“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” – Mandy Hale
With responsibility comes great self-neglect. Not always, but often enough. With kids, the job, the social engagements, the familial responsibilities, plus all your worldly worries clambering around in your head, it can be easy to forget to make sure you are actually doing alright yourself.
If you are in the mindset of thinking ‘Well, I’m not important. As long as everybody else is doing OK, so am I.”, I’m afraid to say… you are wrong. Putting your own wellbeing at the top of your priority list is a must, and here’s why!
1. Who Else But You?
First of all, if you aren’t checking on what you need as a matter of priority, who else is going to? Yes, perhaps those closest to you are of huge help and bring massive support. But you know you the best. Therefore, you are in the best position, in most cases, to work out what it is that you want or need. Make sure to check in on yourself, even if things are feeling OK.
2. The ‘Selfishness’ Label
Some people confuse the meaning of the word ‘selfish’. Of course, if you are a hoarder of resources, somebody who actively works towards the discretion of others for your own gain, someone who prides themselves on their lack of empathy, or somebody who lives with an ‘every man for himself’ attitude, then yes, in this instance, you might be on the selfish side. However, remembering to look after your own health, both mental and physical, does not make you selfish. Yet there are many who don’t seem to think this is an acceptable priority when in pursuit of helping others. Many are still afraid that they may be labelled as selfish, and so go above and beyond to avoid such a possibility (as well as having a genuine drive to give unto others, of course).
3. Self-Love Does Not Equal Ignoring Others
Here’s another skewed idea: that looking out for your own wellbeing and being mindful of your own needs implies that you are ignoring the needs of everyone else. This is simply not true. Selfishness is a label that sticks to those who are consumed with the self and put themselves first 100% of the time. Putting yourself first, ensuring that you are housed, comfortable, fit, happy and well fed, is essential. Besides, what good are you to other people if you are not well enough to bring your best energies and skills?
4. Happy People Help Make People Happier
This brings us to the last point. Perhaps the most important point. It’s been said before, and I shall say it again, if you can’t help yourself, how can you expect to help anybody else? Think of yourself, for a moment, as a car. A bit odd, but stick with it! If a car is run down due to neglect; its engine rusting, its exhaust hanging off, and its windscreen cracked… if it is in a bad state and low on petrol, then how can you be sure that it is going to get passengers from A to B?
If a car has not been looked after then it will not run efficiently or reliably and the journey is likely to be uncomfortable or entirely unsuccessful. The better you are in yourself, the better you can support other people.
The world should be made up of happy, positive productive people. A tall order, sure, but it’ll certainly never happen if we don’t try! In order to contribute to this healthy, happy ideal, we need to ensure that we are putting the best version of ourselves into the world. Offering a well looked after you is also of benefit to others.
Just look after yourself. It’s not just OK. It’s essential!
By Chris Thomson
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