Welcome to my first post of 2018! [I’m only 4 months late, oops!] I vowed to myself that this year, my new years resolution wouldn’t be to change the way I look with some form of fad diet or gym routine that I know for sure I wouldn’t stick to; but instead to change the way I perceive myself. The first 4 months of this year have been hectic to say the least, however I have changed in almost every aspect over these 4 months. My absence has actually been my growth, and I love it! So, let me tell you my secret… for 2018, and every year after, its time for 100% of your focus to be on you!
People often think its selfish to put yourself first. Well, let me tell you, it most certainly is not.
We’re often taught and raised to believe that being completely selfless and being there for others is a good thing. And although I’m not denying that it usually is, it can quickly turn overwhelming. A desire to fit in, to be everybody’s best friend, to please everyone that we come into contact with; we can soon be unintentionally putting ourselves last on our priority lists purely out of fear of becoming a ‘bad’ person. The art of putting yourself first does not necessarily mean that you’re shutting your eyes to the people and world around you. You can still care, and be there for those close to you, but there are ways of doing so without it damaging your perception and sense of self. When you feed all of your energy into pleasing other people, you are draining yourself of all of your energy, forgetting that you need to take care of yourself, too. Before you know it, you’re running on empty and you simply have nothing left to give. You can’t pour from an empty cup. And you can’t function from one, either.
Taking care of yourself is key. Drink plenty of water, eat plenty of veggies that are rich in nutrients and fibre, get an early night whenever you can so that you feel refreshed and ready to take on each day; keep and grow plants in your house and be surrounded by living things, make lots of exciting plans with friends and family, but don’t feel ashamed if you cancel them if you don’t feel quite up to socialising. Make sure you get outside and let your lungs breathe a different air every once in a while, and, just do things that make your soul sing. It doesn’t matter if other people agree with your choices or not, as long as you are putting yourself first and enjoying the life that you lead.
Putting yourself first isn’t a selfish thing to do, despite what society has lead you to believe. It is about caring for yourself emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally, so that you are able to be the best person you can possibly be. It’s time to stop spending time, energy and money on things and on people, that no longer (or perhaps never) improved your life, or made you feel some element of happiness. It’s time to stop caring about things that you are simply not passionate about, or about what other people might think of you. [The truth is, you’re never going to know what people do actually think about you, so why does it matter so much?!] You’re allowed to prioritise your needs over other people’s. You’re allowed to eradicate the things (or maybe even people) who do not add anything of any substance or raw happiness to your life. And most importantly, you’re allowed to say no. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you a person who cares enough about themselves to make valid decisions and be in control of their own life.
Besides, finding time for yourself and putting yourself at the top of priority lists has a whole host of benefits:
Learn to love yourself so that you can love other people.
A string of unhealthy friendships and relationships has allowed me to take a step back and take a new perspective on not only those around me, but also myself. If you cannot take the time to look after yourself, then how are you going to be able to maintain healthy relationships with other people? If you are stressed, and tired, and have no energy, it is going to have a direct impact on your mental health and wellbeing. It’s also going to have an impact on the way you deal with relationships with others.
For instance, towards the end of 2017, I was digging myself a bit of a treacherous hole with regards to unhealthy relationships. I was so scared about losing friends and people in my life that I put them before myself, which eventually had a drastic impact on my health; both mental and physical. Since then, I have cut those relationships from my life, and I have never felt better. I have been able to focus on myself, on my studies, on the relationships I have with true friends that have been there for me through thick and thin, and it has been nothing but positive. In the beginning it felt selfish to just remove people from my life, but after all, relationships are about quality, not quantity, and we deserve to surround ourselves with those who make us the best people we can be.
Putting pretty much everybody above yourself causes you unnecessary amounts of stress. Believe me. I spent hours worrying about other peoples’ perceptions of me, about making them happy; so much so that their happiness was more important than my own. It’s only when you take a step backwards that you realise how utterly ridiculous this concept it. Naturally, in our 20-somethings, we are so busy building out empire; growing and building ourselves from the ground up, and we already have enough stress to deal with, whether it is is studying, working towards a promotion, or saving money for a seemingly impossible house deposit. On top of all of that, the last thing we want to be dealing with is negative nancies and people that drain us of our energy and self-worth.
Instead, our time should be spent doing the things that we love, and spending time with the people that mean the most to us. Respect your health. If you notice a difference in your wellbeing, don’t be ashamed to adapt the time you spend associated to that person or activity. Find time for yourself, and do what makes you happy!
A ravishing new-found sense of freedom.
Putting yourself first, and finding time for yourself, gives you a completely new meaning of the word freedom. With the likely stress and worry that naturally comes with caring what others think of you, you constantly feel restricted, and bound by other peoples’ perceptions of you. So much so, that you may even find yourself acting or behaving a certain way, just because you feel you have to, or because ‘everyone else is doing it’. This is lethal. Being completely and utterly happy with yourself, and surrounding yourself only with the people that protrude positivity, gives you a new lease of life. You’re no longer held back by the nagativity of others. You’re no longer worrying if you fit in. You’re no longer worrying about crossing oceans for those who wouldn’t even jump puddles for you. You are free to do absolutely whatever you want.
So, be you, and be your best version of you. Nobody can stand in your way. You are free to live your life, the way that you want to live it.
“In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt