Choosing yourself is a crucial part of your health and happiness in life. Many mistake this choice/trait for selfishness. To explain this confusion: selfish people always choose themselves, but those who choose themselves aren’t always being selfish.
Choosing you simply means that you put yourself first when it’s necessary; you take your own health and feelings into consideration and, when necessary, you put those feelings and needs over the wants of others.
People who are merely selfish always put their needs and wants over the needs of others. So how can you start to choose yourself first?
1) Stop and Think Before You Just Say Yes Out of Politeness
One of the most important and significant first steps towards choosing yourself on a daily basis is putting an end to the bad habit of saying yes to everything.
While it’s good to be open to new things, taking on too much work or too many obligations can overwhelm you and harm your overall mental health.
Do this: Pause when someone asks something of you, and say you'l get back to them with an answer later, then reflect on your own needs.
Can you take on more work or another event?
Can you handle a party, or do you need to go home and recharge your batteries?
Contrary to popular beliefs, it’s okay to say no to helping someone out sometimes.
2) Treat Yourself with Kindness
Part of choosing yourself first is treating yourself well. If you don’t treat yourself kindly and with respect, how can you expect others to do it? Stop being so hard on yourself; we all make mistakes, choose poorly, and miss the mark sometimes.
Give yourself a break and forgive yourself for your errors; as long as you learn from them, it’s all a part of life. A good way to practice this is by giving yourself pep talks throughout your day.
Do this: You don’t have to do this out loud, say positive affirmations and think positive thoughts. The act of deliberately thinking positive and inspiring thoughts about yourself will help you to overcome obstacles and improve your self-esteem and confidence.
3) Speak Up for Yourself
Another big part of choosing yourself is standing up for yourself and your beliefs. You matter just as much as anyone else and so does your opinion.
Do this: Practice stating your opinions, views, wants, etc. and standing up for yourself when necessary. You’re important and you deserve to be heard.
4) Take Care of Yourself
Part of getting into the habit of choosing yourself first is choosing to take care of yourself. You’re only given one body and one life; you need to take care of it.
Do this: Eat healthy food, exercise regularly, maintain proper sleep habits, go to the doctor when necessary, and do what you need to do to minimize stress and improve your mental health. It’s hard to choose yourself in social situations if you aren’t healthy enough to be in social situations.
5) Let Go of Toxic People
Letting go of toxic people isn’t only a step towards choosing yourself, but also a crucial step in maintaining good mental health. Toxic people bring no good into our lives; they tear us down and keep us there.
One popular opinion is to let go of these people by saying goodbye, good riddance. I prefer another way...
Do This: Inner Work - which is the practice of going deep within yourself for the purposes of self-exploration, self-understanding, healing, and transformation. When you work on yourself, you growth. When you grow, those around you who are not having similar experiences will fall by the wayside and continue on their own negative journey without you.
6) Remind Yourself You’re Worth It
This step is crucial to keeping steady with your progress in choosing yourself regularly and maintaining positive mental health on that journey.
As we said before, people often have a pre-conceived (and mistaken) notion of this endeavor as being an act of selfishness. However, this effort is more in the name of self-care.
You’re choosing yourself in situations where it is necessary: when you can’t take on a larger workload, when you can’t handle more obligations, when you need to remove a toxic person from your life, etc. You’re doing this because you’re worth it.
You are your own best champion, always remember that.