Is putting ourself first, selfish?

There is a big misconception in our society it’s time to unsettle: the perception that putting ourself first is selfish.

By loving another person, whether is our partner, kid, friend or family member, we want to make them happy, we want to make them feel understood and heard. We prioritize their needs, interests, desires. However, loving others, doesn’t mean we can’t love ourselves too. Actually, we should all try to nurture more love for ourselves than we do for others.

By loving ourselves, we take care of ourselves and ensure the care and love we give to others is coming from a place of inner abundance, from a place of care and love within us. We become more giving partners, parents, friends and beyond. The misconception here is that many people think unconsciously that loving ourselves is forgetting about others. That can lead involuntarily to frustrations and resentment, ending up hurting our beloved ones without realizing it. To be and give our best, we need to put ourself first, over our partner, kid, friend, colleague or family member. No one can benefit from us being in second place. Dodinsky said: ‘Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind’.

We need to realize that people we love the most love us too. They want to see us happy and healthy. A relationship is at its best when the persons are feeling their best physically, mentally and emotionally. Sleeping well, eating healthy food, regularly exercising, seeing friends and family engage stimulating work. Think about the opposite when we became drained and having no longer energy, our irritability affects people around, not only our well-being, but our relationships will suffer.

On another part, when we are anxious and stressed, we simply can’t enjoy the good moments in life. We cannot be fully present and give our positive energy during a dinner or gathering when we are running on empty. Resting, having break become mandatory to reload and fully charge our energy. Saying ‘yes’ to resting means saying ‘no’ to invitations, commitments, friends gathering… that we would naturally say yes, even if it seems counterintuitive. It is not the time to please people, or to be nice, or to avoid conflict… it is ‘our’ time. It is not an option but requirement. 

Our physiology and psychology are interconnected. When we don’t rest and we are stressed, we are living in survival mode and the stress hormone is up, our cortisol level is jumping while our serotonin (hormone of pleasure) is depleted. Scientific studies revealed that 5 min of stress shut down our immune system by 5 hours. We are then more exposed to be sick and can caught easily infections, virus…

This means that we are pulling some help and reinforcements from some parts of our brain reserved for love, connection and contentment. When we overextend one part of us, everything (and everyone) suffers. So, it’s right to politely decline an invitation and say you prefer to rest.

People feel as well the energy we bring to every situation. If we are happy, they will see it, if we are angry, they will feel it. Our emotions do not have to be intense for our loved ones to attract this energy. 

The best gift we can offer to our loved ones is to be the healthiest and happiest self we can be. Sometimes, that implies saying no. Sometimes that “no” may disappoint them. But most important of all is listening to the wisdom of our body and our mood. Taking time for ourself serves everyone around us. 

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