Is it selfish to make your self a priority?
Are we destined to be martyrs? To only get the crumbs of energy left at the end of the day once everyone and everything else is taken care of? We say it’s worth it to put ourselves first! Here’s how.
Putting others before ourselves is a motto women live by every day. The problem with this mindset, though, is that it can build resentment, anger and frustration. We feel like we’re trapped and we don’t have the power to change our reality. It becomes impossible to find lasting happiness when our tanks are running on empty because we have ignored our internal voices or the messages our bodies are giving us regarding what we actually need. Instead, we simply plow through the day to get the to-do lists done and attend to whoever else needs us, while neglecting ourselves in the process.
1. IF IT DOESN’T FEEL GOOD, WHY DO WE KEEP DOING IT?
Many of us do this because of faulty belief systems. First, then, we have to identify where these beliefs come from.
From a young age, many generations of women have lived with the belief that they couldn’t possibly put themselves first. Traditionally, our societies have been male-dominated, so it makes sense that in the past we were the caregivers, the stay-at- homers, the ones to compromise and make peace at any cost. Perhaps we were told it is selfish to look after our own needs when we had children in the house who depended on us. We’ve all been subject to these outmoded ideas passed down though our families. Sometimes it’s easiest to just keep repeating the pattern, giving it power, and other times we may not even realize we’re taking on everyone else’s wants and needs because it’s become a habit.
If you’ve been living by this flawed perception, you need to ask yourself: Does it feel good? And just because someone else believes this to be true, does it need to be my truth? Is it possible that I can upgrade live a more empowered life filled with happiness? The answer is yes. However, in order to upgrade any belief system, you need to replace it with a new one. You need to reprogram your brain to believe a new truth, one that’s in alignment with your most happy and whole self.
2. USE POSITIVE TALK TO MAKE CARING FOR YOURSELF A PRIORITY
One powerful way to do this is through the use of affirmations. An affirmation used in the right way can allow us to adopt a new truth. We all know that words have the power to make us feel good or bad. Affirmations are one way we can change the dialogue we’re used to hearing.
3. NOURISH YOURSELF FIRST AND YOU’LL HAVE MORE ENERGY FOR OTHERS
If you think of your body as energy, then you can understand that we need to replen ish our energy every day. Many of us act as though we’re robots. We drain the tank and expect to still have patience, compassion and tolerance for everyone else.
The truth is that the best version of you gets to come forward when you take care of you first. When you nourish your own energy, you have more energy for others. Not only does it feel good, but the people closest to you get the best version of you as well. So, in fact, it is the opposite of selfish; it is actually selfless. Our bodies were not meant to work nonstop. We’re designed to listen to our bodies and give them what they need. And for most, this is daily nourishment in the form of the idea, “What fills your cup?”
4. THE FIRST STEP TOWARD POSITIVE CHANGE IS TO LET YOURSELF HAVE IT
Give yourself permission to figure out what nourishes you the most. Make a list (either written or mental) of all the things that make you feel good when you do them, the things that energize you. These could include walking outdoors, meditation, unplugging from technology, a bubble bath, journaling, exercising, eating healthy meals, reading or just a quiet time with a cup of tea. Encourage yourself to think of things you like to do, things that you can do daily to replenish. These don’t need to cost money or even take up too much time, but they can be so effective in how you feel each day.
5. DEVELOP A DAILY SELF-CARE PRACTICE—AND STICK TO IT
After that, the key is to create consistency with your form of self-love. This is where many of us fail. We might do these things once in a while, when we remember or when we have time. But in truth, to really make yourself a priority, this needs to be a daily habit, like brushing your teeth.
Many people have found that developing morning and evening routines are some of the best ways to build sustainability around self-care. The main benefit of a morning routine is that you have the chance to take care of yourself first, before any unpredictable things happen. It also gets you in a positive frame of mind to start your day. Likewise, an evening routine is wonderful to settle yourself before sleep, to wind down after whatever stresses the day has brought.
Here’s a tip: Monitor your self-care routines by setting a weekly intention down on paper and tracking the results. You can also book appointments in your calendar for “nourishment time.” This acts not only as a reminder but can also get you into the groove of consistently choosing yourself.
After putting these into daily practice, get curious with a few things. Notice how your energy feels; notice how you might have more patience; notice that you actually might be smiling more.
The truth is that no one can give you permission to make yourself a priority but you. You are the one who has the power over how and what you prioritize in your daily life. When we learn to love ourselves on a deeper level by choosing self-care first, we then inspire the people around us to do the same. But most importantly, we get to live with more smiles; we choose ultimate happiness when we choose the self. Happiness is something we can all use a little more of, but we need to connect the dots to the choices we make each moment and how this can create either more happiness or more disharmony. We can’t look to anyone else to make us happy; we can only give ourselves that power.
The best part of making these changes is that when we realize that we’re in charge of our happiness, we can start to make more choices around our own fulfillment. The key is to remember that even small adjustments each day can make a huge impact in your overall mental health and well-being. And most importantly, remember that you’re worth it!
EFFECTIVE WAYS TO USE AFFIRMATIONS
1. Build “I am” or “I have” statements. For example: “I am worthy of making myself a priority.” “I am my best self when I take care of me first.” “I am nourished, full of love and energy, and I have time to replenish.”
2. Repeat these “I” statements throughout the day anytime the thought of not having enough time crops up or you notice the negative results of the pattern of neglecting your needs.
3. Feel gratitude. When we use the “I” statements, we feel with our hearts the gratitude of this new truth. It feels wonderful, so bring it into your heart centre. This will make the statement more believable to your subconscious mind, and you’ll begin to change the way you show up for yourself.
Build Consistency Around Self-Care
- Set morning and evening routines.
- Track them to hold yourself accountable.
- Book "nourishment time" appointments in your calendar.