For years I have struggled with the idea of Me first. Putting myself first always equated to being selfish, self-centered, narcissistic, egoistic and a long list of many more not so positive descriptions. Surely if we were just about ourselves how could we have gotten here, how could we ever grow and contribute? How could we ever find meaning?
That’s how I felt until I lost myself. I applied the everyone first principle instead, giving all I had, my energy, kindness, understanding, support, hard work and so on to everybody else. This in turn filled me with joy and a sense of satisfaction and meaning – like I meant something, I counted for others, they needed me.
The only problem was that I put aside the ‘Me’ part and did not balance out my dedication to the outer world with some inner dedication.
So eventually I dried up. I gave so much that I had nothing left to give and I stopped feeling. I became a robot, a machine, doing but not feeling. I no longer knew what I liked, what made me happy or unhappy, I couldn’t feel joy anymore or pain.
All I felt was INDIFFERENCE. I was dead inside.
It was time to have a good look at myself, my life, and what was happening.
A lot of inner work was required. No turning back, I needed to dig in and go deep.
On this journey a few lessons came in handy.
#1. Indifference was just feedback. Whatever it is that we feel at certain points in our life, it is pure and simple feedback of what we have been putting out there and its result on our being. You might feel anger, sadness, joy – whatever that might be – acknowledging that this is pure and simple feedback of what is working or not, allows us to acknowledge the guidance we are receiving.
#2. Feedback is neutral and should not equate to beating ourselves up for it. We might have made mistakes, made the wrong choice for ourselves or not dared to do something and we are getting the feedback we need to move on to the next step or phase in our life. Beating yourself up is a waste of time. Acknowledge the feedback and start working on what’s next.
#3. You can only nurture others when you nurture yourself first. ‘Me’ first is not about being selfish, ‘Me’ first is crucial to you being of any value to anybody else. If you do not look after yourself and love yourself first, how can you help or expect anybody else to do exactly that? How can you teach your children or support your friends and family?
#4. You only get to live once. If this is the only life you get to live, don’t you deserve to treat yourself well and look after yourself first? Who else is going to do that if not you? You are a GIFT. You have been given the gift of life. We all need to live up to that; not just take it for granted and let life pass us by.
#5. Stop the bullying. Yes, these words may seem strong. But are we not our worst bullies? Are we not all bullies at some point in our life? We bully ourselves day in and day out. We self-criticize and treat ourselves with such hardship – our inner voice screaming – ‘you can do better; how could you fail; fight; get up; how could you miss that; why did you say that; why are you being so weak…’.
#6. Talk to yourself like you would a child. Would you ever utter these words of hardship and criticism to your 5 Year-Old child? You would probably come from love instead and support your child in making a better decision and learning a lesson from it. So why are we talking to ourselves this badly? A bit of understanding and care and love towards oneself goes a long way. Our self-talk is everything.
#7. Cut yourself some slack. We are all human. We all make mistakes and we are all perfect in our own ways. Choose love over fear. Choose to love YOU first and treat yourself with something everyday. Do something for YOU and only you. Have that piece of chocolate, or that haircut or that walk or that 5 minutes meditation. You deserve it. It is your duty and responsibility to love yourself first and honour the gift that you have been given.
ACKNOWLEDGE AND DECIDE OF THE CHOICES YOU NEED TO MAKE TODAY
TO START LIVING AGAIN.