Most people have grown up with an idea that good people always put others first. That, to truly lead a happy, productive, and good life, you must put your needs behind the needs of others. Good things will happen to you as long as you do the right thing, which is to put everyone else first. This is something that most of us have been taught. We should only care for ourselves once we have looked after everyone else. If we’re being honest, yes, the world does need more unselfishness. That doesn’t mean, though, that the only way to achieve that is by putting yourself last.
Your needs matter. Your cup needs to be overflowing to fill the cups of others. Unfortunately, many of us have fallen prey to the idea that everyone else comes first. That can be severely damaging to your self-esteem. We are subconsciously sending ourselves the message that we don’t matter as much. This leaves us open to poor treatment from others, in our personal and/or professional lives.
By meeting your own needs first you are more capable to support the people around you. Here are five ways to make yourself a priority in your own life.
1. Daily Loves
You work hard, you are run off your feet daily. Make yourself a priority by carving out time each day to do one thing that you love. You only live once so, why shouldn’t you have a bit of fun in life? You should get to enjoy your life every day. You took care of your responsibilities, so go enjoy 30 minutes, or however long you wish, to read, garden, play the piano, go to the gym or, whatever.
2. Tick That List
You probably tick things off of your to-do list daily at work. You have to. If you didn’t, your boss would be on your back. Does that level of organization extend to your home life or do you get so caught up in taking care of everyone else that you ignore that to-do list? You’d be surprised at how much stress and anxiety an untended to-do list can cause you. Make yourself a priority by ticking off one thing from your to-do list daily. The best part is that it doesn’t have to be you that does it – if you have a partner and/or children, then learn how to delegate tasks. While they’re tackling those tasks, you can escape for a moment of peace.
3. Identify Time Wasters
How do you spend your day? When you take an honest look at your productivity, you will easily identify activities and tasks that waste your time and offer you no value. Cut those out and you will find it much easier to prioritize yourself. Think about how much time you spend on social media or, running to the store multiple times a week… add that time up and you have an afternoon at the spa.
4. A Memorable Day
As a larger commitment to yourself, strive to enjoy one memorable day each month. It’s your big day. How will you spend it? This day is about just one thing – one experience, you have just one focus. This is a break that immerses you and feeds you as you need to be fed. It isn’t about some finished product, it’s about capturing a feeling. It can be whatever you want, after all, it’s your memorable day.
5. Set Boundaries
It’s important to set limits on your time and let others know what is acceptable. When we don’t do this it lets others know that we undervalue ourselves, which makes you a target. It will change your life. Take some time to determine what your limits are and start enforcing them with everyone around you.
Sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing to do.
It’s funny how often we’d rather take on the impossible and/or stressful daily schedules instead of just asking for help.
Asking for help takes vulnerability and opens you up to another person. For some of us, this may come easy. For those of you who struggle, read on for some ways to ask for help. It will ease your anxiety and stress!
Accept That You Need and Deserve Help
The first and possibly hardest step is accepting that you not only need help, but you deserve it. Maybe you used to ask for help all the time, but negative reactions made you stop. If you’re struggling though, you need to accept that you need help or things are going to get worse.
Give that younger version of yourself who hardened your heart to others a break. You have come a long way since then. You’ve learned how to do a lot on your own, so it is not unreasonable to ask others to help you now. It is often the case that those around you would rather know you need help than watch you fail.
Know What You Need
Once you accept that you need and deserve help, you need to make sure you know what you need help with. Do you need advice buying a car? Do you need a co-worker’s advice? Make sure you know exactly what it is so you can go to the right person and ask the right thing.
Often, we struggle with requests for help because we don’t know what we need. We convey some idea that we think might help, but the other person gets confused and offers favors that don’t make your life easier. All of that struggle can be avoided if you know exactly what you need from a person.
Don’t Leave People Guessing About What You Need
According to Alice Boyes of PsychologyToday.com, “When asking for help, make sure the person knows exactly what you want. For example, if you want your spouse to show you what to do, rather than just tell you, make sure you ask for that.”
This also works in the office. Your boss and coworkers may sometimes seem like they are waiting around for you to fail so they can be mad at you. The truth is they all want you to succeed because you are on their team. When you do your job better, so does everyone else.
Therefore, in relationships both personal and professional, make sure to ask for specific things when you know you need them. The clearer you are, the more likely you will receive the support you need and deserve.
When you readily help others, they will readily help you. The key is knowing when to say no. If you are already feeling overwhelmed, you may not be able to meet someone’s request. This is fine! You have to make sure that you are doing well before you can help others.
When you are doing well, however, it benefits others, the world, and even you to offer up quality assistance to your friends, family, and members of your office and community. When those around you are happy and productive, it helps you and your entire community! So, make some time to help others and you will never be wanting for assistance.
Asking for help is hard because we think it makes us weak. We’re also afraid we won’t get it. We have to push on past these fears with the firm belief that we need and deserve assistance. We must also walk the walk and help others in return.
Fear is an important and natural emotion. Feeling fear doesn’t make you weak, it makes you normal. As a matter of fact, most people who do brave things are doing them while they feel fear. Being brave doesn’t mean you’re fearless, it generally means you fear less. Or, at the very least, you are managing your fear while you do what must be done in a difficult situation.
Fear can actually be a very good thing. Fear comes from the primal parts of the brain which trace back to our ancestors who used their sense of fear to keep themselves alive. Healthy fears will keep you from walking down a dark alley at night. Your sense of self-preservation knows that’s not a solid idea. Healthy fear also helps you drive the speed limit or avoid doing something illegal that could get you arrested. Fear can be a very good thing!
Some fears are irrational. Fear can take you down a path of worst-case scenarios where everything ends in despair and ruin. Fear of the unknown can keep people from taking risks that might improve their lives or make them more fulfilling. Fear can petrify people and keep them locked in the past where something awful happened, and they live worried that bad things are always going to happen.
Feeling fear is normal and shouldn’t be avoided altogether. The key is to recognize healthy fears and destructive fears and take appropriate actions. Paying attention to healthy fear is just as important as overriding destructive fears. The key is to perceive what type of fear you are experiencing and act accordingly.
Being brave calls for facing all types of fears and doing the next right thing. This could mean discerning that fear is warning you to avoid a catastrophe and quitting before it’s too late or knowing irrational fear is causing you to avoid taking action and pushing through it. Choosing the right action is an act of bravery.
Difficult times call for action that can feel overwhelming and out of your league, but you can face your fears and do what must be done. Feeling afraid is normal and it doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to be brave. You can take bold actions even when you don’t feel confident. You may not get it perfect but taking action regardless is the most important step.