It hurts me to write this.
For years, we’ve been programmed to feel like putting our needs first is sinful, nasty, disgraceful, greedy. As a result, we often put our tails between our legs and neglect our own wants and needs. We put others first, to our detriment.
You gave your time, and what did your friend say? Nothing. You gave your hard-earned money, your trust and your faith, and what did your family say? Nothing. But when you stop giving? Oh, now they have something to say. Right?
Your first reaction is disbelief. How can your friends and family be so rude instead of acknowledging your kind, well-meaning deeds? You feel discomfort rising inside when they make jokes about you. And not just any jokes, but the kind that makes you feel small in a here-you-go, thumb-to-the-head sort of way. . . . and all because you chose not to help them anymore.
Then rage takes over, and you shout, “Did I not sacrifice my time to help you? Did I not put my dream on hold to help you? Did I not sleep hungry to feed you?”
Unfortunately, though, your yelling is internal. You only disagree in your mind because you’re too afraid to rock the boat.
Drill down a little more, and it turns out you’ve been conditioned to let it all go, continue with your selfless acts and assume a passive role. So you remain silent.
I don’t have to tell you that things are bad. I don’t have to tell you that toxic friends are there to kill your dreams. I don’t have to tell you that family members are greedy. The question is, what are you planning to do about it?
Right now, I want you to remember these six things the next time you find yourself putting others’ needs first instead of yours.
1. Soak up every positive situation
Acknowledge that negativity exists in the world, and then let it go. You don’t have to spend time hunting down dangerous or troublesome opportunities. Instead, focus on the positivity that will help soothe and relieve situations. View the world as a place full of possibilities and then let things marinate in all their greatness. Grab those opportunities as they show up and dance your way to success.
2. Treat yourself with compassion
Put your needs and your comfort first. Don’t spend time beating and criticizing yourself. Instead, control your inner critic, because self-compassion is the road to success. You’ll be able to make better choices about how to live and care for yourself, and when to step in and care for others. You really can’t give what you don’t have.
How can you help people find compassion, for instance, if you don’t have it yourself? When you prioritize your growth and your needs first, success will follow. Should you not meet deadlines, you won’t care, because you come first.
3. Hang out with kindred spirits
Being selfish is about connecting with, pleasing and loving yourself. You don’t put up with ill treatment from others. You can also prove to yourself that you deserve better friends to hang out with. Reinforce to friends and family that you expect to be treated with respect, and maintain that high standard with others.
4. Create healthy boundaries
Don’t take the chill pill and push on by allowing others’ energies to devour you. Hold onto your intuition with care, plan for your needs, and avoid the vicious cycle that selfless people are caught up in when they swing back and forth from happy to unhappy. Survive this by setting healthy boundaries by consciously practicing the skill of saying “no” with love, refusing to cave into others’ demands.
5. Create healthy habits that fit your needs
Sleep more. Live the way that suits you. Your healthy habits will nourish you, and you won’t blame others for your lack of happiness and success. Let your goal be to do things for yourself. When your goal is to please others and make their dreams come true, you give up your power. Not allowing others to be stakeholders of your success fosters relationships and frees you from resentment.
6. Break the co-dependency syndrome
Free your loved ones to care for themselves rather than for you. It takes the weight off their shoulders and places the responsibility for themselves in their hands. Dependency encourages loss of power and feelings of insufficiency, and this is the most tragic thing that can happen to a person. If you want to enjoy the good times with loved ones, then teach them independence. And selfishness will deliver that.
Have only yourself to please.
Don’t let others rob your success even if they have done so in the past.
Don’t be afraid to establish boundaries between you and the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Prioritize self-care to pursue your dream.
Dance to the beat that pleases you, even when others think you’re odd.
The selfish person knows that prioritizing self-care is necessary to pursue their dreams . . . and then help others achieve theirs.
Ann Davis is on a mission to help you identify your true talent, so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted. Download the Free Guide