I know that putting yourself first can be a real challenge. We’re conditioned to think that when we do things just for ourselves that we are being selfish and that being selfish is a bad thing. Actually, I’m going to tell you that being selfish is a good thing. Putting your need and happiness first is a good thing and really taking care of yourself is also a good thing.
When you’re told to put your oxygen mask on first if there’s a problem on your aeroplane there’s a really good reason for that, even though it might seem counter intuitive. The reason is that if you can’t breathe and you’re dead, you can’t help anybody but if you have your own mask on and are able to breathe, you can help others to put theirs on.
Now, not putting yourself first and taking some time for yourself may not kill you but it does decrease your effectiveness at doing everything and anything that you’re trying to do, so there are definitely people around who would benefit from you putting yourself first, not solely so that you feel better but also so that you’re better able to support them.
So, who are these people who need you to be selfish?
Yep! Your kids need you to be selfish. They may not think so right now and they may not show you that in the moment but they do really need you to be selfish and take some time for yourself.
A tired, exhausted or frustrated mum is not effective. Tired mums make mistakes, have a lot less patience and as they are not their best selves they are also not their best version of being a mum. I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty or to make you feel bad but to try and encourage you to see that by taking some time for yourself, doing whatever it might be that resets you, energises you and makes you feel a bit more alive, that it can actually help to support and improve your relationship with your kids.
Your husband / partner /significant other
They may also not realise it yet but they want you to take some time for yourself too. Relationships take a LOT of work, more so if you have kids at home too. Being too tired or too stressed can mean that you’re not a lot of fun to be around or that you spend a lot of nights apart, one of you in bed before the other or even dealing with housey stuff that doesn’t get done during the day.
Not being at your best could build resentment and mean that the interactions you have in your relationship become less meaningful and you can start to drift. When you’re feeling better about you, you have more to put into your relationship and it works better.
As we get older, so do our parents, even though we may not like to think of it that way. As our kids get older and less dependent, our parents can become more dependent and we can find ourselves needing to do more for them. They become yet another set of people who take our energy and time and another set of people who need us to be in tip top condition and operating as our best versions of ourselves.
Your work colleagues
When you’re working with others, whether that’s reporting to someone more senior or leading a team, they need you to be on top form at work. For us working mums, it can often seem that when work goes well, family can suffer and vice versa but if you prioritise you and your energy levels you can often be a much better version of yourself all round. Your work colleagues will thank you for putting yourself first so that you have better ideas, are clearer, sharper and hitting the deadlines you have in place.
Finally, but arguably most importantly, the last person is you of course. You need to be selfish and put yourself first if you are exhausted because it’s really important that you not only feel like you’re in control of your life but that you do take back control. You’re not here for long, so it’s really important that you’re enjoying your life.
When we focus on taking time to do what lights us up, to take care of our own needs and to put ourselves firmly at the top of the priority list, the ripple that creates in other people’s lives is priceless.
Being selfish impacts on everyone around you – but in a positive way, helping them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be which in turn allows them to impact on other people in a positive way.
The example you set to your kids will help them now and in their future lives, so you’re even impacting on (potential) grandchildren!
If you want more help and support in putting yourself first so that you begin to create a better version of you to impact on the world then you can click below to watch the masterclass, Enough is Enough!