“How do you get over the feeling that it is selfish to put yourself first?” I was asked this question during a self-care workshop I was facilitating. My response? As women, we are natural caregivers and nurturers. Many of us take care of everyone else first, with every intention of taking care of ourselves too. But when all is said and done, at the end of the day we are left with no energy to do anything but fall into bed.
Does that sound like you? On many days, that sounds like me! Although my sons are now all in college, there are still things that I do for them, even when they are away from home. I work outside of the home and I am building a non-profit organization. How do I get over the feeling that it is selfish to put myself first? Or maybe a better question is, “How do I actually manage to put myself first?”
I realized quite some time ago that if I didn’t start putting myself first, I may not be around long enough to put other people’s needs ahead of my own. The fact is, if you are not emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy, you can’t take good care of anyone else. How can you take good care of someone when you are tired, grumpy, or stressed out? If you don’t love yourself first, it is very hard to truly love anyone else appropriately.
If you love yourself, you will make the time for self-care. And if you don’t make the time to do it, sometimes the time is forced upon you, for example, via a health crisis or some other event. My opportunity to focus on myself was presented to me by God in the form of being laid off from my job in March 2004. (more…)