Growing up as a child I was always being told to ‘put others first.’
I heard it hundreds of times, from my teachers, from my parents, at church.
And I did. I listened to other’s problems even when I was barely managing my own.
I said yes to every request and invite, even when deep down my body was screaming NO!
My empathetic personality traits didn’t help.
I would feel guilty saying no to a friend when I didn’t feel like going to that bar. My mind would go in frantic circles believing that I was quite possibly the worst friend in the world.
I felt like I was responsible for other people’s happiness, often forgetting about my own.
I ended up feeling depleted, and as though I had nothing left to give.
And that’s when I realized I had forgotten about something so important: self-care.
That I had feelings too. That I had needs. And that sometimes it really is ok to put yourself before others.
Truth is: too much people-pleasing can lead to depression and anxious feelings.
I wish someone had told me these things too when I was younger:
You Can Say No To Anything, And Everything
Yep, that’s right. You can say no.
You can say no to that birthday invite, that coffee date, and no to your partner when they’re in the mood but you’re not.
It’s hard, I know. But sometimes it’s more harmful to not be assertive. If you are only doing things to please other people, you will probably start loathing yourself — and them.
If the other person is not ok with your ‘no’ then maybe you should reconsider if it’s worth keeping them in your life anyway.
A person who truly loves and respects you will be ok with you not saying ‘yes’ all the time!
You Don’t Have To Answer That Call or Text Immediately (Or At All)
15 missed calls and 33 unread texts. Panic!
Many of us are glued to our smartphones. We often feel obliged to reply to our friends or colleagues right away. And those nagging little red notifications in the corner really don’t help.
When technology is added to the mix it seems as though the requests and desires of others are just endless.
Those dreaded blue WhatsApp ticks which confirm a message has been read often make us feel as though we MUST respond promptly. Otherwise, we are in big big trouble with the other person…
But if you don’t feel like talking to anyone at that moment, you don’t have to. You can switch off your phone or set times where you won’t be answering or replying to any texts or calls.
It’s healthy to give yourself a breather once in a while.
(P.S: changing your WhatsApp settings so that the blue ticks no longer show may save you a lot of stress)
Speaking your truth
You don’t have to agree with everything people say. You are your own person; you have your own opinions, thoughts, and perspectives.
And that is perfectly fine.
If someone hurts or offends you in any way you shouldn’t have to sit back and stay quiet. Tell them you did not like their comment or did not appreciate the way they made you feel.
So many of us live in fear of upsetting others or avoid confrontation at all costs. In reality, bottling up emotions can harm us even more in the long run.
Stand your ground. Nobody should feel comfortable walking all over you.
Spending Time Alone
Alone time is beneficial for recharging our batteries and discovering ourselves better. Sometimes you just don’t feel like being sociable and will prefer a night in watching a movie.
Don’t feel guilty about this. As much as social interaction is important for our mental wellbeing, so is spending time alone.
Find things that you enjoy, and do them! Replenish your spirit.
Distancing Yourself From Toxic People
You really don’t have to tolerate people who give you bad ‘gut feelings’. That strange feeling you get in your tummy about someone very rarely fails.
Trust it- it is probably telling you something.
If you get the impression somebody is using you, abusing you or manipulating you in any way, kindly walk away. You are not obliged to stick around and accept it just because you don’t want any conflict.
You deserve just as much love, support, and care as you give the people around you.
Set boundaries. Be selfish. Walk away when you aren’t being treated in the right way.
It won’t make you a bad person.
I’m not saying to go out there and be the most egocentric person. There should be a healthy balance. It feels good to give, but if you are pouring from an empty glass you are harming yourself in the long run.
You might even realize that meeting your own needs first will enable you to help others more effectively.
Truth is nobody else can save you.
You have to save yourself.