A common thread among clients who come to me for self-empowerment counseling is “Why do people use me?” And they groan, “Why me?” And they whine, “I’ll never get what I want because of _____.” I tell them to fill in that blank with, “because I allow myself to be a victim.” People don’t make […]
Who matters the most to you? Be honest! There’s only one good answer but many of us don’t choose it. When I was a DoorMat, my answer would have been many other people. We people pleasing types make others way more important than ourselves. Who matters the most to you? Is it your romantic partner, a family member or your kids? Those are common picks. But if you answered one of those, I’d have to say, “Buzz, wrong answer!” When I dispute the choice with a client, I always get defensive answers such as:
• “My spouse/partner is critical to my happiness so of course he/she is the most important person. I love him/her.”
• “My parents/sister/brother/ grandparents are my blood and raised me so shouldn’t they be most important?
• “MY best friend is my lifeline to talk things out with and also to do social activities with. I don’t know how I’d survive without her/him so isn’t it okay to label them most important?”
I tell them all “NO!” If you want to be happy—I mean truly happy—get this through your head:
The person who should matter most to you is YOU!! Your first commitment should be to YOU! It’s very hard to get your needs met if you’re more concerned about others. Believing otherwise is how DoorMats come to be. In my Doormat days, if I listed the people that mattered t in order of their priority to me, I’d have been at the bottom of the list, or not at all. And it’s no surprise that I wasn’t happy and had few of my needs met.
Putting yourself at the top of your list does not mean neglecting the people who also matter to you. Of course it’s fine to be good to them and meets some or all of their needs. But it shouldn’t be at your expense as a lifestyle. I’ll go out of my way for people I care about because they needed me and I wanted to help them. But, I still make sure that I’m taken care of too and the expense of helping the other person isn’t too high for me, like it is for so many people pleasers who cancel their own plans to help or loan money they can’t afford or always give in on social choices. Your desires must be part of the choices you make! Yet I still get arguments.
• “But he/she is the love of my life and the one who matter most to me. What’s wrong with that?” Often when I ask if he/she does as much back, I get excuses about how their partners are busy or it’s not their way. If you mean enough to your partner, it will be a relatively equal give and take. But you still need to be making choices based on what’s good for you, and cut the excuses for why you don’t get as much as you give. Love is a 2-way street!
• “Shouldn’t I be loyal to my family and be there for them?” Yes and no. You can be there for them as long as you feel happy about what you do. If it creates any negative emotions about being asked for too much or not having reciprocation when you need something, it’s time to set more boundaries so that you come first in the choices.
• “I’m a mom/dad. My kids should come first since they depend on me.” When you take care of yourself first you have more to give to your children, and everyone else. That’s why airlines tell you in an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on first. Then put it on your children. If you deplete yourself trying to please everyone but you, you’ll have much less to give.
Choose What’s Works for YOU. Your life should be about making YOU happy, not pleasing others at your expense. Write a list of everyone who matters to you in order of priority. Put ME on top in big letters. Use a red marker if you have one. Look at it often to remind yourself that you matter most. Putting self first helps to build self-love. With January being Self-Love Month, now is a good time to make that list and convince yourself that you belong at the top. Treating yourself with more kindness will help your self-love flourish.
YOU matter—a lot! Go make that list now!
Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment—“I commit to do my best to do something loving for myself, however big or small, for the next 31 days.” and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 2013 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook.