Putting yourself first is something that many people feel is inappropriate. When looking at others doing it, some will go as so far as to be critical. It is a fact, that if you are no good to yourself, you will be no good to others. How far we should take it, is debatable.
Many will put the needs of others before themselves and when there is no reciprocation, feel slighted. Many will have an expectation of others to help them out and when refused, feel slighted. Often people will look at someone else and see affluence, abundance of ‘things’, ‘time’ or capabilities and feel that it should be shared on an ad hoc basis. I heard a saying recently. ‘they see my glory but don’t know my story’. Should your story make a difference to whether you put yourself first or not?
When we work hard, develop good self management skills, work on personal development, overcome obstacles well and achieve our goals, do we have a responsibility to put others before us? After all if you are ‘alright’ why not help others to be ‘alright’ too?
There is a fine line between self neglect and putting yourself first. You must decide what is most important in each situation as it arises before you decide when you come first or not.
Some people will have a sense of duty and responsibility that has been formed by culture, society, religion and other external influences. ‘My kids come first’ is something that I hear on a regular basis. I’ve also seen and heard, from the very people who say it, expectation of return. A parent will ‘sacrifice’ them self for the wants of the child and complain that the child is ungrateful.
If one feels that by doing for others, they are sacrificing themselves, they shouldn’t do it. When giving of yourself, it should be done with an open mind and heart. There should be a joy in doing. When you ‘give’ joyously, the very knowing that your efforts has brought about opportunity, relief, assistance or just calm, should, in itself, be a reward and have a double positive effect.
If you find yourself dwelling on the disadvantage that your assistance for another has put you at, then the ‘giving’ cancels itself out. The other person may benefit but you won’t.
Does matter if you benefit? Yes it does, because if you benefit too, you are more likely to do it again and continue to feel good about yourself and celebrate the achievement of others. Too often we give of our self out of duty and feel down trodden and unappreciated because deep down we didn’t really want to do it, or we did it with expectation that wasn’t met. We then get tired of feeling that way and stop giving.
The most important reason for putting yourself first is so that you can have the strength, mind and heart to give or do to others, peacefully.