We are taught that putting yourself first is selfish. Especially if you are a woman, how can you possibly think that putting yourself first is acceptable? According to society, being a woman means taking care of others, and then, if we have time, taking care of ourselves. With guilt, of course.
But apparently saying to ourselves “I am too..fat, too ugly, too awkward” is ok.
So, how is this acceptable, instead?
The danger of being too much
I officially dislike the word “too” if it is not a synonym of the word “also”. “Too” implies there is something wrong with us.
Too young, too old, too fat, too lovely, too caring, too sweet, and any adjective that comes to mind in conjunction with the word too is a judgement we throw at ourselves, or others. But we need to learn a fundamental truth. The way we talk to ourselves, exactly as the way we talk to others, does matter. If we say something unkind to a friend, I bet they would be hurt and upset with us. Well, the same rules apply when we talk to ourselves. Try and say to yourself that you are fat and ugly and then be happy about it. How does that feel? Not great, right?
So, being “too” of something, no matter if the adjective is positive or negative, implies a judgement on your part that something is wrong with you and needs correcting. Normally, it goes like this. “I am not good enough, beautiful enough, smart enough”, and the list goes on.
How can you even think of putting yourself first if you think that something is wrong with you?
The danger of being not enough
Being too much of something implies that we are being not enough of the positive side of it. Practically, we have doubled our unhappiness about who we are.
By doing so, putting yourself first becomes virtually impossible.
Putting yourself first means that you need to be good enough.
Putting yourself first means that you are worth the attention you are getting in a workplace (am I smart enough?), in a social situation (am I funny or interesting enough?), o in a relationship (am I beautiful enough?).
As women, we feel like impostors when someone notices us, and we often feel we are not worth the attention. So, if we follow the rules, fit in nicely, become substantially invisible, nobody will see us and judge us. At least, this is what we believe, because we will be the harsh judge of ourselves every time you have the courage of putting yourself first.
So how do you start putting putting yourself first?
You start from accepting the idea that putting yourself first is ok. We need to understand that there is nothing wrong with you, and with putting yourself first, because you can still love and take care of others while accepting that your own needs and dreams are important as well.
It is your responsibility, for your life, to be committed to putting yourself first, because nobody else will do it for you.
Putting yourself first. The 3 golden rules
1. Know thyself
Imagine you have an internal compass in your heart that tells you exactly what you love.
Imagine you are listening to that fantastic feeling that comes when something makes your soul sing. Imagine that for putting yourself first you just need to listen to these feelings, and recognise them for what they are. Your passions, and your unique gifts.
Think of what you would do for hours without stopping. It feels amazing, does not it? There is nothing wrong with what you feel, because that is what your heart desires and it is telling what you were born for.
2. Trust your own nature
We all have an instinct, and by putting yourself first, you are saying to yourself that you trust you will do the best you can. But often what we say to ourselves is “I cannot do that” , or “I do not want to look silly”…and we stop. You stop yourself form putting yourself first and embracing who you are. The fear that you are not good enough paralyses you.
You can do anything, and the secret to starting doing that is asking yourself “How can make this happen?” I bet you will come up with not one, but many different solutions. The secret of putting yourself first is to focus on what you want and not to your sense of “I am not good enough”. Because you are good enough for anything you want to do in life, you just need to allow yourself to be yourself. Focus on the result you want, and then let your own abilities do the rest. It will flow like magic.
3. Think outside your box
Because we live in a society, we have been taught what we should not be doing, so to respect limits and boundaries. Rarely we have been taught or shown the extent of our possibilities as individuals.
For the sake of living together in a society, we need to be put in a box. Uniformed. This is one of the reasons why we are not used to putting ourselves first. We are so used to thinking that putting ourselves first is wrong, that every time we feel we would love to, we put ourselves down automatically back where we we have been told we belong.
Focus on what you can do, not what you cannot. Focus on possibilities and not limitations. Think in terms of opportunities and not problems. Your box will expand to leave enough space for putting yourself first.
Life does not come with an instruction manual, and neither do people. It takes a lifetime to getting to know both the world and yourself, but you were not born to live in a box. Take the time to listen to that vibrant and enthusiastic voice that tells you that you can. Leave the voice that speaks harshly talk, but do not believe it. It protects you from living.
Be brave and be committed to putting yourself first, because as Marie Forleo says so well “The world needs that special gift that only you have”.