Consider for a moment the state of our world and how things in society, politics, interpersonal relationships, and public interactions continue to seemingly get worse. Now think about yourself and how you go through life.
Do you put yourself first? What is your purpose in life? What special gifts can you bring to the table? How do you emanate this purpose and project your personal message? Have you ever pondered that your day-to-day mode of being and attitudes toward yourself might be making a negative impact on the greater whole?
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If you have no answers to these questions, you may be robbing yourself of love, trust, acceptance, and peace. This post is for those who harbor a sense of self-loathing, don’t feel they deserve to be happy, and believe they have no control over what happens in their lives.
What Does It Mean to Put Yourself First?
Putting yourself first doesn’t equal being selfish, it means having a strong sense of self-worth and enough care to value those traits in people. It says you have a healthy understanding of your needs and balance those with others in a positive way. This can also denote treating every human being you meet as you would yourself.
Evaluating Selfishness, Self-Honesty Required
It is imperative that you be honest with yourself about how selfish you are. Selfishness is actually an extension of self-loathing and shows a lack of self-love. This is because everything you think, do, and say has an ulterior motive that serves only your own needs and no one else’s.
If the decision you’re making only affects you and your life, the protests and opinions of others don’t matter. But if the choices you make cause harmful and hurtful ripple effects to others, then you are being selfish. If you consider yourself and your wants above and beyond the care and needs of others, you’re on the selfish end of the scale.
People Who Don’t Put Themselves First
Individuals who are always sacrificing for some perceived greater good without regard for themselves don’t put themselves first. If you often lend your mind, desires, personal well-being, and basic human rights to act on the will and demands of others, you refuse to put yourself first.
This definition can even incorporate willful blindness in NOT lending yourself to these as well. If this is your modus operandi, you are so bereft of yourself that you may as well be a zombie. Because it means you simply operate and react, you don’t think, consider, plan or have foresight. Ultimately, you aren’t fulfilling your life’s purpose.
This includes what you consume and do in terms of religion, media or government propaganda, interpersonal relationships, public interactions, attitudes toward children, and even ideas about your own body. You do this beyond what you inherently know to be right and moral. Contrary to popular belief, truth is not objective and there is a standard of basic morality.
So, putting yourself first goes much deeper than surface needs, desires, wishes, and personal objectives. The implication is that you have enough self-love, self-acceptance, and foresight to determine what’s right for you and your life.
You do not bend to the will and tyranny of others when it depletes everything you stand for as a human being. You are more than capable of making sound decisions because you trust yourself and who you are. And you never apologize for it.
It essentially equates that you live in a state of absolute truth. This determines the harmony of and encompasses your physiological, psychological, and emotional functions. It’s having a holistic approach to and outlook on life, valuing yourself as a unique individual, and being unafraid to make real personal choices that not only benefit you, but also others.
What Does It Mean to Accept Yourself?
Self-acceptance is the first step to putting yourself first. This means that you have to know your innermost motives, ideas, and beliefs. It comes with a galvanized perspective of why you do the things you do, why you think the way you do, what you believe about yourself, and coming to grips with everything that makes you who you are.
The concept of this includes:
- Your attitudes toward your body and overall appearance
- The kinds of things you’re capable of, for better or worse
- How you handle and resolve intense problems and challenges
- Your reaction to new information, emergencies, upheavals, and decision-making
To further illustrate the point of the list above, consider the following hypothetical scenarios and how you would react:
- If you notice an elderly person entering a store and is having difficulty opening the door, do you help or do you walk around them to go through another available door?
- Do you hate looking at yourself in the mirror and detest every photograph taken of you?
- Are you often confused and indecisive when important matters force you to make a choice?
- When someone confronts you about your behavior, what is your immediate reaction? Do you stop and listen to their concerns, acknowledging how your actions make them feel? Do you cut them off before they can finish their thought and fly off into a rage? Do you make others feel guilty for even approaching you about it in the first place?
Regardless of your answers, you must accept yourself for whom and what you are. Accept what you’ve done and, most of all, forgive yourself. As cheesy as that may sound to some, extending healing into yourself through true self-compassion is a cleansing experience.
That said, it doesn’t provide an excuse to continue on the same way because you accept it. It doesn’t mean others you hurt will now forgive you. You should not view this step as a reason to clutch onto selfish behavior and rudeness. But it does mean you’ve taken the first step to become a better and more whole person.
What Does It Mean to Love Yourself?
Loving yourself doesn’t equate to being narcissistic and vain. This is a concept with a very fine line that often goes overboard for those blessed with natural beauty and desirable physical features. Loving yourself goes back to self-acceptance and looking beyond social standards of beauty.
Taking care of your body, practicing good hygiene, undertaking exercise, and understanding nutrition are just some ways to love yourself. You avoid junk in all its forms – from food and beverages to music, movies, and news.
This love extends past your body and attitude, what you’ve been through, where you’ve come from, what you’ve survived, what you’ve lost, and the path that’s led you to be where you are.
Do you celebrate your victories or do you always focus on how others have victimized you? Do you look to the future or do you focus on the hurts of the past? Do you constantly berate yourself, calling yourself stupid, ugly, or fat? Are you proud of your achievements or do you often feel shame?
What Does It Mean to Trust Yourself?
When you trust yourself, it means you are confident in who you are. You are able to make a sound decision and can rely on yourself to make a choice that will be good for you and others. You do not necessarily need experts, authorities, or others higher up for guidance. Likewise, you don’t expect others to submit to your will.
You have the capacity to know how you’d handle a potential situation no matter what it is. You try to conduct yourself in a way that aligns with what’s right, good, and decent. You value yourself enough to place your ideas in high regard to get tangible results because you can see things from a grounded perspective.
When you lack trust in yourself, it denotes that you don’t value your own actions, thoughts, and behaviors in any given circumstance. It means you listen to the sole advice or directives of others rather than relying on your own sense of definite right and wrong.
What Does It Mean to Be at Peace with Yourself?
Peace and tranquility from within come from a place of right actions, thoughts, decisions, and modes of being. Of course, no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes along the way, even with the best of intentions. But it means holding a sense of dignity that no one can take from you, manipulate or jeopardize.
Being at peace with yourself doesn’t equal a chaos-free life. But it does indicate solid confidence to face anything, even hard-to-swallow truths, head-on. Regardless of what the world around you dishes out, no matter how difficult it may be, you can find the presence of mind to deal with it.
What Does It Mean to Invest in Yourself?
Investing in yourself does not have to be a selfish pursuit of shallow and narrow objectives. It means that you take care of your sanity, happiness, future, and overall health in a responsible manner. You don’t always cave in to the wishes and tantrums of others either, including children.
You take every care to consider unforeseen future outcomes by saving a little money through various investments when you can. It also shows that you’re not a money miser and lives life to the fullest when money will bring a lasting and memorable moment.
It means living within your means; not beyond in some exorbitant, unsustainable, and unaffordable way. It also portends spending an extra couple of bucks on healthier food or improvements to make your home better, for example.
To illustrate this more, investing in yourself does not include impulsive shopping or other non-essential pursuits of self-interest above the needs of your family and its future. If your spouse begs you to stop spending money on items that don’t contribute to a solid foundation, make an honest and concerted effort to curb spending. Truebill is an excellent resource to help manage unnecessary subscriptions.
First, putting yourself first is to regain your sense of self-worth by accepting who you are, loving every part of yourself, trusting yourself, and finding inner peace. You do this through connecting with inner strengths beyond what other people say, think, or demand of you. It is the ultimate balance between self and others.
If everyone walked through life with this kind of fortification, the world would be a better place. We wouldn’t need “leaders” because everyone would be their own leader. The first step to changing the world is to change ourselves and our outlook on life by projecting an eternal state of unconditional love. Putting yourself first is the only way to do this.