When would be the right time to put yourself first?

when would be the right time to put yourself first
Drawing by Adrian Serghie

   Maybe you’ve noticed (or maybe not) that our life is passing by quickly. Most of us tend to prioritize mortgage, bills, jobs, cars, houses, food, family and whatever comes in front of us, but we tend to forget the person that’s seeing everything: ourselves.

   You see, we tend to try to fix things, but we forget that if we’re not ok, we cannot fix things. Sure, you might be ok now, but if you don’t take really good care of yourself, how much time will you be like this? Think about a house… if you don’t dust, cut the grass, paint the fence and other things like that, it will eventually deteriorate. That’s how we are too.

   But beyond the physical aspects, let’s look at this from an evolutionary perspective. How can we grow if we only focus on other things but ourselves? And I’m not talking about being selfish or things like that, but if we are not strong enough, we cannot help others. The stronger we are, the more things we can resolve, therefore, the more people we can help. It’s not a selfish thing, but a moral duty to become the best version of ourselves because that’s the only way we can influence others to do that too. And we do it not only through advices, but by becoming an example that it’s possible. Everything it’s possible, but it’s f*ckin’ hard, especially when you’re not used to it.

   I know I’ve mentioned similar things in the past, but today it become more personal than before. My wife kept sacrificing her own life so far for others and for other circumstances. That’s very noble of her and that’s one of the many reasons I love her. Yesterday she stumbled upon a Wedding Planning Course organized in our city (she loves weddings) and she would love to take it, but the cost of it is somehow an issue (as always). But no matter how tough things are, I believe she needs to do it because that’s what she loves to do and it would be a first in her life when she considers putting herself and her wellbeing first. It’s hard and she has second thoughts because she’s used to sacrifice herself, but life is too short for that. And once she grows, she can help so many people organize their perfect weddings because that’s what she loves to do. Without this course, she cannot help others at her full potential. Doesn’t it make sense to put herself first so she can do the best she can for others afterwards?

   This idea applies in any situation. Even though it might sound very noble to sacrifice ourselves for others, if we don’t grow first, we cannot scale that up. All kind of excuses and obstacles will come along the way because life isn’t easy, but we need to be strong so others can follow. We need to grow to prove it’s possible. We need to be great so we can teach greatness. We need to take risks so we can show that it is worth it.

   Considering all of this, I’m going to ask again: when would be the right time to put yourself first?

26 thoughts on “When would be the right time to put yourself first?

  1. As a wife and mother, I can honestly say I’m probably like most women in that position- everyone else comes first. But a little thing I’d like to call a mental hiccup last year made me realize I have to do things for me too. Not just self care, but also realizing a sense of purpose besides my home life. The same was true when I worked a job I hated just to pay the bills. Anytime life starts to feel suffocating and unbearable is the time to put yourself first. Life shouldn’t ever feel like that. Just don’t completely forget about the people counting on you while you do it.

    1. I agree that life shouldn’t be that way… and I also believe that we can put ourselves first so we can help others better, not necessarily for selfish reasons. If we don’t make the world a better place, then why do we live it?

  2. I find this really hard to do as I’m often not that great at looking after myself, but I think the right time to put yourself first is when you’re feeling unwell, whether that is physically or mentally.

  3. Great post, completely agree that in the big picture, it doesn’t help anyone if we neglect caring for and improving ourself. This can be so important to remember, especially if you’re naturally very empathetic.

    My idea is really simplistic and general, but maybe this is one way to think about when to put oneself first:

    1. Have my “default” behavior set to caring for myself.
    2. From that base, reach out caringly to others in small ways, frequently, for small needs. This might even just mean being polite, or small acts of considerateness.
    3. And reach out caringly in larger ways, less frequently, for big needs.
    4. Make sure that overall (not at every moment but overall) I am conserving and nourishing my own vitality (not only that of others), or I will “burn out” and no longer be able effectively to care for anyone, myself included.

    Something similar might apply to caring for myself versus caring for my things (yard, home, etc.).

  4. I love this post! It reminds me of the safety announcement on airplanes to put on your own oxygen mask before helping those around you. You cannot effectively help others if you are suffocating! True physically and figuratively!

  5. First to think, your wife may be an amazing person but she needs to understand one principle how Universe is working, it is sending back to you everything you sending to it. Sacrificing yourself for others it’s the worst vibration you can ever project. You can’t make others happy if they don’t want it. You can’t want happiness for other people more than they are. The best thing that getting you to higherer level is to think about yourself first. Because without you nothing and no one will exist. Even if you think that you have to sacrifice your life for your children it is not right thing to do. In that case you are teaching your kids bad example. You want your kids to love themselves, right? If you love yourself unconditionally you are offering good vibration and you also receiving it back. You teaching your kids to love themselves and it is nothing to do with ego and selfishness. 🌺

    1. I totally agree that we need to get at the highest level we can because that position will allow us to help more people than we could through sacrificing ourselves. That’s how things work.

  6. This hit home for me. Sometimes we over extend ourselves for others and don’t place as much energy on personal growth and tending to our needs and desires. I love that you emphasised the importance embodying that great version of ourselves we often look up to in others. Wishing your wife all the success in that wedding course 🙂

  7. When would be the right time to put yourself first? ALL the time. Period. We are the most important person in our lives and we need to treat ourselves that way. Every single person and thing in our life is temporary except ourselves. In the past I used to overextend myself to others and would prioritize everyone else’s needs over my own, but no more. Self love and self care are now my top priority and my life has never been better.

      1. Honestly? Well I have been doing a lot of self work and a lot of that has involved taking my power back in life. Do I like helping others? Absolutely, but a weird thing happens with some people. Once you give to them, they become ‘takers’ and there seems to be no issue on their end with using you for everything they can get from you while giving nothing back.
        One of the things I’ve learned during my self work was about codependency with other people, and by me constantly giving and getting nothing back, I realized that I had some pretty serious issues surrounding codependency in myself.
        By not paying attention to me and my needs I was giving my power away to other people and it was very draining for me. Also while learning about codependency addiction, I learned about how to set boundaries with people – those ones who are energy ‘vampires’. It has been way more effective for me in life to take all of the energy I was putting into others and put it onto myself.
        Once you truly love and honor yourself life becomes pretty amazing. It’s not selfish to say ‘me first’ or tell other people no. Doing these things is actually an act of self love.

        Haha, this is a very long answer, but hey – you asked. 🙂

      2. Thank you very much for this! I love long answers! So you focus on yourself and your wellbeing and this enables you to become better and help more people.

      3. Yes I do. From my own experience I have realized that if we are looking out for number one (ourselves) and are happy and balanced then it absolutely radiates outward in our lives. 🙂

  8. Oooh, good topic, and one I’vee battled with over and over. I’m not a mother, but my cat does come up high on the priority list, as does husband. My ex hubby and I stagnated for years until I decided to break the pattern and go back to school and earn two degrees. That definitely changed things up!
    Self-care is a harder to do for me since I’m kinda lazy and my energy is poured into the two larger cups of cat and hubby. My own cup is always low…which isn’t right. We need to treat ourselves equally as well as we treat others.

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