As a ‘Helper’ type personality I understand this, and used to feel that way. After all, aren’t we always told that we should put others before ourselves?
But there’s a problem with that, particularly when you’re a natural born helper, like me. The problem is that when you put everyone else first, and yourself last, you can easily become depleted and even resentful. Then you feel bad for feeling resentful and probably to overcome it will do even more to help others. You may conclude that you must be a bad person because of the resentment you feel.
It’s great to help others. But if you do so at the expense of yourself, then it’s not so good. You cannot give what you do not have. So if you don’t’ take care of yourself and your energy becomes depleted, and you push yourself because you feel you have to do more for others, you will become even more depleted. That’s when resentment builds, and ultimately, you may become so depleted that you suffer physically, and are not able to help anyone.
Which is better – putting yourself last until you become depleted and no good to anyone, or putting yourself first, so you have more energy, you feel good, and can help more people?
If you want to give people the best of you, then you HAVE to put yourself first. You have to practice self-care. That way you can do more and help more people. You will be much more effective.
So really, putting yourself first is the opposite of selfish. It’s the only way to truly give from your heart.
“Self-care is not a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.” – Parker Palmer
Self-care is not a luxury – it is a necessity. What can you do, starting today, to take better care of yourself?
P.S. Cheryl Richardson has written one of the best books on the art of self-care. Give this as a gift to yourself.