I mean how dare someone who expects you to arrive prepared to work, throw work at you as soon as you get in?
When you put yourself first, you do so because you know that it is only when you are filled, content, and your needs are met that you can be of genuine service to others. The responsibility of taking care of yourself is yours and yours alone. Well meaning spouses, partners, children and parents can look after you and do for you. But, only you know when and what you need.
Putting yourself first, especially to parents, has become quite the foreign concept. We have decided to believe that to be selfless equals nobility. But, when you consistently place the needs and demands of others before yours, you actively choose not to take care of yourself. And, when you’re run down and burnt out, who will take care of all the things and people you’ve been putting before yourself?
It is only out of abundance, fulfilment, love, and life that you can give. Just like when you have money in the bank you can spend or give, your life is the same. It is your responsibility to deposit into yourself. You take what you need and you give to others what you have left, which is plenty! Steal away a few minutes a day, a few hours a week. Whatever it takes for you to function from a place of fullness. You do no one a favour when you give your all and have none left over for yourself.
And don’t even get me started on learning to say “no” sometimes.
Practice centering yourself; literally be self-centered and put yourself first.
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