I have always been a person that absorbed the stress and emotions of those around me. There have been times that I have literally been sick to my stomach, unable to sleep at night because I am worrying about the problems of other people. I used to tell myself that this was okay because it just meant I was good person and I cared about people. It wasn’t until I started embarking on my self-love journey that I realized how much I hurt myself by having such strong empathy for other people.
Self-love is not just a spa day, privately enjoying a book, or lighting candles while listening to Erykah Badu in order to relax – sometimes self-love means making difficult decisions. As a woman and an older sister, I feel like I’ve been a “motherly” human being since toddler age. I have always put other people’s needs, thoughts, feelings, problems, and goals before my own. I’ve been hesitant to get out there and make decisions that I felt were best for me because I consume myself with the thoughts of, “well what if someone needs me?” and “how will my decision affect other people?” It wasn’t until I realized that if I do not take care of myself, I am no good to the others around me. Can you really help, support, encourage, and empower other people if you can’t do that for yourself?
Through my own personal journey, I’ve learned a few things about the importance of being selfish/putting me first:
- More Energy to Invest – By focusing more on yourself, you are meeting your own needs. After you’ve taken care of you, you have more energy to invest in work, school, family, relationships, etc.
- Happiness – Obviously, when you are focused on yourself you spend more time identifying the things that are meaningful to you and that bring you genuine happiness.
- Filtering Out Negativity – Being selective with your money, time, and love allow you to get more of the things you really want and less of the things you don’t. By disregarding the expectations of others, your life starts to be filled with less pressure.
Sometimes, self-love means putting yourself before others and never second guessing the impact that your decisions have on other people. The reality is, we are all on our own independent journeys and while it is okay to help people, you are never to pour into other people’s journey more than you pour into your own. In order to work on our own personal development, we must find what will make us individually happy and stick to that. No one can make you happy, the way you can make yourself happy.