Today I want to discuss something that I have (and still do) struggle with – putting myself first.
This post will be pretty personal, but if my testimony can be an encouragement to just one person out there, this post has out-served its purpose.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to serve others and have always put myself last. As I got older and started to read more self-help articles and listen to the mainstream advice of “don’t be selfish,” I took it to heart; a little too much.
I started every morning planning out my day and trying to figure out everyone else’s. While I was studying or at the movies with a friend, I’d worry if my mom needed my help with laundry or if I needed to call to check in on a family member that I hadn’t talked to for a week.
I’d worry if I added to any stress they may or may not already have; I worried that because I wasn’t right there 24/7 that something would go wrong and it would be my fault.
The thing is, the people I’m referring to are very independent and do not need someone to live their lives for them.
I just felt like I had to be serving someone every second of every day or I’d be deemed “selfish” and “conceded.”
After about 3 years of this constant weight that I was truly putting on myself, I was mentally and physically starting to feel the side effects. I was tired after 8+ hours of sleep, couldn’t get a cup of coffee big enough to carry me past noon, and felt like I had a huge weight on my shoulders when in all reality things were going good.
The weight was something I put on myself; no one else.
The weight was something I felt I needed to have in order to be qualified a “giving” person.
So after my family talking to me, lots of prayer, and realizing that I need to love myself just as much as I love others, I started taking the first steps in the right direction.
For example, last night I got home after a long day of errands; I got in my comfy clothes and proceeded to my office where I sat for 20 minutes and stared at the screen, trying to make sense of my inbox. I had over four hundred emails and a blog post that needed to be scheduled to go up.
After 20 minutes had passed, I decided that I needed to take the rest of the night off. It was already past 9 PM and I was exhausted. So, I turned off my laptop (something I need to do more often than actually I do) and headed to my bed.
This is not anywhere near the usual time I go to bed, but this time I didn’t listen to my schedule – I listened to my body. I crawled in my bed and snuggled with my dog whilst watching Netflix. Normally, I’m working on something while I “relax.” So, to fully take time to just sit and be was so nice. During this time I didn’t worry about what other’s were doing or if they were okay. This may sound so harsh and please know that I don’t mean it in that context. I always have and always will care about others and the people in my life. But, I’m learning to stop worrying about how I could fix their problems. God is in control of every person’s life, not me. Giving the control over to Him is the best thing for me to do.
A couple hours later I fell into a deep sleep and got a great night’s rest.
On this rainy Saturday I’m going to get my school, blog, and life work done, but also take time to be still.
Still today as I’m typing this I’m not (for lack of a better word) healed from this issue. I still feel guilty if I’ve dedicated a whole day to myself. But, one thing I do notice is that after I do something for me, myself, and I – I can serve others better with an even more giving and genuine heart.
I have to know love to myself from myself in order to pass it on to others.
So, what’s the takeaway from this post?
Well… It could be quite a few things. But, for me the takeaway is that you need to love yourself and put yourself first. This does not make you selfish and you have no reason to feel guilty for doing such. You will be an inspiration to so many in this world.
How do you put yourself first?
Thoughts on this topic/post?