Today’s post is inspired by my hubby, who is currently thinking of other people A LOT more than he is thinking of himself- something I have always loved and admired about him.
Is it ok to be “selfish” – to think of ourselves first? For the most part, we see that kind of thing as rude, uncaring, and downright wrong. I beg to disagree. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think we should run around like selfish a-holes, but I DO think:
We could all do a better job of taking care of ourselves first in order to make our lives and those lives around us a little more healthy.
I read an article a few weeks ago that used the phrase “paying yourself first.” Not monetarily, but emotionally and physically. The idea centered around making sure that you have what you need in life first, so that you have more to give to those around you. I agree fully, but myself, my friends, and my hubby often forget how important this concept is.
I strongly believe that there are three distinct times that you should consider being outright SELFISH by making sure to “pay yourself first.” If you fall into one of these categories right now, you might evaluate where you need to be paying yourself first.
Your Health is Suffering
I am very guilty of getting sick due to stress, overwork, or lack of sleep. On that same note, I am also guilty of pushing myself through the illness with a sense of determination to maintain “status quo.” Why? Why do we do that to ourselves? It’s true that we don’t like to be weak, vulnerable, or unable to live up to other’s expectations, but how does ignoring our health benefit anyone?
If your health (blood pressure, immune system, weight, mental state, etc) is currently sub-par and you know it, it’s time to stop and evaluate your choices. What are you doing or not doing that might contribute to your current state? What small changes can you make, who can you say no to, and what can you put off until later in order to focus on your health?
When you are healthy you can think clearer, contribute more, be a great partner, thrive at work, and have so much fun with friends and family. When you are unhealthy- none of those things can happen.
You must focus on your health in order for other areas of your life to thrive.
Your Relationships are Suffering
My hubby likes to share the phrase, “If mom is happy, the whole family is happy!” I used to feel insulted by this one, but now I’ve started to realize it’s pretty spot on. When I am in a vortex of low energy, lack of exercise, and self-loathing… my kids aren’t really enjoying my company. Not to mention my poor hubby who has to endure slamming doors, crying, cussing, or my aimless wandering through the house without any “oomph”.
Those are usually the times when he says something like, “Maybe you should go to yoga tomorrow!?” or “Would you like me to take the kids somewhere?” or “Maybe you should take a personal day from work.” I am lucky to have another person in my life that recognizes when my bad state is affecting everyone else. If you don’t have that person in your life to keep you accountable, consider reaching out to someone you trust as your ‘gauge’. If not, you are going to have to work extra hard to hold yourself accountable when you have reached that point.
When You are Making Choices For Other People
It’s true that we often have to do things at work that we don’t believe in or don’t really like doing. That’s why it’s called work. But how often have you found yourself doing something that you didn’t want to do for someone else’s sake on your own time?
Think back. You have. We ALL have. That’s not always a bad thing, but it can become destructive when you aren’t happy or taking care of yourself.
If the choices you are making on your personal time (where to go, what to focus on, what events to attend, who you hang out with, etc) are more often for other people than they are for yourself, you are choosing to ignore what matters to you. You are literally cheating yourself.
If you are in a situation where you aren’t really sure how you are making your decisions, just start asking yourself “Why?” when you are choosing to participate in something. If the answer is “Because I WANT to!” or “Because it will make me happy!” then you are on the right track. If the answer revolves around someone else being happy, content, or satisfied… you might want to think more about how you are using your time.
I am by NO MEANS a master of being selfish, but I’m honestly trying to be a bit more so when I need it. I know that might sound cold or mean, but as I’ve said before: Who else is going to look after you, if you can’t do it for yourself first?
Here’s to hoping you make a few selfish, self-satisfying choices this week!