Throughout our childhoods, we were taught that being selfless is more important than being selfish. We are encouraged to give to others, put others before ourselves, and make sacrifices for the sake of others.
Although it is important to practice selflessness, there are times when it is not always possible to put the happiness and well-being of others before our own. We cannot be the best versions of ourselves if we constantly put others ahead of ourselves. We all have boundaries and our own needs. Taking care of ourselves is self-care.
When you prioritise yourself, you give yourself time and attention to focus on your needs, desires, goals and wants. It also means you offer yourself the same compassion and understanding that you do to other people. Exploring our own identities and values will help us be our authentic selves.
Our twenties are about finding ourselves and our dream careers. It’s not to say that it all stops when we reach a certain age. We all have different visions of what our futures look like, for me, it looks like a house with lots of animals around me and sitting at a desk writing an article or two, and even a novel. Where I don’t envision a future with tiny human feet running around, doesn’t mean it will be the same for others. I will be fulfilled in other ways.
Now is the time to see what is out there, change your hair, explore your feelings, and discover what life is all about. Prioritise yourself always, but especially during your twenties. There is no better time than now to be a tad selfish and put yourself first. Be your own best advocate. Stand up for yourself. Pursue your dreams. Spend your time doing things that stimulate you, bring you joy, and fulfil you. We need to ditch the idea that self-care is selfish.
I’m still learning to prioritise myself and my needs; I think everyone is still figuring out what works for them. Taking time to rest is required, otherwise, we will then expose ourselves to burnout, which then affects our mental and physical health. In order to not feel burned out is learning to say NO when things become too overwhelming. Prioritise taking time for a nap, taking yourself out on a date.
Note to Self: Putting Yourself First Is Not The Same Thing As Disregarding Everybody Else’s Needs
Loving ourselves isn’t the easiest of things and putting yourself first isn’t selfish, it is a step towards putting your needs and wants first. Be mindful of our thoughts and feelings. We are always preaching about self-love and sometimes we just don’t follow through – self-love is more than taking a bath, or putting a face mask on in the evening. As a result, many people fear putting themselves first, for fear of being what society/parents/religion/culture calls “bad.”
The sad reality is that you can’t save anybody else. You can’t force the world to change. You can, however, change yourself. You can take responsibility for yourself. You can heal yourself and pay attention to yourself. When you take care of your physical/mental/emotional needs first, you put yourself in a position where you can be actually selfless. Self-love is not selfish. Putting yourself first is a necessity.
In order to grow, we need to nurture ourselves – our needs and wants. We are living for ourselves and our mental well-being should be put first. If that means being “selfish” then I am okay with that.
Let us see what happens when we put ourselves first and ignore hustle culture along the way
Image courtesy of Brigitte Tohm