Put Yourself First
Start writing a post
Life Stages

The Secret to Life is Putting Yourself First

Sounds selfish. But is it?

121
The Secret to Life is Putting Yourself First

Society puts unrealistic expectations on us to put everyone before ourselves. We see it everywhere... Donate money. Help a friend in need. The list goes on and on. I am not saying not to help other people - quite the opposite. I am saying that if you neglect to help yourself first, you are not any help to others. Let me explain...

There is a fun saying recited before a plane takes off. When demonstrating how to put on your air mask if something should happen to the plane, the flight attendant makes it clear that you have to put on your own mask first before helping others to put on their's. Otherwise you won't be able to breathe when you're trying to save everyone else, and consequently, won't be much help to those people.

Life is the same way. If you don't put your own happiness before trying to make everyone else happy, you will "run out of air" aka fail to make yourself happy. In a way, putting yourself first is much more altruistic because you are more suited to help others.

For most of my life, I was under the impression that I needed to put everyone before myself. This mentality turned me into a people-pleasing person who neglected my own happiness. I felt like I was a bad person if I wanted to do something for myself before helping someone else. After one too many times feeling resentful and taken advantage, I realized that many of my problems stemmed from not putting on my air mask first.

Your world changes when you put yourself first. I am happier, less resentful, and actually MORE giving. I am helping other people because I actually want to and not because I feel like it is what I am supposed to do. I have taken care of myself, and I am not giving more than I have to give. Further, I have already made myself happy, and I don't need to live vicariously through making others happy. I learned that if I didn't put myself first, no one else would.

This mentality taught me the key difference in being nice and being kind. I strive for being kind. Kindness is being a genuine, good person. Kindness is not just giving to others, it's giving to yourself as well. Niceness is kissing up to people and letting others walk all over you. It is caring about what others think about you. It is advertising your good deeds. It is doing things because you think others will think better of you. Being nice is not doing kind acts for the sake of being a good person. I was nice for most of my life. I now aim for kindness. I am focused on giving to others, but not at the expense of my own happiness. I am not focused on impressing everyone else.

Since I have changed my mentality, there have been times that I have felt guilty not being able to drop everything to help someone last minute. Maybe it would feel nice to completely change my day around every time someone suddenly needs me, but I need "me" too. There are still times that I change my day around to accommodate others (and gladly do it), but I have made it happen less often. I no longer feel like other people are taking advantage of me because I am only giving what I am actually capable of giving. What I am capable of giving to others is what I have left over after I have helped myself. Otherwise, who is there to help me?

I guess this mentality breeds not caring what others think as well. I learned that if I made myself happy, then I am excited to give back. I learned not to care if everything I do fails to please everyone. Focusing on pleasing everyone really does please anyone.

I am not saying to be a self-centered, horrible person, but if you are a little selfish, you will actually be much more altruistic and kind. You will be a better person.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Six Lies Fed to Your Mind, By Your Mind.

These thoughts will drive you mad.

2639
pexels

Life is hard, and is even harder with a mental illness. Even if you aren't clinically diagnosed with depression or anxiety, in the hardest times of your life you can probably associate with several of these thoughts. Fear not, everyone else is thinking them too. Maybe we just need a big, loving, group therapy session (or six).

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

A Letter To My Heartbroken Self

It will be okay, eventually.

4926
A Letter To My Heartbroken Self
Pexels

Breakups are hard. There's nothing comparable to the pain of losing someone you thought would be in your life forever. Someone who said all the right things at the right times. Someone who would give you the reassurance you needed, whenever you needed it. And then one day, it just... stops. Something changes. Something makes you feel like you're suddenly not good enough for him, or anyone for that matter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America

For the first time since 1994 the United States will host a world cup (for men's soccer)

6651
2026: the year the Fifa World Cup Returns to North America
Skylar Meyers

The FIFA World Cup is coming to North American in 2026!

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

An Open Letter to Winter

Before we know it April will arrive.

7931

Dear Winter,

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

6 Questions To Ask Yourself When Cleaning Up Your Room

This holiday break is the perfect time to get away from the materialistic frenzy of the world and turn your room into a decluttered sanctuary.

6892
Pixar

Cleaning isn’t just for spring. In fact, I find school’s holiday break to be a very effective time for decluttering. You’re already being bombarded by the materialistically-infatuated frenzy of society’s version of Christmas, Hanukah, etc. It’s nice to get out of the claustrophobic avarice of the world and come home to a clean, fresh, and tidy room. While stacking up old books, CDs, and shoes may seem like no big deal, it can become a dangerous habit. The longer you hang onto something, whether it be for sentimental value or simply routine, it becomes much harder to let go of. Starting the process of decluttering can be the hardest part. To make it a little easier, get out three boxes and label them Donate, Storage, and Trash. I'm in the middle of the process right now, and while it is quite time consuming, it is also so relieving and calming to see how much you don't have to deal with anymore. Use these six questions below to help decide where an item gets sorted or if it obtains the value to stay out in your precious sanctuary from the world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments