Are you putting everyone’s needs in front of your own? Do you take a backseat in your life? Well, it’s time for that to stop. We women have this uncanny nature of putting ourselves at the end of the line when it comes to everyone else’s needs. We put our kids first, our spouses first, our families first, our bosses first, our friends first. We feel guilty when we think we are being “selfish” and putting our needs at the top of the list. Guess what? We are SUPPOSED to put our needs first! I call it “Being Selfish in a Really Good Way!”
Despite growing up being mostly Italian, my mother (the Italian) didn’t try to make me feel guilty. However, as I became an adult, it just sort of happened. Once I was living out on my own, I started feeling a tremendous amount of guilt for not putting more energy and emphasis on my relationship with my parents. I believe it was my realization and appreciation of THEM putting the needs of their three daughters above so many things they probably wanted to do but never got the chance to. Looking back now, I want to take this moment to fully express my gratitude for all that my parents have done for me. I feel bad about that. If there were things they wanted to do and didn’t get the chance to, my heart is sad for them. My mother died over 20 years ago, and if she were alive today, I know that she would say that there is NO reason to feel bad about anything and that all she ever wanted for me was my happiness. She would definitely say “Diane…you go FIRST. You put YOU First! Don’t ever let anyone tell you any differently.”
Then, when I became a mother, things changed again. I used to feel so guilty doing things for myself once I had the twins. There’s that built-in guilt mechanism that kicks in. It’s ridiculous! Kids need a break from their parents just as much as we need a break from them. Plus, the ultimate goal is to raise strong, self-sufficient, independent people. When they’re young, they think the whole world revolves around them, and they’re RIGHT!!! We’re the ones that screw it up for them! They pay attention to everything, so we need to lead by example. We need to let them know that they SHOULD come first.
Do you ever get that pang in your gut when you’ve said yes to something that you really didn’t want to say yes to? That is your inner guidance letting you know that what you just did is incongruent with what you really want. It’s not a “mistake,” but it goes against your soul’s truth. Our souls know everything. We are constantly being guided. The good news is that we can look at that as a learning opportunity. It’s a chance to say to ourselves, “Well, I’ll never do that again.” Many times, that’s the only way to really learn anything. Sometimes, in order to know what we really want, we have to know what we really don’t want. When this happens to me, it’s usually because I’ve said “yes” to something that I really didn’t want to IN THAT MOMENT! When that happens, I’m doing the one thing I should never be doing, which is NOT TRUSTING MYSELF.
When we take a deeper look at our decisions to put the needs of others above our own needs when we really don’t want to, it comes down to a few reasons:
– We don’t trust ourselves.
– We don’t respect ourselves enough.
– We worry more about what others will think and feel than we do about our own feelings.
Let’s take a deeper look at what is causing the lack of trust, respect and creating the worry. I believe it is because we are not valuing our feelings and our time the way we should be. We sometimes don’t even know what it is we want, or even what we are doing half the time. We often just “do” because we think it’s the right thing to do, it’s what’s expected, and we don’t believe we have a choice.
Let me show you the three-step process to find out how you value yourself and your time in this life. Here are three exercises to find out how you are “ranking” on your own list of priorities:
Journal Your Day
For one week, at the end of the day, write down what you spent your time doing all day. If you already write in a journal in the evenings, add this to your practice. If you don’t, you’ll find this to be an eye-opening experience. Do your best to recall every activity you’ve done. My suggestion is to put it into two columns…your column and everyone else’s column. See which column is bigger.
Am I Doing This Because I Really Want To?
Become aware of how many times during the day you feel unenthusiastic about what you are doing. Ask “Am I doing this because I really want to be doing this, OR am I doing this because I feel obligated to do this?” There are only a handful of things, like going to the doctor or dentist, getting your hair and nails done, sleeping, showering and dressing, that you HAVE to do yourself. If you do things you don’t want to be doing, but someone else could be doing them for you who would gladly do it, there’s an opportunity there! Ask yourself these questions: What is this costing me? What is my time worth? Is this something I could be paying someone else to be doing, therefore creating more time for me and more opportunities for me? Is my life valuable enough to put my needs, wants, desires above everything else? The answer to that is a resounding “YES.”
List Experiences You WANT To Have
Now, create a list of activities and experiences you WANT to be having. If you’re a mom and want to spend more quality time with your children, put that down. If you want to spend more time at the gym, put that down. If you want to spend more time out in nature, put that down. If you want to find true love, put that down. Add EVERYTHING to your list. Once you’ve done this complete list, add how much time you spend on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis doing these activities. Shocking, right? The results will most likely depress you. You’ll see just how LITTLE time you spend putting you FIRST.
Well, I’m here to illuminate it for you. It’s not too late to make a change. This is called a “Breakthrough.” They are moments in your life when you’re seeing things differently for the first time in a profound way. You are now aware of it, so now is the time you can do something about it. You can’t go back…you know too much now.
Let me end with this…I’m not saying you should not to do for others. Of course, you should absolutely do for others! Take care of your loved ones, volunteer, be a good citizen, etc. Just be sure that YOU come FIRST! When we put ourselves first…mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually…we then have the energy, the capacity, and the desire to do for others in a much more powerful, impactful way. We have so much more to give. You can give more because you gave to you FIRST.
LOVE IT!: I AM THE MANAGER OF MY LIFE!
THANK IT!: I AM GRATEFUL FOR MY DECISION-MAKING SKILLS.
BRING IT!: I DECIDE WHAT TO DO!
Quote: “Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you don’t care about others. It means you’re smart enough to know you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.” – Unknown
PS…Life is supposed to feel good…all the time.
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