You’ve Gotta Put Yourself First!
There are a number of flawed beliefs people commonly carry in society today, but believing in putting others first is one of the most flawed. Sure, helping people is nice, but really, you’ve gotta put yourself first.
It’s a lot like the flight attendants tell you when reviewing the safety procedures. You have to put your own mask on first before you help your child, or anyone else. You have to be safe before you can save anyone else. After all, if you aren’t breathing, how are you going to be of help to anyone?
Why are we so selfless?
I know so many people who give way too much of themselves. They put their own wants and needs on the back burner. They worry about keeping everyone else happy, while their own needs go unattended.
Now, they do this because they think it’s the right thing to do. They’ve been taught to believe that only a selfish, lazy person would worry about his or her own needs first. After all, shouldn’t you first consider the needs of your children, or friends, or family?
I understand this social conditioning, as I too was brought up with it, but I argue it vehemently.
Why should we choose selfishness over selflessness?
I say your own wants and needs are the very most important things you must consider every. single. day.
When you aren’t putting yourself first, you destroy your quality of life. You ruin your health, your mental state and your relationships.
There’s a reason why you want and need things. These things help you operate at your highest level. With them, you will thrive. Without them, you’ll deteriorate.
For this reason, I think the priority we place on selflessness is responsible for a great deal of the pain and suffering in society today. If we were taught to be a little more selfish and take care of our own needs first, we wouldn’t feel as neglected, as exhausted or as taken advantage of as we often do.
What good are we, after all, when we regularly put other’s needs ahead of our own? The fact of the matter is, we’re just not a lot of help to anyone when we’re feeling neglected, exhausted and taken advantage of.
Why putting others first doesn’t work…
Sure, we might lend our buddy $200, but if we need the money, we grow to resent him for asking for it. Sure, we might put our kids in all of the sports they want to participate in, but then we’re crabby because we’ve lost all of our spare time. Sure, we might work a few extra hours for the boss, but when we’re too tired for it we come home cranky and take it out on our families.
Of course, it’s really nice to lend money to a friend who needs it, and it’s also really nice to encourage your kids to play sports or help your boss out from time to time. Sure, it absolutely is!
With that being said, though, sometimes we have to ask ourselves, “Is this costing me too much in the long run? Do I really want to give this or do I just feel like I have to?”
Choose selfishness for a change…
So, if you’re feeling beaten down from worrying about everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, I invite you to take a break from selflessness. Take a few days, or even a week, and before doing anything for anyone else ask yourself “Are my needs attended to right now? Do I feel good? Am I operating at a high enough level?”
If the answer is yes, by all means, help away, if that’s what you desire to do. But if the answer is no, do what you have to do to get back up on a higher level. Perhaps you need a nap, or a meal, or just a break. Do what you have to do to refuel your spirits. Put down the work, step away from the obligations, and get yourself back on track.
How am I supposed to help anyone if I am being selfish?
At this point some might throw their arms up and say “Wait! If I’m only looking out for myself, who’s going to take care of my kids, or my parents, or my friends?”
This is an excellent point, but I think if you try me out you’ll find something fascinating about putting yourself first. When you put yourself first you’re going to find that you actually take better care of the people you love.
Instead of helping people from a state of being beaten down and feeling taken advantage of, you’ll be helping people from a place of being inspired and uplifted. You’ll be smiling in the car when you take the kids to their activities, and you’ll be enjoying those extra hours at work.
You’ll be a true service to anyone you meet, because you’ll be more energetically capable of truly assisting the people you love and care about.
Try it out and come to your own conclusions…
You don’t have to take my word for this. Just try it out and see how it works for you, and the people you love.
Selflessness is a nice idea in theory, but in life you’ve gotta put yourself first if you want to be truly kind to others. You’ve gotta be whole before you can truly give of yourself.
Be a little more selfish, and take good care of yourself.
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