The Unselfish Art of Putting Yourself First

Are you tired of saying yes to everyone else and putting yourself at the end of your to-do list?

You know you should take care of yourself first and you’re well aware of the importance of filling your own cup. And yep, you’ve often heard the metaphor ‘put the oxygen mask on yourself first’ in an emergency situation before helping your child on a plane.

But … for some reason, something holds you back from prioritizing yourself. Why is that?

The truth is there are a number of factors that can contribute to constantly down-playing one’s own needs. It often can be tied to underlying feelings about self worth or unconscious beliefs about the nature of relationships. Behaviours such as consistently overcommitting to plans or feeling a need to always be available may be tied to a distorted worry about abandonment. And then there’s society … it’s programmed us to feel selfish if we put ourselves first.

It’s no wonder most of us keep ignoring our needs and not making time for ourselves!

BUT there’s a huge price to pay when we continually do that. I know, because I paid the price when I burnt out. My body broke down, my mind misfired and emotionally I was a disaster. We want to save you from that type of experience!

And here’s the honest to goodness truth …. Putting yourself first is NOT selfish. It’s necessary.

Being selfish implies that we are doing things that make us happier or better at the expense of others. Of course that’s not true! The belief that if we take care of our self means we are not taking care of others is certainly not the case. If we are not healthy and happy our ability to care for others is actually diminished.

I know I can better care for my family if I take time each day to find some stillness and perspective. I feel calmer, happier, and far less stressed. If anything, I should feel guilty when I don’t take time to prioritize myself, because it affects how well I can then care for others.
In order to put myself first more often, it’s crucial to quiet that nagging voice in my head and keep perspective of what really matters. And the really great thing is I can change the script and the routines. And so can you.

Just like when you are perfecting any skill, you need to practice to get good at it. Below are some things you can do to start putting yourself at the top of your priority list.

Listen to Yourself

You know that feeling you get when something isn’t right or something is off? That’s your soul speaking to you and is your tap on the shoulder to get in touch with yourself. Pay attention to these nudges and listen to what your body and mind need.

But when you’re busy spinning your wheels, it can be hard to hear. So spend some time alone away from the social distractions and noise so that you can listen to your spirit. Even if it’s 10 minutes a day before everyone gets up or when everyone is in bed. Carve out time to be with your thoughts.

Notice what it is saying. Is it negative or positive? Ask what is making it feel this way? And what does it need?

Get Started

Once you realize what you need to nurture your mind, body and spirit … take action. One step at a time. Know that you don’t have to be perfect, you just need to get started to make your life better. As Brendon Burchard says, “No matter how small you start. Start something that matters.”

And girl, YOU matter.

Say “No!”

Say no to things that are not important to you. To things that you don’t like doing and that are not aligned with your core values.

I know from experience, and especially when someone asks for a favour to my face, it’s unbelievably hard for me to turn them down. But here’s the thing: You and I are only human, and there’s only so much of us to spare, and while it may be great that you have the kind of heart that genuinely wants to lend a hand wherever and whenever one is needed, you just can’t do it all — which, by the way, is totally OK.

This will definitely take some practice, but take baby steps!

Make Time for Yourself to Do What Fuels Your Soul

This means scheduling ‘me’ time for yourself in your planner doing the things that energize and make you happy. This is so important!

This is how you fill up your own love tank. Like a car, how can you expect yourself to keep going and giving if you are running on an empty tank? Make sure to do something for yourself every day.

Don’t Let Your Negative Beliefs Get In the Way

As you get better at listening to your soul, you’re going to be able to pay attention and recognize when it’s giving you hints about your belief system.

Growing up if you were encouraged to strive for perfection and taught to mask your flaws and not burden people with your baggage, you’ll feel like you’re not good enough if you ask for help.

Or if you say no, the person won’t think good things about you. Or they’ll think you’re lazy.

These thoughts are just your nasty little negative beliefs raising their ugly heads. Recognize them for what they are and do what you need for yourself anyway. Not only will you be filling up your soul but you will also be decreasing the power of that negative belief!

Remember you deserve to be happy and healthy. And when you start putting yourself first, saying yes to yourself and setting up boundaries, you’ll notice a multitude of benefits and changes in your life. Things like:

  • More happiness
  • More energy
  • More respect from others
  • Better relationships
  • Less fear
  • Less stress
  • Less resentment
  • Less depressed

Not only that, but loving ourselves enough and engaging in self-compassion and self-care are actually fundamental to creating a good life for ourselves and the people who matter most to us. So you see, it’s definitely not selfish when you are putting yourself first.

Ok ready to start? Tell us one small thing you’re going to do today to make yourself a priority.



p.s. If you’re not very good at putting yourself first, think about coming to Camp. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to spend the money on yourself, but you REALLY are worth it! You’ll have fun AND learn new skills to help you live a better life. Learn more by clicking here.