According to Buddha, there is nobody in the entire universe that is more deserving of your love and your affection than you are yourself. It’s a myth that loving yourself is selfish and unkind. In truth, setting yourself as your top priority is the most loving thing you can do both for yourself and for others.
We are all conditioned in our belief that putting ourselves first in heart, mind and body is unethical, and will make everything fall apart. Your loved ones will only benefit if you are at your peak performance and at your highest energy level possible. Everyone around you will be made better from having you whole, thriving and complete.
It’s common for people to be willing to be stretched to their breaking point just to save others from discomfort. Relationships that are built around that concept tend to be toxic. It puts one person in a position to be taken advantage of or to be taken for granted. Only one person is in a receiving position and demands very much. This leaves the other person exclusively in a giving position, receiving nothing from the other person.
But it’s important to shift your priorities, and to give more love to yourself. Pull away from those toxic relationships. It will feel amazing. You will find that when you love yourself, only then are you freed to love someone else. You will find the happiness you’d only wished for before.
Sometimes relationships can’t be fixed. The toxic ones may need to be abandoned. But stand firm. You’re worth it. Tell yourself that! You are lovable, and you are worth it. Focus on the relationships that will let you blossom. Let go of the ones that can only suffocate you.
You are not the only person that will benefit from putting yourself first. Your relationships will benefit, too. The choices you make in healthy relationships are much better than the ones made in the toxic environment that was full of demanding selfishness and guilt.
Remember, it all starts with you. Here are seven tips to help you make you the most important person in your life and to start valuing yourself.
1. Don’t Compare
You are fighting a losing battle when you compare yourself to others. When you compare yourself to others you are forcing the focus off of yourself and on to the other person. You’re bound to see only the ways that you fall short of that other person. Besides, you’re basing your comparison only on what you can perceive. You can’t know everything about that other person. And this makes your comparison inaccurate.
You need to remember that you are a unique person. Nobody else in the world is just like you. And, you are also the only person in the world that you have the power to change.
So, try to change your focus. Concentrate on the things in your life that are going right. Focus on the person you see when you are looking in the mirror. That person looking back at you has unique gifts, attributes and abilities. Let go of the perfectionist that was trying to measure up to everyone else out there. Look inside yourself and appreciate what’s there. You have a special smile, and certain talents, and much to offer to the world that only you can offer. The quickest way to shift the focus is to start to see the value in yourself.
2. Find Your Best
Don’t fall into a pattern of settling for second-best. It may be that you’re staying in a job that you don’t like, because it pays better than you think you’d earn somewhere else. Or, maybe you’re staying in a romantic relationship but your heart just isn’t in it anymore. It could be your circle of friends that are wearing you out, because you are longing for just anyone to be with, and you think that the toxic relationships are better than nothing.
Whatever it is you’re settling for, it isn’t worth what it’s costing you. You deserve to be happy. You deserve peace of mind.
If you find you’re constantly telling yourself that there has to be something better than what you have, or what you’re doing, chances are, you’re settling for less than what you deserve. Don’t settle. Set out to find the best, and go for it.
3. Be Thankful
The more you appreciate the things in your life, the more good will enter in.
Find ways to be thankful. Maybe it’s something major, but it doesn’t have to be. Appreciate the blankets you sleep under every night. Appreciate your spouse or your kids, or your neighbor, or the waitress that brought you your coffee this morning. Be thankful for the clothes you have to wear. Appreciate your car, or the bus, or the bike you ride to get around.
But it’s important not to stop with material things. Be thankful for what you, a unique individual, bring to the world. Pay attention to the happiness that you bring to others, Note the impact that happiness has on others, and the ripple effect of how that happiness is getting paid forward. Think about how far your happiness may be extending. In reality, it’s probably gone even farther than you’ve imagined that it did!
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No”
Learning to say “No” sometimes can be a liberating experience. Usually, when we are saying “No” to others, we are in some way saying “Yes” to ourselves. Don’t be afraid to tell others “No” sometimes. Saying “Yes” to yourself will often cause people to respect you more and to value you more. This will serve to improve your self-esteem. It’s important to put yourself first. Give yourself honor by doing for others only what feels right for you.
It’s great to do things to help others. But helping others should never be done at the expense of our own well-being. If we are giving more of ourselves than we should, we sometimes are not allowing the other person to learn their own lessons from their experiences. Don’t do things for other people out of obligation. This can only lead to resentment and insincerity.
5. Keep Relationships Healthy
If you are in relationships that are making you feel bad, try to distance yourself from those relationships, or to let go of them entirely. Try to instead surround yourself with people who bring significant good into your life. Seek at least one or two people who can encourage you to reach your goals, who can nourish your spiritual self, and who can accept you for who and what you are, with no changes expected.
Strong and nurturing bonds of love and friendship will remind you that you are not alone. Friends like that can open your heart.
6. Maintain Boundaries
Setting clear and healthy boundaries in relationships is important to make sure that the relationships develop in mutually respectful ways. Establishing boundaries doesn’t keep people at a distance. Instead, it actually can serve to draw people closer. The only way that freedom in relationships can develop is when the people in the relationship clearly understand what is expected and allowed, and what is not.
Others will only be able to learn how you want to be treated if you have a healthy sense of self-respect. Boundaries in relationships can and should respect your values and your self-esteem. And if you occasionally come up against someone pushing against your boundaries, stand firm! Don’t let them push you down!
7. Follow Your Passions
Everybody has something in their lives that makes them feel more alive, and gives their lives more meaning. Seek and find what it is that drives you, that brings you bliss. Then, stay focused, because dreams don’t ever go away. They can only be postponed.
Some passions are big, and others are small. Some people have only one thing that drives them, while others have many such things. Pay attention to what it is in your life that is knocking at the door of your heart. Then find ways to open that door and fulfill those desires. Encourage yourself to do it full-force, or work out ways to achieve it more slowly and step by step.
Everything in your life, even the little things, starts with you. Like a pebble tossed into a pond, it then ripples outwards into your relationships. Therefore, it really makes sense to put yourself first, to love and nurture yourself, and find joy in yourself. Others will then, in turn, be touched by those ripples. Putting yourself first and living your best life puts light and joy in your ripples, and touches your relationships with beauty and kindness.