Is It OK To Put Yourself First?

by Mariska van Beek

Do you allow yourself to put yourself first? People often get quiet when I ask this question.

They confuse putting themselves first with being selfish. What they don’t realise is that when you allow yourself to choose for yourself, it means you take good care of yourself. Which is such a great thing to do and such a great thing to teach your children as well as your employees. It makes us independent, stable people. Being able to cope in life. Being able to love yourself as well as others.

Safety on Board

A very clear example of putting yourself first can be found in the safety instructions on board of an airplane. You are being taught that in case of a decompression, you have to first put on the oxygen mask yourself. Only then you can help other people including your children.


Be Aware of your Habits

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take care of your friends, your partner or your children, but what about you? Aren’t you just as important? (Maybe even more so!) Of course you can help others, sometimes even when you’re exhausted already. If you do this once in a while, and you take enough time to recover from it, you are doing fine. But if it starts to become a habit, a pattern, and your energy is slowly (or quickly) going down, then something needs to change.


From childhood on, women are often taught to care for others. To bake and bring in the cake when there is a party. And not to talk about all the hard work and time that was put into the cake. But to act like an angel. Being happy when others are happy.

Others have been taught that working hard gives you the appreciation you need. That if you want to be seen and feel worthy you have to give everything: your time, your energy, yourself. You have to get the best grades and don’t do things for less. Think twice is my advice! If this wears yourself out, if you deplete your body and mind, this is really not the way to go. In the long run you will be loosing. In the long run, you loose.

It is good to realise that you can always decide to start doing things differently which will be better for yourself and better for others.


Love yourself

Start to love yourself, and throw away the (hidden) conviction that you can only be loved when you do things for others. Get rid of the conviction that only by working hard and getting the best grades you are worthy of being loved and seen. This includes working hard in order to receive the appreciation of your manager or colleagues, or parents or partner or who ever you give the status of being more important than you.

Start to live from your own inner strength. You will see that your life will transform. Only this way you will feel empowered and give yourself and the world the best. And only in this way you will be a great example to others, just by being who you are.



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