!There’s a lot of confusion and misunderstanding between putting yourself first (and self-love) and being selfish. When our love is directed outward, we don’t have any problem with the idea of loving multiple people.
We love all of our children, all of our family members, our friends, and more. But for some reason, when we add ourselves to the mix, it seems like we think we can’t love ourselves AND anyone else. That if we love ourselves, we’d exclude love, care, and consideration for others and become selfish.
A colleague of mine wrote recently that she had been called selfish by very close people in her family when she openly stated what she wanted for her life. And she believed it. And she watered down her desires in order to make those around her feel more comfortable.
If we want to connect with our calling, make an impact, leave a legacy, follow our passion, live our joy, or express our talents, then we need to learn to embrace the idea of self-love / putting ourselves first and not fall into the trap that putting ourselves first or loving ourselves is selfish.
It’s Not Selfish to Put Yourself First!
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ and we’ve invented the phrase ‘selflessness is next to saintliness’ (or so it seems). But selflessness is far from saintliness, it’s actually next to burnout and stress (but that doesn’t sound as good, does it?)
So many of us were brought up to put other people’s needs before our own. Some might have been told that you were selfish, self-centered, or greedy if you didn’t put others before yourself.
For those that have bought into the idea of selflessness for your entire lives, making a 180 degree change to put yourself first is a foreign idea. You might be convinced that you’d be a Bad Person if you didn’t put everyone else first. But what if you could put yourself first just some of the time? Maybe once a week to start.
You can’t help anyone else from an empty tank. You might live longer – and healthier – if you engage in some self-care and put yourself first once in a while. That means you’ll have longer to offer your care, concern, consideration (and dare I say it, co-dependency!!!) for those you love.
Being a people-pleaser raises your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So does saying yes to everything, and never getting to complete your to-do list. There are too many demands on your time in today's busy world. High levels of cortisol significantly increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and inflammation. Rest allows your body to heal and restore. You need to prioritize your health by saying no sometimes.
Putting yourself first puts you back into balance. It allows you to be your best you, not just for yourself but others as well. When you have taken care of your own needs, you will have the energy reserves to give to others from a full heart, without resentment or anxiety, without expectations or guilt.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s what Dr. Christiane Northrop wrote:
“As a doctor, let me tell you what self-love does: It improves your hearing, your eyesight, lowers your blood pressure, increases pulmonary function, cardiac output, and helps wiring the musculature. So, if we had a rampant epidemic of self-love then our healthcare costs would go down dramatically. So, this isn’t just some little frou-frou new age notion, oh love yourself honey. This is hardcore science.”
You deserve to treat yourself with the same level of care and compassion as you treat others. You deserve to experience the happiness and fulfillment that comes when you connect with your self – you know your dreams, desires, passion, and calling. And connecting with that means you need to take some time out to determine what makes your heart sing. And once you’ve determined what that is, say ‘yes’ to yourself by putting some of your needs on your ‘love ‘em up’ list.
After all, you are also a loved one, right?
Maybe you don’t know how to begin or where to start. Self-care and putting yourself first can feel risky and scary. If you need some direction and are ready to shift to what’s possible and re-discover yourself, let’s connect. You can schedule your free 45 minute Say Yes to Yourself Strategy call at: https://janetkingsleycoaching.as.me/
Janet Kingsley is an effective 'Belief Change Expert' who helps clients transform frustration to focus, confusion to clarity, and self-doubt to self-confidence.