From an early age, most of us are taught that being selfless is a good thing. “But I want to have the last piece of the cake,” a child screams at her brother. “Now, now, sharing is caring,” scolds their mother. So begins the lifelong lesson of trying to suppress your needs, wants, and desires.
Years go by and you’re nowhere close to reaching your goals or achieving happiness. At some point in your life, you get tired of saying yes to others and putting yourself last. And so begins a journey of re-discovery of what it means to put yourself and your needs first.
So, where do you start? Here are my 3 tips on how to put yourself first:
1. Acknowledge Your Destructive Behavior
There are lots of reasons why we put other people’s needs before ours. It could be because you’ve been raised to believe that it’s just the right thing to do, or maybe you had a sick parent you had to take care of, or you were the oldest sibling in the family.
The bad news is, you’ve wasted many years of your life trying to please others, and now you probably feel like it’s too late to change. The good news is, you can do something about it. And I’m going to show you exactly what to do in the next 2 steps.
2. Get to Know Your Own Needs
Before you can make your needs a priority, you need to know what your needs are. What are your values, what would your dream relationship look like, do you trust your partner to take care of himself/herself?
If you don’t know what your top personal values are, download the FREE list here:
It’s important to start taking care of yourself, instead of putting your partner’s needs first. This is especially true for women as we are nurturers by nature. Sometimes, we make the mistake of treating our men as if they’re children. That’s not only harmful to the relationship but also has a negative impact on them as individuals.
3. Take Time to Make Some Changes
Take your time to make the small changes that are going to have a big impact on your life. Change the way you think about yourself, spend more time on your health and happiness. Start taking care of your body, spirit, and mind. Meditation is a good way to get deeper within your own self.
Take a good look at your negative patterns. What triggers you to obsess over your partner’s needs, and not your own? Is it out of insecurity or do you step in only if they’re really in trouble? If it’s the former, dig deeper into yourself.
Do you feel like you are not enough and have to prove yourself by taking care of them? If that’s the case, it’s time to put all this love and effort towards somebody else — you.
Whatever it is that’s troubling you, start by being kind to yourself. Treat yourself out to dinner, go get a massage, listen to your favorite music, and sing your heart out.
Spend a day, pampering yourself in any way possible. What will happen, is that you will start to acknowledge the benefits of focusing on your own needs. And trust me, by taking care of yourself first, you will also become a better partner.
And if you want to take the shortcut to self-love, check out The Self-Love Toolkit.
Learn How to Love Yourself, Unconditionally
(in less than 15 minutes per day!)
One of the books that completely shifted my perspective on putting yourself first in a relationship is Marisa Peer’s “I am Enough.” It’s all about rewiring your mind by using powerful affirmations. As a Cognitive Therapy Practitioner, I appreciate what this book is teaching us to do: observe what thoughts we have on a daily basis and reframe the ones that are no longer serving us. You can buy “I am Enough” at Amazon here.
Don’t be afraid to spend some time alone. Get to know yourself well, you’re the best company you’ll ever have. It’s very important to get rid of the guilt. You DESERVE to be pampered, loved, taken care of. You are enough. Embrace your own quirks.
If you’re afraid that some negative feelings may arise, don’t be. They’re a sign that you’ve neglected your needs along the way, nothing more. Remember: “If you fall in love with your own darkness, it will no longer hold a shadow over you.”