As a young girl and woman I was always the one who selflessly gave of myself to others — even when it wasn’t convenient for me. I’d take the smallest portion to eat, even though I had just spent hours in the kitchen cooking the meal. I would relinquish a spot at the outlet in a coffee shop so that someone else could charge up, even if that meant I would have to cut my time working or studying short. I would go out of my way to please men sexually, even when I wasn’t really pleased in return. I would drive people all around town to help them out even if it caused me to be late for my own affairs.
I think a lot of us women do these things in one way or another — putting others ahead of us; putting their needs ahead of ours. It’s a learned behavior — a lot of us learn it from watching the older women in our families do this 24/7 for years and years.
For me that type of thinking is now a distant memory as I have adopted the new motto: “I am the most important person in my life.” I believe that statement should be true in every person’s life.
This is not a call for us to be selfish and neglect everyone around us — it’s a call for us to stop being selfless as women and prioritize our own needs. Being selfless is not good — we NEED self. We need that self to be strong and happy. The truth is that if we’re not okay, we can’t do much good for anyone else. This includes mothers, wives, caregivers, employees and volunteers. It’s crucial that we tend to our own needs first and foremost — only then can we properly tend to the DESERVING AND APPRECIATIVE people on our lives who need our help and provide reciprocal support/love.
So if someone tries to make you feel guilty for putting your needs before theirs, don’t be afraid to stand up and say “YES I MATTER, I COME FIRST IN MY LIFE. Who comes first in YOUR life?”
Showing love and attention to yourself is one of the first bold steps toward complete and unlimited happiness. Start today.
Lynn Gilliard is a writer, transformational blogger and author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.