Self-prioritizing and Not Feeling Guilty About It
By: Smita Nayak
Often, we misunderstand self-prioritization as being selfish. It is not our fault, the societal pressure made us believe that there’s nothing like self priority and choosing your own happiness over others is simply being selfish. We’ve been taught from an early age that being selfless is a sign of a great human being, which I agree with but to an extent. Doing and agreeing to things which satisfies you and makes you happy is the most important. Especially, when we are adults we have to learn to start saying “no” to things we don’t like doing or feel good without feeling guilty about it. Here’s the thing, when we are filled with responsibilities and in constant pressure of getting done with others’ needs over yours, we tend to drain our energy and desire. As Tony Gaskins said, “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce.” And this is why setting up boundaries is really important for everyone near you and for your mental stability as well. Not being available for others all the time is normal and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. During most of my late teen years and even now sometimes, I forget setting up boundaries for prioritizing and whether I should be selfless or think about myself first. At some point, it becomes extremely tough to maintain that boundary but then I remind myself that I owe myself more than I owe anything to others. I know, it may sound rude to some, but these are the times when your own mental stability should matter to you the most and it should be prioritized always. I love helping others, being there for them in good or bad, making them smile, listening to them and doing every possible thing to make them happy. I have done that a lot earlier and I still do, but nothing comes over my own self and that too without feeling guilty. Otherwise, people start taking you for granted and after a while you’ll be no less than a “punching bag” to them which they can hit every time they’re stressed. Feeling guilty after saying “no” to someone is normal but you need to understand the reason why you refused. It is absolutely okay to be self-centered sometimes without feeling guilty. I am mentioning guilt frequently because I know even if you try being self-centered you will feel guilty about it, about how you are not there for someone even after knowing it. This happens, even with me, it’s the nature of most of us and the things we’ve been told forever, but now is the time to unlearn all of this and start focusing on your needs and your mental happiness.
It is very easy to get involved in someone’s life and lose our own lives because we are unaware about where to stop. I don’t want to make this a “rude” blog at all, but these things need to be addressed and it’s very important that people know what self-prioritizing is and why it is extremely important. Being happy and ambitious has a lot to do with prioritizing yourself. When you start to focus on yourself you get to know what you want in your life and how you want to be in the next upcoming years.
Self-prioritizing not only means to put your happiness first, but it also means that you also should take some time out for yourself, pamper yourself, sit alone with your thoughts, figure out whatever you want from your future and decide to work hard for it. In simple words, it just means that you should be able to make yourself happy and satisfied all by yourself. Pick up a hobby you love and which makes you happy, choose a career which satisfies you no matter how risky it is, talk to people you love, go out, eat whatever you want and do everything that your soul wants to and never feel guilty about it. Later, I’ll also talk about a few ways how you can self-prioritize but first you need to know the benefits of self priority and I am sure these will help you in the future!
1. You’re in a better position to help others
The whole point of this blog is not to keep people away from helping each other out, but to understand to prioritize you whenever needed. When you start taking care of yourself and your happiness, you are in a better place to be for others too, more stable and able to give wise advice to others. Here comes self-care, the most important thing which you should be doing once in a while. Constantly taking care of others’ happiness and their needs can put you under a lot of pressure, that’s when you need to take a break and try some self-care. Listen to your body and your soul, do what you want to do and spend some time with yourself to get back that energy and positivity you were lacking because of the stress. When you start doing this once in a while, you’ll be happier, satisfied and positive which will eventually help you to be there for your friends and family.
2. You start learning more about you
By self-prioritizing you can actually learn a lot about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, what makes you happy, what are your goals etc. You’re able to focus on yourself and what you’re good at or what you need to improve which ultimately makes you a better person. Also, it might help you get through tough times all by yourself or even teach you to be stronger than you were before. See, there are so many positive aspects of self-prioritizing and I am not done yet, there are more to discover!
3. Meaningful habits are discovered
A part of prioritizing means that you start doing things that make your soul happy, as I have mentioned several times before. This will help you focus on things that will make you productive because you love doing it. And by choosing your own happiness doesn’t mean that you’re avoiding others’ happiness, it means that you’re concentrating on the well-being of your soul. The things you start doing add value to your life and who knows maybe you might turn that hobby into a career option in future! I just want to convey that keep on doing things which are satisfying you and making your heart do happy dances.
So, now you all have to agree that self-prioritizing is a must and no one should avoid it. I learnt this the hard way, but I don’t want it to be the same for others, that’s the reason for this blog, take it as an experience that I am sharing. Many of you reading this might be new to this whole concept of self-prioritization and would be confused about how to do this. Worry not folks, I am going to mention a few tips (obviously tried, tested and approved) so that you have enough options to choose what it exactly means to you.
· The first thing you should do after you wake up is list down things which you need for yourself on that particular day. I am not referring to materialistic things, but the things you need to do or experience which will make you positive and happy.
· Remind yourself constantly that your happiness is your priority and nothing can change that. Be grateful for things you have and be ambitious for the things you want from your life, this will make you work harder to achieve them and more aspiring in a positive way
· Evaluate things that are causing major stress in your life. Find out if the thing you’re stressing about is really important or it’s just in your head. If that is under control, then make yourself better; try talking to someone if it’s bothering you. There’s no shame in asking for help if you need it. Trust me, it’ll make you feel much better and positive and you will realize the stress you’ve been taking lately is not a matter of concern.
· Try self-care. It is really important to take care of your body as well as your inner soul. Cook or order some good food, have a hot shower, do some skin pampering, listen to good music or read a good book, write about your day and sleep enough. Taking out time for yourself to do all of this is really important because of all the hustle you go through in your life. Doing some self-care will make you even more productive and active.
· You don’t have to just be happy all the time. I know I have been constantly addressing happiness in my blog but I want to tell you that you need to feel all the feelings you’re going through. Give yourself time to heal if you’re going through a tough phase, cry if it helps or just sit idle but let all your feelings out. Being happy is great but it is not necessary to be in the same mood all the time.
· Cultivate some good habits in you. Like waking up early in the morning (trust me, it really helps, if you want to know more read my other blogs on the same), doing some physical activity, reading a book, watering plants, staying away from social media for a while after waking up, making a good healthy breakfast, cleaning your room etc. These habits will change you as a person and also make you feel energetic, positive and satisfied.
I know the fact that self-prioritizing is easier said than done, but there’s no harm in trying. Trying this will give you confidence about yourself and you’ll start to realize how important prioritizing yourself is. You also need to remember that you can only do or change things which are under your control. So, if there’s something which is out of your control, there’s no point to keep stressing about it and making yourself miserable. Don’t let yourself drown in that guilt of it, it’s tough but not impossible. The only things which you can actually have full control over are what you say, how you feel and what you do. If you manage to learn to do these things positively, you’re going to feel much better about yourself. Everything starts small, take tiny steps, achieve small goals and make yourself proud about it. Don’t be hard on yourself; it will ultimately make things miserable for you. So, do yourself a favor, get up and list down things you need to do for yourself which you’re currently procrastinating and complete those little milestones. You’ve got this!