Do you always think of others and often forget about yourself? Do you put your dreams and goals aside until everyone else’s dreams and goals are fulfilled? If the answer is yes, you are one of the many kind-hearted individuals out there who needs to put themselves first every now and then.

When you are constantly giving yourself to others without taking proper care of yourself, you will end up emotionally drained. This can also affect your physical health. Putting your dreams and goals on hold can lead to serious disappointment, even depression.

Loving yourself doesn’t exclude loving others; on the contrary; looking after your needs can allow you to be a better person, friend, partner, and co-worker.

Taking Care of Your Needs First Is NOT Selfish

You should be your number one priority in life without feeling the slightest pang of guilt. There are, of course, times when you will want to focus on other people, whether your children or your parents, but even in those times when others need you the most, remember that you can’t really be of use to anyone if you are constantly exhausted, stressed or just plain miserable.

Just like the people you care for, you deserve to be happy, healthy, satisfied, and loved. When you place self-care at the bottom of your list of priorities, it can reduce your overall quality of life. Every sphere of your life could suffer – your mental and physical health, inner peace, and social life.

It feels great to be there for others, but if you aren’t providing yourself with enough care and love, can you really help them? You can easily lose yourself by constantly trying to make others happy without considering your own happiness. Your happiness and well-being shouldn’t be any less important than the happiness of those you love dearly.

The Benefits of Self-Care

Putting yourself first has many benefits, not just for you but for everyone around you too. You will be more productive, have more energy to tackle daily challenges and problems, and be healthier. You will feel less stressed. This is something your family and friends will notice.

If you feel others are taking you for granted and don’t appreciate your efforts, by changing the way you treat yourself, you can change the way they see you. They will respect you more when you start respecting yourself more. This can also boost your self-esteem and improve your relationships.

Learn to Say “No”

If you are a people pleaser, chances are that other people, including those who don’t mean you well, will start taking advantage of your kindness. They may start dictating your life tempo and tell you what to do – keep in mind that this sort of behavior can be subtle; for example, coworkers may start asking you to do their part of the job or buy them lunch when you’re on your break. Helping others sometimes is fine, doing their part of the job for them is not acceptable. You can eventually become overwhelmed by these demands. It can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and confidence. The most important thing you have to learn to break this cycle is how to say no.

It is good, even comforting to be that person others can lean on, but if others are constantly leaning on you, you will soon begin to feel the pressure of it all. If you so willingly give yourself to others, stop to be there for yourself once in awhile.

Listen to Yourself

When you are juggling too many obligations every day, your stress level will increase. It might take you more time to get everything done. Stress combined with the lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems. It can weaken your immune system, leaving you prone to many serious conditions.

That’s why you have to pay attention to what your body is telling you. If it is time to stop for the day, then by all means, stop. Find the time to exercise, cook healthy foods, and have some fun. Pampering yourself on a regular basis can help you relax, restore some energy and feel much better both on the outside and on the inside.

You Are Important

Sometimes you can get so caught up in other people’s problems that you can forget what your needs are. Once you put yourself first, you can find a proper, healthy balance between attending to your own needs and helping others. You can start by making time for the things you love to do, things that make you happy, whether it’s running in the morning or reading a book before going to bed. These things are important.

What is even more important is to realize that you have a choice. You can choose to put yourself first. When you give yourself more, you will be able to give more to other people. If you want to be the best version of yourself and also offer support to others, this is what you have to do.  

If you truly want to change, you must stop living for others or you will start spiraling downward. Just as you can’t change others, you can’t expect others to fix your life and get you where you want to be. If you don’t like how others are treating you, then change the way you treat yourself. Once you do that, they will reflect. If you want to change your life, you must take action. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.

In order to live the life you want and to be the person you want to be, you need to take responsibility for your life and start caring for yourself. Be proactive and try to be realistic. Listen to yourself and if you feel that something needs to change, make an honest effort to implement that change. And don’t forget to think positively and celebrate each day!

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean being a bad person. It is actually quite the opposite – by caring for your needs, you will really be able to be there for your family, friends, and co-workers in a more productive and constructive way. When you are happy and satisfied, everyone around you will benefit. You are important. Your dreams matter. Never forget that.

If you want to read more, visit Dr. Ina’s site.