To be a good mother, friend, daughter, wife, employee, co-worker, aunt, confidant...you need to put others' needs above your own. You need to make sure, that no matter what you may be going through, the needs of others must come before yours whenever those needs need to be met.
Um, no. No, no, no, no, no.
I'm here to say this line of thinking is one of the most self-destructive lines of thinking that you can have for yourself. I've spent many days and nights thinking like this and I've experienced first-hand how hopeless this line of thinking has made me feel in the past.
Even worse than that, I can say that in the past, it has directly prevented me from being the best mother, wife, friend, daughter, employee, co-worker, business owner, aunt, confident etc to those around me.
This is the type of thinking that often stopped me from being the woman I've wanted to be. Not only for others but for myself. The woman who'd go after her hopes and dreams. The one who had the energy to do her makeup in the morning because *she* felt like it. The kind of woman who looked at herself in the mirror with glee, instead of dread because there was an entire day ahead of her.
If you want to be a better person for others, you have to first be a better person to yourself.
You see, there was a time when I was giving absolutely every single fiber of my being to others. Uplifting others. Being 'there' for others. Working for others. Assisting others. Teaching others. Crying with others. And while I could see it was helping them become more whole by being able to depend on me...it left me feeling exhausted. Even more than that, it slowly made me resentful of those I was so eager to see happy.
But how could that be? How could the very people that I want to make as happy as possible, make me feel such resentment towards them?
Just because you're not taking care of your needs, it doesn't mean those needs don't need to be met. Just because you don't take a shower, it doesn't mean you don't need one. Just because you don't take the time to get a haircut, it doesn't mean you won't get split ends. Your needs need to be taken care whether you take the time to do these things or not. So what ends up happening is you end up resenting the very people that you do every and anything for because you feel like they're not doing enough for you. Since you haven't taken the time to make sure that you're OK and that you've met your own needs, you instinctually stop relying on yourself to fill your needs and start nitpicking at others for not 'pulling their weight'.
Without even realizing it, you've now become a burden to those around you because you subconsciously (or consciously) expect them to fill the buckets for you that you've neglected in yourself. For instance, you know that getting your nails done is something that is important to you. But because you prioritize everything else in your life above this one thing, you end up resenting those around you for not making time in their schedules so that they can tell you to go get your nails done.
You scroll through your Instagram feed and judge the women who are 'more put together mamas' as people who must neglect their children if they make time to beautify themselves.
It's an ugly feeling and you may continue to feel this way because a woman is 'supposed to be' happy and willing to selflessly give of their time.
But it's not meant to be that way.
There is a reason they say 'it takes a village'...because it's true. You were never meant to do everything on your own. You are meant to find people with whom to share the burden with. You are meant to have joy that is completely selfish. Joy that is about you and only you. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself even though someone else may need something. Other people's needs are not more important than your own.
Of course, there are going to be times in your life where you need to prioritize someone else's needs above your own. But you can't stay emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy if someone else's needs are always ahead of your own. There is a reason why even newborns grow to become more and more independent as the months go on.
So how does one become more selfish? How can you stop feeling guilty for not using all of your free time tending to the needs of others?
When life gets really busy, it's easy to stop dreaming. Daydreaming is often the beginning of us identifying what it is that will selfishly make us happy. Maybe you want to daydream about your dream home, or your dream career, or your dream life partner - whatever it is, take the time to indulge yourself in your own thoughts, wishes and prayers.
Figure out what it would take for you to actually achieve the things that you want.
Part of being selfish is taking steps to get what it is that you actually want. If you have kids and want more time to yourself in the morning, this may mean that you have to wake up earlier and tell the kids if they wake up early that it's your alone time until whatever o'clock. If you want to start filming YouTube videos it may mean that you have to switch cocktail Thursdays for a FaceTime chat instead
Spend quiet time alone with your thoughts, only thinking of yourself.
So often, as busy women, we let the thought of others and their needs invade our every waking moment. Whether the thoughts revolve around our kids, our spouses, our clients, our bosses, a lot of our time is spent thinking and caring for others. Don't let this happen to you. Thoughts are powerful and have the ability to not only change your mood but change the way you move and operate throughout each day. Spending time on you and your thoughts will allow you to start putting you and your needs first so you can be the best version for you first. If you're the best version of yourself for you, you can then help people be the best version of themselves through your support and guidance. None of that can happen if you don't focus on harnessing the power of your thoughts to empower yourself.
Think of at least 3 things that you can do with 30 minutes that would only directly benefit you.
I know that finding time for yourself can be difficult, especially if you're used to putting the needs and thoughts of other before your own. Taking 30 minutes away from the pursuit of pleasing and guiding others for yourself can and will do wonders for your spirit and your overall energy. What you do with your 30 minutes will be different than what another person will want to do with theirs. Regardless, figure out things that you can do with 30 minutes each week, or even better, each day, that only directly benefits you. Maybe you can take a solo walk in the evening/morning, or you'll take that time to give yourself a manicure. Whatever it is that you do, do it just for you.
Some ideas to start you off:
- Read a book or magazine
- Catch up on your favourite blog(s)
- Paint, colour, draw
- Play a solo game on your phone
- Watch one of your favourite TV shows (a few of mine: How To Get Away With Murder, House of Cards (Netflix), Billions, Power, Million Dollar Listing, Southern Charm)
- Reorganize your closet/makeup to re-fall in love with your things
- Practice your makeup/hair skills
- Keep a journal
- Take a solo walk
- Jam out to your favourite music
- Give yourself a manicure at home
These are the things that you can do to help you be more selfish in a healthy way. You're only giving your best when you're giving yourself the best. From food to adequate sleep, to time alone - give yourself permission to be all about you so you can actually enjoy the times when it's all about them.
If you've been looking for permission to put yourself first, here it is. Have an amazing day.