“Put yourself first…Because if you can’t care about yourself, how are you gonna care for someone else?”— Anonymous
Anyone who has ever flown in a plane has heard the flight attendant give these instructions:
“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”
Note the words …“in the event of a decompression.”
Decompression means…”to release or reduce the physical pressure on something.”
What a magnificent metaphor! When I want to release and reduce the pressure I am feeling, I take care of myself first!! Then, I can give my best to other people.
It makes complete sense!!
So, then why do most people do the exact opposite in their daily life? Why do they put everyone else first so that they are exhausted and worn out…neglecting their own self-care….to the point of complete depletion and resentment?
The answer will surprise you!
The most-often reason that many people will say as to why they put other people first is because they feel that it is what a good-hearted person does.
The other most popular reason is that people say they feel guilty saying ‘no’ to other people so they say ‘yes’ instead.
While both of these reasons are true, they are not the actual reason.
The true reason is that they do not put their own needs, interests and choice of activity on their calendar first.
Pure and simple.
If they had ‘scheduled’ activities with their self on a calendar…like they do for activities they do with and for other people…those activities would more likely be accomplished. The reason being that if someone requested their time and attention at a time when they already have something scheduled on their calendar – they would stop, think twice before automatically saying ‘yes’ to the other person.
They would likely explore more possibilities of assisting the other person in different ways or at other times. And, when they do help the other person, they are doing it more likely from a feeling of love…rather than as an obligation.
Here’s how to get started scheduling your personal-interest activities first.
Start by making a quick list of your hobbies and special interests… activities which make you feel good when you invest time in them.
For example, your hobby is playing the guitar, or playing video games, or practicing yoga. Perhaps you are interested in learning more about social media, or dog grooming, or how to live on a raw foods diet.
Now take out your calendar and schedule a minimum of one of these activities each day. If this week’s calendar is already full, then schedule an activity a day starting next week. This will give you time to re-schedule other activities which you may have already planned with others.
Putting your own activities on the calendar ensures that you are giving time to you. I encourage you to eventually schedule these activities on a daily basis before adding any activities you schedule with and for others…so you do actually put yourself first.
Remember this – if it does not work for you to do an activity with someone else, it probably does not work for them either. Make a request to reschedule when you feel like you can’t give your best to the other person.
For example, yesterday I woke up exhausted because I did not get a restful night’s sleep. I had planned to meet someone who was visiting from out-of-town. What I really wanted to do was go back to sleep. For a moment, I thought to myself, “it’s only a couple of hours and she is visiting from out-of-town, so keep the appointment.”
But then, I took my own advice and remembered:
1. I was not feeling my best and would not be the best company
2. Taking care of myself first would ensure that I can be of support to all of my clients and my family for the rest of the week
3. If it did not work for me to meet with her, it probably did not work for her to meet with me.
I called her immediately. Explained that I was not feeling well and would prefer to either talk by phone at the time we had planned or to reschedule to talk by phone.
She shared with me that she was also exhausted and wanted to use the time we had planned to meet to take a nap herself since she had 2 important presentations coming up later in the week for which she had to be well. We agreed to reschedule our conversation to a time when we would both be at our best for each other.
So much more uplifting than if we had both felt we ‘should’ meet with each other rather than taking care of ourselves first!
Thanks for taking a moment now to share in the comment box below how you will be putting yourself first this year to be more attractive.
Stacey Hall, L.S.H., C.N.T.C., C.A.C, C.R.T.S.
Success Coach, Speaker, Best-Selling Author
CEO, Chi-To-Be!, LLC