If you have been denying yourself (self-care) and healthy margins because you feel guilty and don’t want to fall down that selfish slippery slope, then, here are three easy ways to put yourself first without becoming self-absorbed.
Create a space for yourself whenever necessary
That space can be solitary, or it can be space with a confidant. However, that space looks like for you; simply getting away from the world and all the external needs are crucial to maintaining emotional and physical health.
Taking space doesn’t mean giving up on your obligations or the people who depend on you, but it does imply setting a boundary.
If people or situations are demanding your attention but you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to take some time for a little while (a few hours, a couple of days, whatever you need that is reasonable) then you need to communicate that.
Let others know that you are taking some time and will be able to work on the problem, offer input, or spend time with them when you’re ready. The act of communicating your need to take space is what helps you alleviate your guilt and concern of being self-absorbed.
Self -absorbed people wouldn’t bother to communicate because it would not occur to them that their sudden absence or response might hurt others- and selfish people just wouldn’t care at all if it did.
You are allowed to take space and recuperate for some time, but let people know that you’re taking care of yourself and aren’t ghosting them or dropping the ball completely.
For such a small word “NO” packs quite the punch
It can be upsetting to hear and even more difficult to say. No one wants to disappoint people or irritate their feelings, but we all have boundaries, moral codes, and conditions that we have to enforce with that little word.
It might feel selfish to decline people or tasks, but now, and then we have to do exactly that. The key is not just to throw ‘no’ around casually whenever you just don’t want to do things because it seems boring or difficult or you have nothing to gain from it.
It’s not selfish or being self-absorbed to decline offers, requests, or situations when you truly cannot handle it, have reached your limit, feel like it is conciliating you on a personal level, or genuinely aren’t interested and don’t want to.
Say “No” only when you mean it
The biggest way you can put yourself first without becoming self-absorbed is to remind yourself that you matter too and hold yourself to the same standard that you hold others.
- Would you expect your friends to drop everything every moment of the day and hasten to your side? No, they won’t.
- Would you expect your coworkers to do the job of 5 people without a salary increase or time off? No, then why should you
- If you are swamped and already doing all you can to keep your head above water, say ‘NO’ to taking on that extra project.
- When you’ve got deadlines at work you have to meet, say ‘NO’ to getting that drink with your friend.
- When you’re asked to do something you don’t morally or ethically agree with, say ‘NO’ and don’t jeopardize yourself.
- When your friend dumps all their problems on you and asks you to solve them, say ‘NO’ and don’t feign a responsibility that isn’t yours.
- When you’re sticking to your diet and you’re invited out for ice cream, say ‘NO’ and keep taking care of yourself.
Saying ‘NO’ is vital for maintaining our goals, our health, and our boundaries.
Related article: How To Stop Putting Pressure On Yourself
Don’t make excuses about not taking care of yourself. The line is to acknowledge that you matter the same amount- not more or less. Your needs matter, your health matters, and your wellness matters just as it matters for everyone.
That doesn’t mean you can turn a blind eye to others’ needs to prioritize your own, and it doesn’t mean that yours are more important. However, others are just as a subject for their self-care as you are. Help when you can, but don’t lose yourself and wellness to do it.
Putting yourself and your needs first do not make you self-absorbed. We all have needs and can only anticipate ourselves to provide those. Although, you should do your best to help others when possible, don’t do it at your own expense.
Understand your goals and work within them to provide for others while maintaining care for yourself.
We hope this article is of great help to you. Let us know your thoughts on the topic by joining the conversation in the comment section and please, share if you’ve enjoyed the read.