It’s good to focus on yourself sometimes.
We are programed to believe that taking care of our mental and emotional state is bad or wrong if it means being self-focused or putting yourself first.
However, this fear of being selfish can make you feel stuck and stressed and ultimately, cause you to miss out on your dreams.
In fact, it’s only recently that the self-love buzz phrase has been deemed as positive. Just look up the synonyms still hiding in Microsoft Word and you’ll get a shocker! Egoism, selfishness, egocentricity, narcissism, and egotism are listed as a few.
But how else can you accomplish the many goals you have in your life if you don’t prioritize your needs above others? You may not become a rock star or supermodel like you dreamed of as a kid, but you certainly can share your voice, feel good in your skin and find true happiness by focusing on your own needs first!
Remember: You are important. Your life has meaning. Your dreams are valid — and worth pursuing fully.
Sure, it can be absolutely terrifying to go after your dreams! But you know what’s worse? Dying with them still inside.
Let me explain how we are already selfish, we’re just not calling it that. We do and say things each day in an attempt to get one or more of our four basic human psychological needs met. They are: connection, significance, variety, and certainty.
Your mind is already set up to take care of you first.
If you are so busy you have no time for yourself, which of these needs are you getting met? It could be significance, as in “I’m important. Look how in-demand I am.”
Are you taking care of everyone else with no time left over for me-time? You could be getting your need for connection met, as well as the certainty that you matter. But let me assure you again: You. Matter.
The martyr thing is a biggie in our society of “please notice me.” It comes from not knowing who we are because we’re afraid of being seen as selfish, egotistical, or a narcissist if we take time for ourselves.
Here’s what that mindset does though: It makes it impossible to develop self-love, and that means our needs for connection, certainty, and significance can only come from others. It puts us in a box of having to do, do, do for everyone else in order to get our basic psychological needs met — and that is dangerous. We certainly can never fulfill our dreams that way.
Your life is meaningful. Be selfish. Let’s change the way that word is used so the definition can finally be accurate and supportive.
Here are 5 (seemingly selfish, but actually smart) ways you can bring more happiness and meaning into your life:
- Honor yourself first.
It may feel icky at first, but it’s the same principle as putting your oxygen mask on first if the plane loses pressure. You’re not your best for others if you’re not making yourself a priority.
What do you need today to feel good about yourself? Could be treating yourself to a latte, taking a nap, or carving out 30 minutes of me-time for a bath with a good book.
- Take every chance you can to grow as a person.
In every situation, there is an important lesson to be learned. Pretend you are in the grandstands and look down from above to see the whole picture.
This perspective changes things dramatically. Look for the REAL meaning of what happens in your day, instead of just getting through it. Life is a lot easier when you learn lessons the first time they are presented.
- Say “no” to things that don’t serve you more often.
Are you a people-pleaser personality style who often automatically says “yes” to things you really don’t want to do?
By doing so, you could be enabling someone else to be lazy or irresponsible by doing for them what they need to do for themselves. More importantly, you’re taking time away from the things that matter to you most.
- Say “yes” to yourself more frequently.
As mentioned above, saying “no” to someone else is another way of saying “yes” to yourself.
What have you wanted to do that you haven’t done yet? Do it. Or do something to move yourself closer to that goal by doing the things that make you feel great!
- Notice the impact you have.
You may feel awful as you begin putting yourself first. Stick with it in a gentle, loving way. Notice how the people who love you are supportive when you say “yes” to yourself and how those who may have been using you walk away. Let them go. I know it may hurt, but you’ll be glad later if not sooner.
An added benefit is that this opens up the other dimensions of you — deeper levels of your personality and the ability to give more love without secretly wanting something back in return. By doing so, you set an excellent example of a woman who values herself, knows what she wants, follows her heart, and goes after her dreams.
And the world needs a lot more of those types of women right now.
As you do these 5 things, you will:
- Connect with yourself and your dreams
- Feel like you matter a great deal (because you do)
- Do new things you haven’t done in a while (or ever)
- Know how it feels to stand in your power
That gets your four basic human psychological needs met. Any attention, approval, or love from others is just frosting on your cake and more jet fuel to live those dreams!
Kelly Rudolph, founder of PosititveWomenRock, takes women from stuck and stressed to clear and confident by releasing emotional baggage from the past. Connect with her and get her Free Life Strategies now.