A little altruism never hurt anyone, but it can become detrimental to our own health when we don’t stop to think about ourselves for a moment; something many of us are guilty of, myself included. So here’s why helping yourself first is so important.
Why you put other people’s needs before your own
There are many reasons why you might feel that helping others and sacrificing your own needs is the right thing to do, especially if you’re a hyper-sensitive person. HSP’s have incredible empathy and understanding, which attracts lost and needy souls like flies to honey, but that means we want nothing else but to be their saviour in tough situations. If you have a lack of self-worth, then rescuing those weaker than you can give you the feeling of being valued and needed but it’s ultimately a hollow and temporary fix.
Having a toxic relationship with a person (friend, family or partner) can make you more susceptible to being sucked into their world and letting their needs consume you. Whether they want you to chauffeur them around, lend them money, or give them full time emotional support, toxic people will use anger or make threats to their own life in order to guilt you into saying ‘yes’ to them, no matter what issues you may be facing yourself. These are the types of people who will take until you’re empty and then take some more without ever giving anything back, and this can leave you feeling resentful and frustrated.
It’s easy to think that doing anything for yourself will be seen as a selfish act when the majority of us have been raised in a society that teaches us to put others first because ‘it’s the right thing to do.’ Realistically, we need to be more selfish to be selfless.
Why we should help ourselves first
By putting someone else’s needs before your own you may feel that you are being noble and helpful but, in fact, you may be hindering them.
Whenever you rescue someone else from a tough situation, you’re taking away their opportunity to work through it themselves and grow as a person and develop their own resilience. Put them before yourself once and you’ll be doing it for the rest of your life; being their superhero will be a full-time job!
different ways you support others
It’s not just emotional support that others will try to demand from you, material help may be what they’re after instead. Whether its lending money that never gets paid back or buying them that luxury item that they ‘just have to have’, they will start to only value or love you for what you give them – and you’re worth so much more than a new handbag!
The potential results of putting someone else first
Putting all your efforts into someone else can cause you great stress, which can lead to illness, exhaustion and irritability. When we feel like that, it’s usually the ones we love the most that we take it out on. Being in this negative mindset also means that you may not be giving people your best advice or help, making their lives more difficult too.
Spending all your time feeling anxious and stressed will cause you to miss out on the wonderful little moments in life. Think about it, the last thing your SO (significant other) wants on date night is you on the phone trying to fix someone else’s life. Don’t miss out on your life by giving it away to others.
If your ultimate goal is to help those you care about, then you need to take the time to care about yourself first.
Ways to treat and care for yourself
Treating yourself doesn’t need to cost much at all.
In fact you can do a lot for free:
- Find a guided mindfulness and meditation or yoga session on YouTube
- Take a long soak in a bubble bath with scented candles and mellow music
- Go for a run or a bike ride to release endorphins
- Rediscover a beloved hobby or get hands on and craft something
- Chill out somewhere comfy and read for an hour
- Take a much-needed nap – recharge yourself
- Spend time with the people who make you happy
- Make sure you’re getting enough nutrition and sleep every day
If you’re up for spending a little bit of money, you could always find a class you’ve always wanted to take, join a gym, or even get yourself one of our gratitude journals and get into the habit of using it regularly.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help those you love, just remember to put yourself first darlings.
Do you have a favourite way of treating yourself? Let us know!