I used to be a human doormat. Not the nice, festive kind; but the kind that you don't mind rubbing your muddy boots on. I never understood why I had so many people in my life who took advantage of me, emotionally tormented me, used me, and played games with me. Especially because I always went above and beyond to help others. I put my job and boss before me. I put my relationships before me. I put everyone before me.
I just thought people sucked.
Come to find out...I was a huge part of the problem.
That was a very hard lesson to learn. Not to say that ANYONE deserves to be taken advantage of, but you attract a whole hell of a lot of immature, narcissistic, emotionally unavailable, and manipulative people when you have no boundaries, low self-esteem, and no self-respect. AKA a lack of self love.
So, what is one to do when coming to that realization? How do you justify caring for yourself and your needs, while maintaining any innate desire to care for others?
Oh, pick me! Pick me! I KNOW!
Stay True to You
I realize that this may sound kind of "duh," but I'm talking about digging REAL deep and asking yourself what kind of person you are at your core. What are your values, what are your priorities, and how do you want others to see and remember you? Of course it's important how others see you because how you live and move about the world affects other people in it. I'm not talking about judging at first sight, I'm talking about really SEEING someone. Depending on what you want to do with your time, other people are more than likely to play a huge part in it. Are you an artist? Are you an entrepreneur? Are you an educator? No matter WHAT you want to do, you can't and WON'T be great at it if you don't do it because it drives you in some way: spiritually, financially, joyfully, etc. And, you won't be any good at it if you do it for someone else or because someone else thinks you should. Think about the people you look up to. What makes them so awesome to you? Lemme guess...they are authentic, take no bullshit, are open and honest, and seem to live life to the fullest at every opportunity? They are real and raw. That's the type of person you want to be to. So, be your own role model!
Practice Self Care
This is something we ALL need. Need. N-E-E-D. Whether it's a foot massage, a candlelit bath, a book in the park, a walk on the beach, a song sung, a poem written, an ice cream devoured. When you take care of yourself, it makes you feel like royalty. And when you feel like royalty, you are happier. And when you are happier, the quality of your life increases. And when the quality of your life increases, the quality of other lives can increase too. Bam.
Pay it Forward
This has been a HUGE one for me lately. I am on this non-stop random acts of kindness kick and I am OBSESSED. I cannot express to you how much of a positive impact doing things for others has on my mood, productivity, and success. YES, I said success. First and foremost, it feels fucking awesome to do something nice for someone else. Period. And a natural byproduct of that is that you inspire other people to do something good for someone else. Does it get any better than that? No. That's the creme de la creme and it's EVERYTHING. Especially in my career. I'm a huge advocate of coaching others to be selfish so that they can build themselves up. Because being selfish means more than just having a big ego and being out for yourself. What they all soon realize is that when you build yourself up, you have this amazing opportunity to bring others up with you. And if you take the opportunity and milk it for every drop, you will blind people with your powerful, awe-inspiring glow. Helping others by inspiring others keeps you motivated and inspired. We need each other. We're not meant to live life in solitude. We are here for each other. It starts with you and then branches out like a web until we're all connected and supporting each other.
Now, hopefully you have a better understanding of why YOU HAVE TO COME FIRST. Being selfish doesn't have to mean stepping on or over other people. It can mean taking care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself in this world...which ultimately helps others too. See? Being selfish isn't such a bad thing after all!