Put Yourself First!
When is the last time someone suggested that you come first?
For most of us, the idea of prioritising ourself is totally alien.
Here is a short list of people who, in my head, were more important than I was when I was teaching:
- my daughter
- my husband
- my class
- my colleagues
- my parents
- my in laws
- my friends
- my next door neighbour’s dog…
In short, EVERYONE!
I was bottom of my own priority list for years. If I could help someone, even if it meant sacrificing myself and making myself miserable, I did it.
Hands up if you have done the same thing?
I’m fairly certain I’m not alone.
So how did I change my mindset and start putting myself first?
The short answer is, I didn’t, the universe made me.
When my daughter was little I was even more desperate than usual to be everything to everyone. She was my first child and I needed to be perfect.
But when she was three years old I had to have major surgery and needed six weeks convalescing. I had to hand over the reins to my husband while I spent six weeks 100 miles away with my parents.
My daughter survived without me. The world kept turning. Everyone stepped in and all jobs were done.
At this point I realised that I wasn’t indispensable.
It was something of a shock to be honest. Part of me honestly believed that if I wasn’t there nothing would happen. It wasn’t true. My daughter was clean, clothed, fed and the house didn’t fall down.
It was an important, and life changing lesson.
At about the same time I read Eat, Pray, Love. I know this book, and the subsequent film, are a little like Marmite, but it changed my life.
I found the story of a woman who put her needs and desires above everything else inspiring.
I started asking for help, taking time out to do things that I enjoyed (even if it was just going for a bath or reading a book), I took a course online, just for fun, I put myself first.
A funny thing happened.
The more I prioritised my happiness, the happier everyone around me became.
I was happier. I had more energy. I felt cared for so I had more energy to care for everyone else. More importantly I loved doing it because they were caring for me too. I was no longer playing the self-cast role of Cinderella, I felt valued and loved and that as reflected back at my loved ones ten fold as a result.
If you are short tempered, tired and feel under-appreciated you will not show the world your best self. As soon as you start prioritising yourself, others will notice that you shine a little brighter and everyone will benefit from that inner glow.
Children are more sensitive to energy than most adults, so they will benefit from your changing attitude more than anyone. Whether it is the children in your class or your own children, what could be better than setting them a good example and showing them that it’s ok for them to be happy and put themselves first.
This week is Mothers Day, in the UK, and International Women’s Day, what a perfect time to remind you to make you a priority.
I’m not suggesting that you never do anything for anyone else, or help anyone. I’m not even saying that you shouldn’t do something you don’t enjoy doing (there would be a lot of dirty dishes in the world if that was the case!), but I am asking you to take time at least every week, but preferably every day, to do something that makes you happy but doesn’t necessarily benefit anyone else.
Here are a few self care ideas to get you started:
- Taking a bath
- Reading a book
- Going for a walk
- Meeting friends for a coffee
- Doing some exercise; running, dancing, golf, football…
- Creating; painting, crafting, knitting, pottery, woodwork…
- Watching a film
- Whatever you enjoy doing!
You might enjoy doing the ironing. That’s fine, as long as you really do enjoy it and you’re not just doing it because you think you should be.
Do something today that makes you smile.
Why not email me and let me know what you did to put yourself first?