It’s not selfish to put yourself first
I spent a long time not putting myself first. I struggled in silence with mental ill health and my HS for years before telling anyone how I was really feeling. I would put on a fake smile, go to work and live everyday in what felt like a very different reality, compared to what I was experiencing internally. Why did I do this? Well, honestly, I just didn’t want to be a burden. I didn’t want to be seen as a negative person to be around. I didn’t want to push my “problems” onto loved ones. I didn’t want to say ‘no’ to taking on extra tasks or choose not to attend social events (even when I really didn’t want to go).
The truth is, I completely neglected my own wants and needs. That was a mistake.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to be kind, care about others and give to people but not by sacrificing yourself in the process. Ask yourself this, how can you possibly give your best to your relationships, your friends, your family or your job if you’re not feeling like the very best version of you? If you’ve had a bad day, it’s the people closest to you that feel the force of that right? So, if you’re having a great day then it would only make sense to suggest that you could have a positive impact on those around you. Of course, this is not something we can achieve every day, we’re only human and some days will just suck, that’s life. The important thing is to aim to have more good days then bad, for you and everyone in your life.
It took a pandemic and poor health for me to realise that I needed to invest in myself but now that I have, I won’t go back. It’s completely changed my outlook on life. I realise that sounds dramatic but it’s true. I now know how it feels to be happy and healthy. I know how life can and (where possible), should feel. When I see photos of myself from a few years ago, all I can see now is someone hiding the unhappiness, and whilst that is quite sad, it’s also the biggest blessing. Becoming self-aware and understanding what it is that YOU NEED will without a doubt be the best investment you ever make.
Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but have just ‘never had the time’? Are there places you want to go but have never been? Are you holding back in areas of your life that matter to you? Are you saying yes to things that you have no interest in to please other people? Are you neglecting your health? Are you prioritising things that in the end, don’t really matter? Now is the time to take a step back, evaluate your life and stop with anything that is not making you truly happy.
Stop with the guilt. You don’t need to feel guilty about putting yourself first. You have one life and, in your life, you should be the main character. You don’t want to look back in years to come with regret or feeling like you wasted years of your life. Time is precious and whilst other people can (and will) help you to feel happy, in the end it really is what you give to yourself that will yield the best results. At least that’s what I believe.
So, tell yourself you can. Find the time to prioritise yourself. Stop saying yes to people and things that bring you no joy. Surround yourself with positive people and situations that add value to your life. Embrace every aspect of you that you love and work on the aspects that you aren’t so happy with. Chase your goals. Learn to find some joy in each day. Don’t be afraid of change or failure because without those, how will we ever progress or learn? Try to let go of things out of your control (this one is still work in progress for me) Embrace your emotions, don’t hide them. Give love. Be loved. Be kind to others but more importantly, be kind to yourself.
It isn’t always easy. Some days it’s really hard. I have to work at self-care and self-awareness everyday but I promise you, it is so worth it.