When it comes to life, many people put others before themselves. They focus on taking care of their loved ones, their friends, and their co-workers before they take care of themselves. While that’s a noble and considerate thing to do, it can also be detrimental to your health and well-being.
In order to be your best self and provide the most value to those around you, you need to start by putting yourself first.
I don’t mean in the selfish, egotistical sense; I mean really put yourself first.
Have you ever tried to put yourself first? It’s not easy, is it?
We’re taught from a young age to put others first- to put our family’s needs before our own, to put our friends’ needs before our own. And don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes, we need to put ourselves first to maintain our sanity.
Just like the saying goes; “put your own oxygen mask on first, before helping others”
We need to put our own needs and wants before those of others and it goes against everything we’ve been taught.
But it’s important.
Because if we don’t put ourselves first, who will? If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we take care of others? If we’re not happy, how can we make those around us happy?
Is Putting Yourself First Selfish?
There’s a common misconception that putting yourself first is the same thing as being selfish. However, there is a key difference between the two.
When you put yourself first, you are making a conscious decision to practice self-love by taking care of your own needs. This might mean saying no to others, setting boundaries, and/or taking some time for yourself. It can be difficult to do, but it’s important to remember that your needs are just as valid as anyone else’s.
On the other hand, being selfish means putting your own needs above those of others, without any regard for how it might impact them. It’s about taking what you want, without considering how it might affect those around you.
While both methods put you first, only one does it at the expense of others.
Why Is It Important to Put Yourself First?
To Fill Your Own Cup
The first and most important reason to put yourself first is because you can’t pour from an empty cup. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.
This means that you need to put your own needs above those of others. When you do this, you’ll be able to show up as the best version of yourself in all areas of your life. You’ll have more energy, more patience, and more compassion.
All of these things are essential in being a good friend, partner, parent, or employee.
To Care For Your Mental Health and Well Being
In our fast-paced, constantly-connected world, it’s easy to forget to put yourself first. We are always juggling work, family, and social obligations, and it can be hard to find time for ourselves. However, making time for self-care is essential for maintaining our mental health.
When we put ourselves first, we are investing in our own wellbeing. We are taking the time to recharge and refocus, so that we can be better equipped to deal with the demands of everyday life.
So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a step back and put yourself first. It just might be the best thing you can do for your mental health.
Help Manage Stress
When it comes to managing stress, one of the most important things you can do is put yourself first. This means taking time for yourself, doing things that make you happy, and setting boundaries with other people.
It can be easy to put your own needs last, but when you do this, it only leads to more stress in the long run. When you put yourself first, you give yourself the opportunity to take care of yourself so that you can be in a better position to handle whatever life throws your way.
When you make your own wellbeing a priority, you’ll find it easier to manage your stress levels and stay focused on what’s important.
To Live A Happy and Fulfilled Life
Putting others needs ahead of your own can cause you to disregard and completely go against your own morals and values. It can ultimately leave you feeling terrible about yourself and unhappy.
Unfortunately, I used to put everyone’s needs ahead of my own, in an effort to please them or because I thought it was the right thing to do.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I found that when I started putting my own needs first, I started feeling less miserable, exhausted, and unappreciated. Not only that, but I was also able to stick to my morals and values more strongly. Sticking to my morals and values helped me to feel less terrible about myself because I was no longer going against what I truly believed.
Ultimately, putting myself first helped me to experience more happiness within myself and my life.
5 Ways How To Put Yourself First
1. Make Time For Yourself
In order to put yourself first, you need to make time for yourself every day. This means setting aside time each day to do something that makes you happy.
It doesn’t have to be anything big or time-consuming. It can be something as simple as reading a book, taking a walk, or giving yourself the time and space to sing or dance to your favourite song. The important thing is that you’re making time for yourself on a daily basis, which can lead to a happier life overall.
2. Understand What Makes You Happy
In order to put yourself first, you need to know what brings you happiness, peace or joy, and know what completely drains you. This might sound like an obvious point, but it’s important to really take the time to think about what fills and empties your cup.
You can’t live life from an empty cup.
For me, I know that doing things like dancing, working out, and going for a long walk helps me to feel happier.
When you know what makes you happy, it’s easier to put yourself first because you can make choices that will lead to more happiness in your life
3. Learn To Say No
Once you understand what brings you joy and what drains you, it’s important that you start learning how to say no. Learning to say no was pretty difficult for me and I know it might be difficult for you as well.
When you put yourself first, you might have to say no to things that you would normally say yes to.
For example, if you’re invited to a party but you’re feeling tired, it’s okay to say no. If you don’t want to go out to dinner with friends but would rather stay in and relax, that’s okay too.
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person – it just means that you’re prioritizing your own needs.
Saying no can be hard, but it’s a necessary part of putting yourself first. It’s important to remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you’re saying no. Just be polite and firm in your answer.
4. Talk To Yourself More
One of the best ways to practice putting yourself first is to talk to yourself. This may sound silly, but it’s actually a very powerful tool.
By talking to yourself, you’re reminding yourself of your own worth. It’s a way of saying, “I matter, too.” It can help you to put yourself first when you’re feeling overwhelmed by other people’s needs. Talking to yourself can also help you to be more mindful of your own feelings and needs. This can be a valuable tool when making decisions about how to spend your time and energy.
So next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or burned out, try talking to yourself. It just might be the self-care boost you need.
5. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is another important part of putting yourself first. This means learning to say no when you need to, setting limits on your time and energy, and being assertive about your needs.
It can be difficult to set boundaries, especially if you’re used to people-pleasing. But it’s so important to do in order to protect yourself from burnout.
If you’re not sure how to set boundaries, start by thinking about what you need in order to feel happy and healthy. Then, communicate those needs to the people in your life. Be assertive and don’t be afraid to say no when necessary. Remember that you have a right to put yourself first – even if it means setting some boundaries.
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean that you’re selfish or that you don’t care about others. It simply means that you are taking care of your own wants and needs so that you can be the best possible version of yourself.
This allows you to experience more happiness and be more content with your life. When you put yourself first, everyone around you benefits from it. So put yourself first today and see how it positively impacts your life.