If Putting Yourself First Feels Weird, READ THIS!
If you want to be of good use to anyone else, you must start putting yourself first.
Are you someone who cares deeply for people and go the extra mile to help them? And yet you feel this devotion is not always reciprocated? Not that I hint that you should take things as quid pro quo, but the reality is that sometimes we give too much to people who don’t deserve it.
I understand that you usually put others before yourself, but do you often feel you are being taken advantage of? And you often feel drained, exhausted, and resentful? Moreover, you think that you are trying to make everyone else around happy; instead, you are getting miserable yourself.
These were the moments that used to eat me alive. I used to feel depleted, cheated, and angry. Something was off, and I wanted to pluck it out. After much contemplation, I discovered it was nothing else but my predisposition to put others first. And to top it up, I ignored my needs and overlooked my relationship with myself. It was making me bitter and ineffective. I was losing my sense of identity and drifting aimlessly in a life that was no more meaningful.
So, I learned to say no and began to regain my momentum; since then, there has been no looking back.
Last year, I started to work on a friend’s project that gave me joy. But then, after a few months, it felt like a project I dreaded. So, I obsessed over quitting it all the time. But all I could think was that she would be unhappy if I expressed my wish to leave.
We have all done it before- making decisions based on what others want and not on what we want. Right? We give too much importance to what it would mean to the other person and discount what it would cost us.
My parents won’t be happy if I don’t go to a top-tier B-School.
My parent won’t be happy if I don’t get married on time.
My partner won’t be satisfied unless I prioritize them and their needs over mine. So, I will give up on my dreams.
My friends won’t be happy unless I devote every waking moment to their needs. So, I put my personal projects on hold.
My family won’t be happy unless I become the blue-eyed boy of the entire clan. So, I start to become a person who I am not.
My dog won’t be happy unless…my dog is anyways happy!
But is it worth it? People you are trying to please in some way or other way are looking at you as a means to something they want. Your parents want to feel proud; your friends wish to have your attention; your partner wants to feel like the most important person in your life, and so on. I do not say they are nasty or wrong. It is human nature, and it is the reality.
But there is no end to human expectations. The more you deliver, the more people will expect. So, you need to sometimes take a pause, break this pattern and attend to the most important person you should actually be pleasing, and that’s YOU.
There is nothing that should stop you from putting yourself first!
And still you are hesitant to put yourself before others?
Why are you shy of putting yourself first?
I know you are hesitant to put yourself first like I always was. I was in self-preservation mode for a long time, despised changes, and loved status-quo. I wanted to avoid pain, misery, and fear. And it was keeping me stuck in these circumstances. The same could be true for you!
It’s the reality. We don’t want to cause pain to others, and we don’t want to experience the pain either. We fear saying no to others as it can lead to uncertain circumstances and we don’t like uncertainty and ambiguity.
Will my partner stop loving me or leave me?
Will my parents not be proud of me?
Will my friends abandon me?
Will my family ignore me?
Will my dog stop loving me? I know he never will.
It is perfectly normal to have these feelings of fear and pain. These feelings are a normal part of our lives.
The point is not this; the point is to go beyond these feelings and make choices based on facts, not emotions. We are perhaps projecting others’ pain and fear on us and then making decisions. It is what is making things more challenging for us. And It is where it will take some courage.
The only way to challenge the status quo is to stand up for yourself. If you will not, then who else will? So, stand up for yourself as you stand up for your partner, family, and friends. Stand up for yourself as your well-being depends on it. Stand up for the love you have for yourself. And attend to the needs of the most important you will ever have in your life- and that’s you!
As they say, putting yourself before others is not selfish. In fact, it is selfish for others to expect you to put their needs first.
So, if you are putting others first and it feels weird, you are making wrong decisions in the hope of avoiding fear and pain. This habit of yours will invite a lifetime of regret. You will become disoriented, lose your sense of identity, and loiter aimlessly in a life that will be no more yours.
THIS IS IT!
You live your life only once, and there are no second chances. The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. So, stop living someone’s life and stay true to yourself.
In the end, I decided to stay true to my cause and be who I wanted to be — a writer and author; a traveller and seeker; a learner and experimenter; unconventional and unexpected.
Those who mind do not matter.
Those who matter do not mind.
Those who matter want to see you happy. They are the ones who will never hold you back. They are your fellow partners who will always ask: who do you want to become?
So, commit to yourself and find your purpose in life. You may have to say no to many people, opportunities, and situations, but in the end, it all will be worth it.
It is not selfish if you are putting yourself first; it is your survival tactic and initiative to achieve nirvana. It is your right to prioritize your happiness.
So, are you ready to break this habit of putting others before yourself?
Raise your hand, if yes! And read on.
How to put yourself first?
Here are a few actionable strategies that will help you in putting yourself first and breaking the habit of putting others before yourself:
- Establish your priorities
First, you should establish your priorities right. You should commit to your priorities, goals, and well-being in life. It doesn’t mean you always do what you want to do and ignore the needs of others. But it means making a trade-off between when to put yourself first and when to place others first. So maintain a balance between treating yourself and giving to others.
I have clearly defined my priorities: my family, partner, career, life, health, and a few friends. And these are the guiding principles that help me prioritize things right. All these priorities are interlinked, and the success of one depends on the other.
Many people frown over my time in the gym, but they cannot dissuade me. When I hit the gym, I stabilize my mood, enhance my stamina, and prolong my life. And it gives me the energy to attend to myself and others.
Another thing to consider when putting yourself first is to develop some meaning in life and have a higher purpose than earning more or professional success. For example, you can choose to help the poor, work towards the cause of emancipation of women or join an animal support group. When you do this, you spend a lot of time doing things you want to do and start putting yourself first over anything else. It also helps you evolve as a person and makes you a better human. This way, putting yourself first will never feel weird.
2. Establish clear boundaries
Secondly, always understand that the more you give, the more people will expect from you. There is no end to expectations. Instead, focus on intervention and not on ubiquitous presence in every conflict, situation, and problem. Let people manage things on their own first and come to you when in dire need. A little bit of expectation setting is always required. So, establish clear boundaries and let people know you are not always available. Once you take a stand for yourself, set clear boundaries, and put your needs first, people start adapting to this and respect the fine line you invisibly drew.
3. Check with yourself regularly
The third most important thing is to check with yourself regularly and keep stock of your feelings. Stop for a minute and ask yourself these questions:
- How are you feeling?
- Are you okay with how your life is turning out to be?
- What needs you want to cultivate, and what needs you want to give up?
- Are you able to enjoy your life the way you envisioned?
When you check with yourself regularly, you are aware of your innermost feelings, and it helps you make decisions that prioritize your well-being.
4. Speak up for yourself
Despite everything mentioned above, we sometimes find it difficult to say no or put out choices first. So, in such a situation, you must have a solid conviction to speak up for yourself. And for that, you need to take stock of your feelings, emotions, and desires before you commit to things you don’t want to. Once you train yourself to do this, you will set automatic commands to never settle for less than what you deserve and desire.
I sincerely hope that now you are ready to put yourself first without feeling weird or shy and that these tips should help you make your life better and more meaningful, if not entirely.
If this post positively impacted you, do not shy away from letting us know. You can share your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, please feel free to share this post with your loved ones. You can visit our YouTube channel if you want to watch some life-changing and thought-provoking videos.