I like many women I know was raised by a wonderful woman who put other’s needs, wants and desires before her own. I was raised to be kind and considerate to never brag or to think too highly of myself.
Whilst not explicitly told that I should put others first. It was what I believed was the right thing to do, based on the example I was given. I grew up believing that being kind and good was what mattered most, even if it was to my own detriment.
This self-sacrificing belief system contributed, alongside many other factors, to me being overweight, very overweight, for decades. And it’s a belief system in common with many of the clients I work with. Believing that prioritising others needs before our own, not knowing the importance of self-love when it comes to self-care, makes it far more difficult for women to prioritise eating healthily and exercising.
Prioritising taking care of you is much easier when you feel self-love. And you feel-self-love when you think loving thoughts about yourself. When you believe you matter, when you know your health is more important than your work deadline.
When you love yourself first you believe you're 100% worthy of prioritising yourself care above the demands of your job, your children, your partner, and others in your life.
When you love yourself first you appreciate you. And just like money, when you appreciate yourself, you take better care of yourself, your value, your health, literally increases or improves.
Katie Reed said that self-care is giving the world the best of you and not what’s left of you. And I love this quote because if you’re someone who struggles to take care of yourself because you’re putting others first – remembering that taking care of your will enable you to give more not less to others is going to make it easier for you.
When you love yourself first, you love the work in progress that is you instead of chasing ‘the you’ of your perfectionist fantasies. This means that if you want to lose weight or tone up your body you love your body now rather than believing you need to change it, and you want to make the changes not so that you can feel better about yourself, but so that you will be healthier, stronger, fitter and more energised.
Loving yourself first is a behaviour of unconditional self-love. It is having an amazing relationship with yourself. It's a commitment to thinking loving thoughts about yourself.
And it sounds easy in theory but often it seems so difficult. And that’s because our brains are conditioned to look for the negative, and to judge. Our brain think’s it is protecting us from future judgement and failure but its only creating more judgement and negative emotion not protecting us from it.
When we spend so much of our brain energy judging ourselves, we have very little energy left to love ourselves. One way to stop judging ourselves is to be curious about our thoughts about ourselves. When we’re curious we’re a step closer to loving ourselves as perfectly imperfect.
When we remember there is nothing we need to be or do to be more worthy of love, that we are 100% lovable exactly as we are, it becomes easier to love ourselves first.