Putting Yourself First For The Benefit Of Those You Care About
I know the feeling..
Caught between what feels like a rock and a hard place.
Undecided as whether to say no to that night out in favour of some relaxing alone time, or to simply go along with it because it’s what your friends want.
Can’t quite choose between prioritising what you feel you need at that moment, and what you perhaps think others need from you.
It can be challenging.
We don’t want to be seen as selfish. Nobody does.
None of us want to be known as the person who simply put themselves first, at every opportunity.
As human beings, we have the gift of empathy. We love to help and provide value to those around us.
We will give, and give, and give.
Whether that be our time, energy or simply our presence.
Straying away from this can often be seen as quite selfish, and understandably so.
The opposite of give is to take.
None of us want to go through life simply taking at every opportunity, whilst never giving back.
Perhaps, if we looked at it through a slightly altered perspective.
A suggested scenario where everybody wins and where there does not need to be any losers.
What if prioritising ourselves when needed, was actually the most SELFLESS thing we could do?
Let’s take a look at the scenarios..
A scenario I have experienced far too often, where the motivation is to ensure the happiness and enjoyment of others, with no regard to ourselves.
We give everything we have, putting everyone first 100% of the time, completely neglecting our own emotions and energy levels.
For us, life is about treating everyone with the respect and compassion that we often overlook to give ourselves.
We tell those closest to us that everything will be good in the end, whilst internally lambasting ourselves for the position we find ourselves in.
We neglect to acknowledge when it’s time to rest in favour of ensuring friends, family or colleagues don’t have to work so hard.
We give, until there’s nothing left to give.
Not one I’ve personally seen too much. We decide to simply put ourselves first at every opportunity we get.
We do what we want, when we want, with the sole motivation simply being because we feel it’s what we want at that moment.
Barring any interference from our conscience, we’d be feeling pretty good most of the time.
There’s probably not going to be a lot of chances for us to become emotionally drained.
The sweet spot. This is where understanding self care and when to practice it kicks in.
Like most things in life, we experience much better times with balance.
Knowing when and what circumstances require you to take your foot off the pedal and understand when the time has come to prioritise you.
Our motivations go well beyond instant gratification, and extend to realising that without a level of maintenance on ourselves, we cannot fully reach the potential that we have to provide value to others.
When we’re rested and recharged, we have so much more energy to share with others.
The higher we allow ourselves to go, then the higher we are able to bring those up around us. Then everybody gets to enjoy the views!
How To Ensure Everybody Wins
There’s a fairly common belief that self care has to be certain things. It has to be seen as a bit of an indulgence. Like it was some kind of treat.
If we accept this is the way self care is seen, then let’s try to re-define it.
Rather than it being defined by the action, let’s entertain the idea that it is rather, defined by the motivation behind it.
Do we consider the bigger picture and longer term consequences?
Do we allow ourselves to look beyond the short term effects? Be it for ourselves, or for others.
Saying no to some friends in favour of an early night, does not need to be driven by the instant pleasure we will receive, or (and this is unlikely) the instant want to disappoint those around us.
It does not need to be a simple Us vs Everybody Else scenario.
Instead, it can be seen as a small step in the broader picture. One which will allow us over time to continue to be the most energetic and vibrant version of ourselves. Both in a personal and/or professional capacity.
I think having others best interests at heart is an amazing quality.
But, just how beneficial is it when those interests, come at the expense of your own?
Think of it this way perhaps..
By prioritising yourself and ensuring you are the healthiest and most vibrant version of yourself, you immediately position yourself to have even more of a positive impact on the interests of others.
Yeah, you may be placing yourself first now and again.
But, you’re making sure that those around you, those you care about, are sitting in a very, very close second.
And nobody is losing in that scenario.