For me – though I appreciate less so for others – it’s relatively easy to think about putting myself and my needs first and to be – for want of a word with fewer negative connotations – selfish…
- I’m ok with my children not being my entire world.
- I’m ok with wanting more than motherhood for myself.
- I definitely need time and space for myself without my children around, and I don’t feel guilty when I have it.
- I’m perfectly happy NOT to share my favourite bag of crisps with anyone (Piper’s Salt & Vinegar crisps, in case you wondered).
- I sometimes forget that other people might want a cup of tea when I make one for myself.
- I take my own self care seriously – I’ll always try and eat, drink, shower, exercise etc. – even when I’m pushed for time.
And yet, the theme ‘Me First’ holds a frustrating irony…
Because the thing is that it’s not just about me putting myself first but encouraging others to put themselves first.
Which also means encouraging those closest to me to do the same – to put themselves first…even when those needs then clash with or don’t help me meet mine. You see the conundrum, right?
Let’s talk specifics…
- I want my partner to put herself first – to prioritise her physical and mental health – buuut if that means spending less time together…hmmmm, not so keen on that.
- I want my children to put their needs first – to spend time creating and playing – buuuut if that means they’ll make a monstrous great mess which takes me an hour to clean up…definitely not keen on that.
- I want my ex to find love and happiness – with someone else who can better meet his needs than I could – buuuut if that means he’s less available to look after the kids when I want time to myself and/or it curtails time with my partner…really not keen on that.
Me first works both ways, goddamit.
And perhaps my lesson in working with this theme isn’t about me putting myself first or even helping others – clients and friends – put themselves first, but instead it’s me learning the importance of accepting and embracing it when my own people put themselves first, even when that challenges my own need and desire to be prioritised and put first in their lives. Deep, deep joy.
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