Many of us believe that taking care of our mental and emotional health is bad or wrong if it means putting ourselves first, but that isn’t always the case. Constantly putting others above ourselves can feed into a “martyr” mindset and completely overwhelm us, leaving us no time or energy to pursue our own goals. Instead of draining ourselves to please others, we should fearlessly pursue our dreams and life goals. Here are 5 (seemingly selfish, but really smart) ways that you can prioritize yourself:
1. Honor yourself first.
Honoring yourself may feel icky at first, but it’s the same as putting your oxygen mask on before you help others if your plane loses pressure on a flight. You can’t be at your best for others if you don’t make yourself a priority.
What do you need to do today to feel good about yourself? Whether you need to treat yourself to a latte, take a nap, or carve out 30 minutes of “me time” for a bath and a good book, do it – it’ll make your life better.
2. Take every chance you can to grow as a person.
Every challenge you face or goal you try to meet comes with an important lesson for you to learn. If you want to truly learn from your mistakes and grow as a person, pretend you are in the grandstands, and look down from above to see the bigger picture.
This perspective will change your life dramatically. When you look for the real meaning behind your day-to-day challenges, you can learn resilience and prioritize personal growth. Life is a lot easier when you allow yourself to “selfishly” learn lessons that will ultimately help you grow.
3. Say “no” to things that don’t serve you.
Are you a people-pleaser who often automatically agrees to do things that you don’t really want to do? If you are, you could be enabling someone else to be lazy or avoid responsibility for their actions. More importantly, though, when you say “yes” to everything, you taking time away from the things that matter most to you. Learning to say “no” to things that no longer serve you can help keep your mind clear and your future full of potential.
4. Say “yes” to yourself more frequently.
Saying “no” to someone else is just another way of saying “yes” to yourself.
If you want to do something but haven’t had the courage, say “yes!” After you say “no” to others, you’ll have more time to say “yes” to the things that truly fulfill you.
5. Notice your impact.
When you start to prioritize yourself, you may feel awful, but stick with the process. Notice how the people who love you support you when you say “yes” to yourself and how those who use you will walk away. Keep those supportive people around, and let go of the others. It may hurt, but you’ll be glad that you made that tough choice.
This process opens up the other dimensions of your life — the ability to give more love without secretly wanting something back in return. When you put yourself first, you become a woman who values herself, knows what she wants, follows her heart, and goes after her dreams. The world needs a lot more of those types of women right now, so keep putting yourself first!
Kelly Rudolph, founder of PositiveWomenRock, takes women from stuck and stressed to clear and confident by releasing emotional baggage from the past. Connect with her and get her Free Life Strategies now.
Originally published on YourTango.