We don’t talk enough about how important it is to put yourself first. There, I said it.
As a society (y, not é), we place SO much emphasis on the idea of being a good person. And here at SOCIÉTÉ, you know we’re all about goodness. But we also tend to think that happiness is pretty great too!
Most of the time, goodness and happiness do tend to go hand in hand. But what happens when we think we’re doing good when actually, our actions are directly affecting our happiness?
This is usually what happens when you’re not conscious of your needs and filling up your own cup.
Now, I could dive into the whole ‘put your own oxygen mask on first’ theory, but I won’t. Because you’ve heard that all before and you don’t come here to get the same old standard advice you get anywhere else now do you!
Instead, I want you to understand why your needs matter. I also want you to know that it’s okay to put yourself first, then learn how to do it.
But before we dive on into the delicious details, it’s essential that you appreciate why this is important. When you get the reasoning, it’s so much easier to adopt the habits.
So let’s have at it.
Do you instantly assume that putting yourself first is a selfish thing to do?
It’s okay, you’re not alone. It seems to be something that many people worry about. But here’s the thing. It’s actually the opposite of being selfish.
You want to be good and do good, don’t you? You adore taking care of your loved ones and making others happy. But it’s not always easy to do that when you’re depleted.
This is why you have to charge up your own energy in order to give to others. It’s also the exact reason why putting yourself first is the epitome of self-care.
You heard that right.
Because putting yourself first is not about only ever thinking of yourself or doing whatever you want. Simply put, it’s the process of making sure that your needs are met!
And if at this point, you’re still a little afraid of making a change or you’re worried others will judge you, remember this. If you want others to be happy, you have to be happy first.
Even if you don’t feel worthy or believe you don’t deserve to put yourself above others, you’re going to become a light of positivity, energy, and happiness to everyone else in your life when your needs are met.
Now, let’s take a look at how you can do this!
So, we’re going to start this process by reframing.
Don’t think of this as putting yourself first. Instead, you’re prioritizing.
We all need to establish priorities in life, because we can’t do it all. By not putting everyone else’s needs above your own, you’re focusing on what will allow you to give and give well.
Because it’s really all about balance.
Let’s take your health as an example. When you’re putting a workout or nourishing your body first, you’ll have more energy, be more productive, and feel happier in general. So, it’s totally okay to put working out at the top of your list.
But not only that, if you make sure that things like rest and relaxation, creativity and work, or quality time with your sweetheart are a part of your day, you’ll feel more grounded.
Because the thing is, when you prioritize and you make time for the things that are important to you, stress and fear and resentment and negativity start to fade away.
They always do when happiness takes over.
It’s one thing to set priorities each and every day, but what happens when you don’t know exactly what those priorities should be?
This is why it’s crucial for you to understand your needs.
Now, this doesn’t have to be a big thing where you’re trying to uncover crazy big needs that you think will make you happy. It’s more about understanding what you need to feel centred, energized, and content.
It could meditation, exercise, healthy food, date nights, reading time, pampering time, a creative outlet, time for a passion or interest.
It does matter what the it is, you just need to know what it is!
Often, we spend so much time focusing on our responsibilities and what others need from us, that we have no idea what we need ourselves.
But spending some time to work out what will feed your soul and give you a new lease of life is exactly what you need to do to make it happen.
Sometimes, the idea of prioritizing your needs and actually doing it can be two very different things.
Because how do you go about changing your habits and attempting to essentially live in a brand new way?
The trick is to create boundaries. Now, having boundaries can be a whole new ball game in itself. But this really will help you to put your own needs first.
It’s important for you to have very clear boundaries around what helps you to stay energized and positive and what drains you.
Last minute requests, those that ask too much of you, anything that takes advantage of your nature – it’s okay to decide that your needs and responsibilities come first above anything like this that doesn’t serve you.
Managing expectations here and communicating with loved ones that this could affect will really help you to set those boundaries in place.
And then comes the action that allows you to have better boundaries. Saying no.
We’re not going to pretend that it’s just that easy. Because it’s not. Having to say no can be so hard to do.
When you don’t want to rock the boat or let anyone down, saying no can seem like the most impossible thing to do. But it’s time to use it as a way of protecting yourself.
You know that you need to put yourself first. You know that you have to fill up your own cup. So now it’s time to know that you have to say no.
Saying no to those last minute requests or those that ask too much of you will be so freeing. We can’t do it all and it’s not okay to feel burnt out.
So, say no. Say no to things that just aren’t a priority or that will bring you more stress. As scary as it is to do, you’ll soon realize it works when you’re feeling more in control of your life.
Then, you need to make sure that you’re doing the things to rest and recharge. This should be a non-negotiable for all of us.
If you want to bring joy and goodness to the lives of others, you have to be in a good place.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be 100% happy, 100% of the time. But it does mean that you should feel calm and refreshed as much as possible.
Being on the go isn’t glamorous, it’s damaging. Not being able to sleep or eating bad or struggling with anxiety isn’t normal, it’s a sign that something is wrong. And this is why you’ve got to replenish your energy.
So what does this mean in theory? And what happens when you’re just. too. busy?
Mamas, entrepreneurs, homemakers, all of the above – you’ve got a lot on your plate and you have no idea what gives so that you can get.
But if you don’t take that thirty or sixty minutes to rest and replenish your energy, you’re going to give out!
Running a bath before bed, reading in the evening, going for a morning run, just taking that time to take better care of your mind and body is so, so important.
Ask for help and delegate if you need to. Because this is going to be the key to serving yourself and being able to give more in the long run.
We have to acknowledge that it could be super easy to do this once or feel like you’ve nailed it for a day or even a full week, but then what?
Habits can be hard to break and you may find that you just want to slip back into your comfortable ways. But don’t!
Instead, flip it on its head and form a new habit instead.
They say it takes twenty-one days to form a habit. But in my experience, even three days can make a difference!
Pick a day and just start. Then tell yourself you’re just going to practice this for three days. That’s it. If it’s terrifying to you to say no or feel like you’re letting others day, just say it’s for three days.
Then watch what happens.
When you’re three days in, feeling a little more energized and a lot more in control, it’ll feel good. And when it feels good, you want to do it more.
Before long, those three days will have turned into twenty-one and putting yourself first will feel so much more natural.
By breaking it down, you make taking on this brand new task so much more manageable.
After all, you have to welcome it into your daily routine in order for it to be effective. And when you do it over and over, it just becomes a part of who you are.
Putting yourself first can seem so alien and scary to you at first. But when you’re feeling more energized, centered, calmer, and happier, it’ll be one of the best things you ever do.
Do you struggle to put yourself first? What do you do to make your needs a priority? Share your ideas with the SOCIÉTÉ community in the comments below.