As children, we were often told that helping others is more important than helping ourselves. It is expected of us that we will show generosity, consider the needs of others before our own, and give up something of ourselves for the sake of others. While it is essential that we learn to put the needs of others ahead of our own, there are times when doing so may not be entirely justified.
The fact is that as much as doing good for others is important, we can’t be ourselves, be happy, or have our best life if we always put other people’s needs before our own. Therefore, it’s crucial to make yourself a priority once in a while. In fact, there are many reasons why this is a good idea and could change your entire life for the better. Read on to find out more.
You’ll Reach Your Own Goals
If you’re like most people, you’ll have goals in life. Maybe you call them dreams. They might be rather vague, or you could be firm in what you want. The problem is, you haven’t reached them yet. There could be all kinds of reasons for this, but one that stands out and that you can immediately do something about is that you are taking care of others before you take care of yourself.
This means that although you have things that you want to do, see, and achieve in life – this doesn’t have to mean your career, although that will certainly come into it; it could mean anything from seeing the world to having a family, for example – and if you don’t start working towards those goals, you might miss out. And the reason you’re not working towards those goals is that you just don’t have the time to dedicate to them because you are looking after everyone else’s hopes, dreams, and goals first.
If you can concentrate on what you want and make that happen (even if it’s through tiny steps), you’ll get where you want to go. If you keep putting other people first, your goals will get further and further away.
Your Loved Ones Want To See You Being Happy
When you are doing things for other people, you are looking out for their wellbeing but potentially neglecting your own. Why not turn this idea around; if you want your family to be happy and healthy, it’s probable they want the same for you. All the time you are focusing on other people and neglecting yourself, you’re not actually making them feel happy – not completely, at least – because they know you’re suffering, even if it’s only a small amount.
Think about the people in your life and how much better your relationships are when everyone involved is healthy on all fronts. Think about how you feel when you get enough sleep every night, work out regularly, visit the cosmetic dentist when you need to, eat well, spend time with loved ones, and have meaningful work to do.
If you can think about yourself and do the things that make you feel good, your loved ones will benefit. So you can’t think of these important things as selfish; instead, think of them as part of your ability to care for others. This might help you do more things for yourself.
You Can’t Enjoy Life When You Are Burned Out
When you’re overworked, stressed out, or tired, everything can feel like a chore, even fun things like going to dinner with friends or trying to read a good book. Why? It’s because you deserve – and need – a break. Even if you know that whatever it is you’re meant to be doing should be fun, you just won’t be able to enjoy it if you’re too tired, burned out, and not able to focus on it. When you’re burned out, just trying to keep going uses up your serotonin and other “happy hormones.” You no longer have the chemicals in your brain that make you happy to just be, let alone enjoy whatever else you had planned.
This is why, even though it seems counterintuitive, sometimes saying no to fun plans with friends and family means saying yes to your overall happiness. You can’t do everything and you can’t be everywhere. If you put yourself first and make plans that work around your schedule rather than trying to fit everything in and becoming overwhelmed, you will be a lot happier, and you’ll enjoy the things to actually do to the fullest.