Do you feel like you go out of your way for everyone else in your life? While you may feel some physical pain from bending over backward, the emotional turmoil you feel from putting your needs on the backburner adds up. This can take a significant toll on your well-being. Have you ever considered putting yourself first?
When you put yourself first, you show up as your best self and have more energy to help others when they need it. Prioritizing your needs enables you to avoid fostering frustration with other people that can hurt your relationships in the long run. It may seem selfish to prioritize yourself, but how can you make others feel happy if you can’t make yourself happy?
We all want to be liked. It feels nice to know that people enjoy you and you’re appreciated. However, at what cost? You’ll be disappointed if you’re putting the desire to be liked by others before your needs.
As cliché as it sounds, you must listen to the flight attendant’s advice on and off the plane. Putting your oxygen mask on first is the only way you’re going to be able to help others and save yourself in life. Here are some tips on how to put yourself first.
Say “no” more often.
Sometimes, putting yourself first looks like saying no more frequently. For example, let’s say you’re the type of worker who always says yes to your boss no matter your inconvenience. You want to show your boss that you’re a hard worker and please them. However, this behavior could result in you spending more time at work and sacrificing your social life.
After a while, you start to resent work, but you continue to say yes when you want to say no. Eventually, you’ll hit a breaking point and learn to say no. When you do so, you’ll stop feeling burnt out and start to enjoy working again. You’re not a terrible person for saying no and putting yourself first. You’re protecting your positive energy and mental health to ensure you can give your all when you say yes.
Tell yourself that you can’t make everyone happy.
You can try your hardest to make everyone happy. However, everyone is unique with different needs, so it’s impractical to make everyone happy. For example, you want to have dinner and invite all your friends. It sounds simple until you try to decide which restaurant to go to. Ultimately, you’ll choose where to go, but you’ll have one or two friends who have something negative to say about the restaurant.
The bright side is they can choose not to come if they don’t like your decision. Whether deciding where to go to dinner or more significant life decisions, know that you will always stress less if you remember that it’s not your job to ensure everyone else is content.
Regarding people-pleasing in our lives, we tend to worry about pleasing the people closest to us. While it’s essential to ensure that your loved ones’ needs are met to some extent, you can’t put your own needs aside and let someone take advantage of your kindness. In our naivety, we’ll do about anything for the people we love.
However, going above and beyond for others will cause you to leave yourself behind. This behavior can also create unhealthy relationships. By setting boundaries, you let your loved ones know that you can help them, but not at your expense. It can also help your relationships last longer and make all involved parties happy.
Take time to assess your feelings.
Every so often, you can’t put your needs first because you’re rushing around trying to please everyone else. At some point, you won’t even realize what you’re feeling. In some cases, this running around is a way to distract yourself from how you really feel and deeper issues.
If you want to start looking out for yourself and feel content in life, you have to take the time to check out how you feel so you can determine what you need in the first place. Grinding and hustling for everyone but yourself is a recipe for frustration and burnout. Do the deep work of sorting out your feelings to know what steps you need to take to meet your own needs.
Ask for help.
Sometimes we treat help like it’s a bad word, which can ultimately be our downfall. However, putting yourself first can look like asking for help. For example, let’s say you’re working on a big project for work. You know the job is too big for one person, but you’re determined to do it independently. However, by not asking for yourself, you’ll sacrifice time with your family and sleep. You’ll be the grumpy version of yourself that no one likes.
After a while, you’ll eventually break down and ask for help. You’ll realize that asking for help isn’t a big deal because your co-workers are more than willing to help you, and the project will get done in half the time it took you to do it alone. If you find yourself struggling, feeling like you’re drowning, it’s time to ask for help. It turns out that it’s not a bad word.
If you spend most of your life bending backward for other people, you might forget how to lean forward for yourself. It’s possible to have your needs met and create connections with others simultaneously. When you put yourself first, you’ll find joy and a sense of satisfaction that you’ve been missing out on for a long time. Ask yourself, when was the last time you put yourself first? Is your back still aching from carrying the weight of everyone around you?
Putting yourself first may seem selfish at first, but you’ll be happy when you do. You’ll be mad at yourself for not doing it earlier. Out of all these tips, setting boundaries is the biggest key to putting yourself first. Without clear guidelines, people will take advantage and step all over you. Remind yourself that you deserve better than that, and put yourself first.