One of the worst things anyone can ever do to themselves is pile on the guilt for wanting to have some time to themselves and put themselves first. In fact, putting yourself first is really the reverse of being selfish. Because of that fact, there is no reason to feel guilty. Let’s go through some ways to lessen and even eliminate your guilt about sometimes putting your needs first.
* Your Family Loves You – Your family will respond fine to you finding time to put yourself first, especially when it comes to your health and happiness. They want you to be happy. If you tell them that these 15 minutes (or an hour) of whatever activity you do alone is important to you and why, they’ll respect it. Even if they don’t at first, they’ll come around. Dr. Phil once said, “You teach people how to treat you.” And while a lot of what he says may not be true, this one quote is.
* Your Friends Care about You – Like most people, even your best friends will take advantage of you if you let them. It’s not that they don’t care about you or that they mean to take advantage. It’s the fact that if you say yes, they just assume you want to say yes. Try saying no, and your friends will respect you and understand.
* You’ll Enjoy Life More – When you have some downtime that is just for you, to do whatever is that you love doing (whether that is reading, painting, walking, or meditating), you’ll be a happier, more well-rounded person who enjoys life a lot more.
* It’s Really a Requirement Not an Option – The fact is, you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing something that is really a requirement in your life. It’s not optional to take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be productive or happy.
* If You Get Sick What Will Happen? – When you don’t put yourself first, you’ll end up sick. What happens when you’re sick? If you go to bed for a few days with the flu or other illness, does the world fall apart? Did you know that if you take the time to care for yourself, you’ll be less likely to get ill?
* Your Feelings Transfer to Others – It’s hard to believe, but when you’re overworked and say yes to things you’d rather not do, it shows. People may not be able to interpret the actual reason behind your attitude, behavior, or energy, but they can sense that something is off. This can make other people feel uncomfortable without understanding why.
* You Can Only Control Yourself – Some women have a hard time with guilt when they make themselves a priority because they think that deep down, things just won’t get done right if they’re not doing it. But the truth is, that’s not your problem. You can only control yourself; you can’t control everyone else.
* Prioritizing Yourself Doesn’t Mean Neglecting Others – Some people think that “me” time means that you neglect others. That’s just not true. You just have to learn to differentiate needs versus wants. Needs are before wants. You need time to yourself and you need to take care of yourself. That’s far more important than whether you run the PTA bake sale or Betsy does.
Honestly, the more you learn to put your needs before other people’s wants, the happier, healthier, and better you’ll be at everything that you do. If you won’t put yourself first, no one else will – not your partner, not your kids, and not your friends. It must be you.