If there’s one thing I’ve taken away the most from adulthood so far, it’s that the biggest and most important relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. Today I wanted to share some thoughts on a topic that’s more recently near and dear to my heart — something you won’t find in a pretty Instagram feed or a typical post about beauty or recipes or DIY. Let me start by posing a question: how do you put yourself first? In my case, it hasn’t been an easy, cut and dry answer. And I won’t sit here and tell you where to find your own ah-ha moment. But a few years back, I found mine.
My husband and I were faced with a very big decision, a decision that would impact the next several decades of our life. The decision wasn’t made hastily or quickly. It took some soul searching, deep conversation and prayers. But the biggest take away that happened in that life moment was the commitment I made to put myself first.
This is taken from my bio and couldn’t be more accurate: I’m a wife and mother, daughter, sister and friend. But the most important relationship is the one I have grown to have with myself.
It’s true; I wear all of those hats. I wear all of those hats 99% of the time and dedicate nearly every waking moment to living up to what those titles mean. Doing what I can for others, living sensitively and selflessly. It’s something that comes innately to me. And on almost any given day if you ask me how I’m doing, I’ll say “good!” or “great!” — and most of the time, I mean that. Living selflessly is something that truly makes me happy. I love doing things for others. It brings me joy to see others happy and if I can play a part in that happiness, I will.
Yet sometimes in all of that, the relationship I have with myself can get lost in the fray.
So when we were faced with that “big decision” a few years back, I had to think long and hard about what it meant for me. In that major life moment, I learned that no matter how much you may think of and care for others, putting yourself first cannot be the last priority. While I now recognize this, it’s still a constant struggle.
I’ve recently spoken to several friends (some of whom are new mothers like me) about some serious, sometimes sad topics… anxiety, depression, not having the time to follow a personal passion, working in a job that isn’t fulfilling… The circumstances surrounding these topics are all different and very real. Everyone’s wearing lots of hats, caring for others, living selflessly, and nearly always putting themselves last. And I keep coming back to this important lesson: how, when we wear so many hats 99% of the time, do we put ourselves first?
Just 8 days ago, I made a new daily goal: wake up early for “me” time.
I am now giving myself an uninterrupted hour and a half to do whatever it is I need for the day. If I want to wake up, shower and get myself ready for the day, I do. If I need to sit and enjoy my morning coffee, read, blog, catch up on chores around the house, exercise, eat breakfast with my husband, pray, or simply sleep an hour and a half more, then I do. Because it’s my “me” time.
When the alarm goes off at 5:30am, I make a choice. Today, will I make myself a priority? My answer is now: yes.
And the lesson I’ve learned in these short 8 days has already been so impactful. I am running on less sleep but feel happier knowing that I’m not leaving myself for last but instead putting myself first. It’s how I’m starting my day and now what I look forward to at night.
I’m not saying you need to wake up earlier. I’m not saying that waking up early is the answer to putting yourself first. But for me, this little eye-opening exercise has become my new normal. It’s working for me. 99% of my day is still focused on fulfilling my roles as wife and mother, daughter, sister and friend. But I’m now making the daily choice to dedicate time to the most important relationship of all.
If you’re struggling with a decision, feeling unfulfilled in some way, feeling disappointed that you haven’t followed through with something you’re passionate about or simply need more “me” time, there’s absolutely no shame in that. Give yourself the grace you deserve. Give yourself the chance to find your ah-ha moment.
Ask yourself: If I don’t put myself first, who will? If I don’t put myself first, how can I give the fullest, happiest and most true version of myself to others? And if that includes taking off every other hat you wear for a dedicated hour and a half of uninterrupted “me” time to exercise or pray or drink a hot cup of coffee without having to reheat it 3 times, then you’ve actually made the most selfless choice of all.
My challenge to you is this: How will you put yourself first today?