• Yemi Penn

The Art Of Prioritising Yourself (And Why This Doesn’t Make You Selfish)

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

It’s not selfish to take care of yourself, to say no to people or to make your wants, needs and happiness a priority. Sadly many people shy away from putting themselves first to avoid the harsh and negative judgement of society. Only a terribly selfish person would prioritise themselves right? WRONG! The reality is you can’t make people change or be responsible for rescuing them. But you can take responsibility for yourself by paying attention to and nurturing your own physical, mental and emotional needs.

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash
Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup Before you can help and support others you must first look after yourself, after all, you can't give what you don't have. It’s simple but a concept that a lot of people struggle with.

Build Relationships Based on Love NOT Dependence

“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much and forgetting that you are special too.” Ernest Hemmingway

Romantic comedies often portray characters who give up their dreams in pursuit of love or worse so their partner can achieve their dreams instead. Compromise is an important word in relationships but what happens when the same person is always the one compromising? People who constantly need the time, effort, energy and support of their partner may not realise the negative effects this can have on their loved ones. If we take care of ourselves, we are more independent, less needy for attention and affection, and more capable of truly connecting with another human being. Prioritise yourself by nurturing relationships where both people give and take equally and learn to recognise toxic relationships before they drain your energy and happiness.

We Teach People How They Can Treat Us Are you an incredible friend always organising get-togethers never forgetting birthdays, offering a shoulder to cry on and are the first in line to support your friend’s newest adventure? That’s great but do they do the same for you? We teach people how they can treat us every day through our own actions and attitude towards ourselves. If you are constantly sacrificing your desires and happiness for others they will come to expect this from you time and time again. If you rescue your colleague when they can’t manage their workload pretty soon they’ll assume that you’ll save them no matter the personal cost. Mums of the world if you continue to put yourself last then your partner and kids will expect to come first and expect you to sacrifice things for them. Prioritising yourself is announcing to the world that you are important.

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

What Does Prioritising Yourself Look Like?

Self-care is our first step to prioritising ourselves and it should be viewed as an essential part of our well-being. But it’s important to note that self-care looks very different for everyone. Listening to your inner voice is essential to work out what makes you feel content, what gives you energy and what can instantly change your mood. Here is some inspiration to get you started!

● Asking for help

● Scheduling regular time for exercising

● Scheduling alone time

● Setting healthy boundaries for colleagues, family and friends

● Practising daily mindfulness

● Turning down an invitation to relax and recharge

● Taking the time to spoil yourself (spa days, manicures, hair cuts etc)

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

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