5 Reasons Why You Should Put Yourself First

Posted by Isha Chitnis in Health and Life
January 11, 2017

If you’re like me, you will spend most of your time wondering what others want and need and how they want you to behave and try to do the things people like, not always to please them, but just to get them to shut up. After all, who wants somebody breathing down your neck 24×7 about you not being the person they expected you to be and you say to yourself, “Oh what the heck, let’s just do it anyway, at least somebody will be happy.”

As much as this might be a smart move in certain situations, the problem arises when this becomes a habit. Believe me; there are people who will take advantage of you and your situation throughout your life and some might even use these reasons as an excuse to be even more of a self-absorbed person than they already are, so please identify your type and approach with caution. Speaking as a person who 90% of the time tries to behave in a manner that is expected of me, here are five reasons I realised why I need to put myself and my needs above everybody else’s:

1. You are the only person you can depend on.

I kid you not; this rings 100% true. Yes, you will say you have good friends, best friends even, who are there by your side whenever you need them and yes, you will have your family and your spouse/ better half with you through thick and thin, but remember that depending on somebody or something that much, automatically puts you in a vulnerable position. It means you have to seek something externally in times of need and if you don’t receive it, all of us know what happens then. It isn’t wrong to ask for help from those fortunate people who get to listen to our happy stories and sad encounters; we are lucky to have them in our lives. It is, however, wrong to decide that our lives will not function without them.

Why? Firstly, because that isn’t true. We are human beings, and whether we like it or not, no matter how much we resist it, we move on. We adapt. We survive. Whoever said that was a bad thing? It’s one of the only good things about our species – our adaptability. At first, it might trouble you and even confuse you (you thought you couldn’t live without a certain person or a certain thing ), but after a while, you will get used to it and embrace it. Be your biggest strength and train yourself to be independent.

2. Nothing is permanent.

Yeah, shocker. If you’re anything like me, you will be in denial about this forever, but it doesn’t change the fact that nothing is, in fact, permanent. You might spend all of your days and nights worrying about that problem and obsessing about that person and wondering why they did what they did and sometimes even rationalizing their behavior (we’ve all been there), but what we fail to realise is that we are wasting precious time on the problem or the person when we could, in fact, use it for something far greater and constructive, doing something we like.

When you sit and ponder over what went wrong and blaming yourself, you are, once again, giving someone else more importance than yourself. It is nothing but a temporary situation, and it will pass when it has fulfilled its purpose. Don’t learn to permanently put someone else’s needs before yours for a situation that is temporary.

P.S.: If you actually did do something wrong, it is a brilliant move to introspect. Keep it up. And don’t do it again.

3. Happiness can only come from within you.

This is the most difficult to accept and put into practice in real life. It seems easy when you read about it, in Dalai Lama books.

I mean, really? I couldn’t even imagine accepting this for the longest time, but situations and experiences are the biggest teachers. (Who teaches stuff like this in school? After all, formulae and how to turn a chemical brown has helped me a lot in life. Thanks, Obama.)

All of us have at least one thing in our mind that we think we will achieve, after which we will be happy. Better relationships, or just a relationship. A better job, a vacation, something of the sort. We need to look inside ourselves to find happiness, not depend on an external source. If your happiness comes from somebody doing something for you, you will never be satisfied, because expectations are our biggest enemy. Also remember that this works the other way around, too. If somebody is depending on you to make them happy, you will spend all your time and energy making that happen and will put your own needs aside, which will make you unhappy. What is the purpose of this activity when the outcome isn’t positive? Learn how to be happy yourself first before catering to the needs of others and don’t try to run away from introspection. It is probably the hardest thing you will ever do, but it needs to be done.

4. You have to live your life.

Your life is the result of the decisions you take. Every single one of them counts. Don’t let people make all these decisions for you, or else you will be living a life they want you to live, not one you want to live. It will be you who has to make compromises every single day to sustain that kind of life. When you make the choice to live according to someone else, you also make the choice of bearing the brunt of it alone. It isn’t wrong to do the things that make YOU happy, to do the things you want to do, just because you want to do them. (Positive things only!)

People will always have opinions to give; that’s what they are for. But they cannot make you do something you don’t want to. I know so many people who are pursuing a certain field of education because their parents wanted them to and because parents are always right. You know, they might be right about a lot of things, but they cannot always be right about something that isn’t about them. This is a very common problem in India, and individual identity is what is lacking in this country, and it’s all collective identity. You matter, you are important. Do what makes you happy.

5. Your identity is your place in this world.

You’ve got to listen to Elastigirl. If your life has been shaped by the constant influence of others, firstly, you will be afraid to make decisions and secondly, you will not know you who really are. There will always be a discrepancy between what you’re doing and what you want to do, between who you are who you want to be. Before that situation arises, learn to stand up for your beliefs instead of satisfying everyone else’s.
Yes, everyone’s opinion matters, but it doesn’t matter enough to make you want to want to do something you don’t think you will be happy with. Study yourself, your needs and work towards fulfilling them. Don’t lose your identity to dominating forces. Do you.

If you ever need a pick-me-up, listen to this beautiful, powerful song.

Let me know what you think about what I have to say!