Are you the strong one? Do you always put others’ welfare and feelings before your own? It might surprise you… this can actually be destructive. Putting yourself always at the bottom means you deplete your energy, end up with no time for your own interests, perhaps become bitter and frustrated, and you actually train people to take advantage of you.
I encourage you to watch Oprah’s interview with Iyania Vanzant where you will learn that putting yourself first can be the best thing you do for others.
Iyania described it… that you’ve got to be good to yourself, and fill your cup first, so that you have the inner resources to be of service to others.
My favorite part of the video is when Iyania says – referring to “my cup runneth over” – what overflows the cup is for everyone, and what is in the cup is for me.
“Self-ful” rather than selfish… doesn’t that sound like the right thing to do for yourself? Fill your tank, fill your needs, fill your soul… and then you are able to give more. Making your happiness a priority is not a bad thing. It is a good thing. Think about it this way: if you are constantly depleted, the stress is going to build up and adversely affect your health. And at that point, what good are you going to be to anyone?
So – what are some ways you can put yourself first?
If you’ve trained yourself to be at everyone’s beck and call, you might find it difficult to take the time to do something for you. But here are some easy ways that don’t feel guilty, and help you keep your cup full:
Write down 5 things that you enjoy, and that make you happy. Do this now, okay? For you. Once you have your list, write down the last time you did these 5 things. Ouch – I’m willing to bet that you only take the time to do one or two. So what about the rest? How about you schedule them into your calendar, right now, as a “me time” priority where it’s all about you.
Meditate for as little as 15 minutes every day. Why? Meditation helps you recharge mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It’s a time to unplug from the world of endless doing, and just be.
Change your self-talk. You are just as important as anyone else! Changing the way you talk will help you say no more often: avoid “should” and replace it with “could” or “would like to” – a huge difference! If you truly don’t “like to” do something, then do less of it.
Have a goal, and devote a non-negotiable 15 minutes a day to it. You will be surprised at how quickly you can achieve a goal if you consistently take action on it!
Ask for help. It’s impossible to do everything yourself, especially if someone can do it faster, better or if they actually like doing it.
Know your rhythms. When are you at your peak of physical energy? How about mental sharpness? How about spiritual connectedness? How about emotional nurturing and listening? Try to schedule activities so that they correspond to your natural peaks in these areas, and you’ll be “on” when you need to be on, and working with your body, heart and mind instead of against them.
The important thing is to give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Learn to make yourself a priority. Even if you devote just 15 minutes a day to yourself – where you take care of nobody’s needs but your own – you will be happier, fresher, and your cup will begin to fill!