It's OK To Put Yourself First, It's Not Being Selfish

To The Person Who Puts Everyone Else First, It's Not Selfish If You Prioritize Yourself

When you try to be a million different things to a million different people, you're going to lose yourself.

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Over the past year or so, I've developed a passion for astrology in the hopes of better understanding myself and others. In the process, I've learned a lot about my zodiac sign and how it influences my behavior. As an Aquarius, one of my defining characteristics is "humanitarian," and for a long time, I struggled to understand what that meant. I mean, sure, I'm a generous person, but I'm not feeding the hungry every weekend or building houses for the homeless or anything.

As time passed, however, and as I began developing a stronger sense of self and identity, the pieces started to come together. Humanitarians are driven by the needs of other humans. They see someone suffering, and they help. They see a problem, and they intrinsically assume responsibility for fixing it. No, I may not be a literal humanitarian, but if my compulsion to put everyone else's needs before my own is any indication, I have definitely grown to identify with my Aquarian traits.

The problem with all of my best qualities is that they do just as much harm as they do good. Because when you're like me and are fueled by empathy, you have no sense of self-preservation. You internalize other people's pain to try and ease their load. You give and give and give — whether you're asked to or not — because it's in your nature to heal what's broken, even if it isn't your responsibility. And in doing so, you completely lose yourself trying to be a million different things to a million different people. You can't be everything to everyone, and I am just now starting to realize that.

I know I can't continue to put everyone else first at the expense of my own happiness, but old habits die hard. After a lifetime of being ready to drop everything and give away all my emotional energy at any given moment, it's difficult to learn how to establish new boundaries. I can't help but feel guilty every time I turn someone down and can't be what they need me to be, but I know that there is only so much of myself that I can give. If I don't allow myself to recharge, I won't be of any use to anyone.

Prioritizing yourself doesn't make you a selfish person. You do it so that you have the capacity to be of better help to the ones you love and because you owe it to yourself to find inner peace and happiness. It's not worth it to go through life as a people-pleaser if doing so leaves you broken and exhausted. You deserve more than that, and once you begin to acknowledge your own self-worth, the guilt of putting yourself first starts to fade away.

The fact is, I'm not always going to be able to fix everything, and I'm learning to be OK with that. It isn't easy to let go of my need for control and my desire to make everything perfect all the time, but I know I'll be a happier person in the end for it. There's only so much I can do and give before I start to lose myself, and it's OK that I have those limits.

It's hard to strike a balance between being a humanitarian and putting myself first, but I'm trying. Some days I feel like I've gotten the hang of it until I find myself in a situation where I'm left running on empty because I've disregarded my own needs and feelings to prioritize those of everyone else. I know it's not always going to be easy, but I'm worth the work it takes to find happiness. The road is long, but at least I know that I'm on my way.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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I Stopped Wearing Makeup For A Week And I've Never Felt More Confident

You don't need makeup to look and feel beautiful if you don't want to.

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I began wearing makeup in middle school for special occasions. Whenever there was a school dance, I'd don on some mascara and I would feel beautiful. This continued until the end of my sophomore year of high school when I decided that putting on makeup would become part of my everyday morning routine. Eventually, wearing makeup was something people expected to see rather than something that I wore on occasion.

Things stayed the same until my freshman year of college. There were some days during my first year in college that I couldn't be bothered to wear makeup, because I was in a rush. However, whenever these days occurred, I usually had friends ask me why I was so tired and if everything was okay. I have prominent bags under my eyes that I usually cover up with a concealer, and though I slept enough and tried many remedies, they just wouldn't disappear. Without my makeup though, my friends were concerned and thought that something might be wrong. While they had good intentions, I thought that I must not look good without my makeup.

From then on, I started wearing makeup every day, no matter what. If I went to grab some food quick, I had to wear makeup. Review session for math on Saturday in the morning? Makeup. Volunteering for a club? Makeup. Class? Makeup, always makeup. If there was any chance that I would run into someone that I knew I had to put on makeup because I felt that I would be judged and wanted to look my best at all times.

When I started taking an 8 a.m. class this semester, something changed.

One day, I was running late and was rushing to get to my class on time. I didn't have time to put on any makeup before class. At first, I was self-conscious without any makeup covering up my circles and I felt naked. I thought that people would notice, but I don't think that anyone even noticed. The following week, I had exams and felt that getting a few more minutes of sleep was much more satisfying than putting on makeup, so I went without any makeup that week. At first, I was still self-conscious of not having anything on my face to cover up the imperfections, but as the week wore on, I felt free. Without any makeup, I never had to take any off at night. Normally my mascara takes forever to get off, which is a hassle. Also, I felt that without the makeup, I felt like I looked better over time. I was more confident about how I looked with and without the makeup.

Since that fateful week of not wearing makeup, I've found that not wearing any makeup to be extremely freeing. While I do still sometimes put it on, it is no longer a necessity. If you wear makeup constantly, I suggest trying to go without wearing makeup for a few days. There's nothing wrong with wearing makeup, and there also isn't anything wrong with not wearing makeup either.

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