Do what’s right for you.
Take care of yourself first.
You cannot pour from an empty cup.
Sayings we have all heard too many times before. And yet, there must be a reason why we are so compelled to hear them over and over again.
Because we need to. I often hear from people how hard it is for them to put themselves first. Some people don’t know how to begin. Most people think they are already doing it. And even more people think it’s selfish. It’s like pizza tacos, the idea is great but it’s on the execution where things get a little tricky. I would like to throw another saying out there that perhaps adds a bit of a different perspective:
You are your best when you feel the best.
That’s it. Whatever it means to feel your best is what you need to do. The degrees to which you have to take care of yourself vary so much between people. Some people find themselves energized by being there for others (hello, I am a life coach because I get energy from helping others. Guilty as charged). Others need entire mornings to themselves while others feel energized from spending just five minutes alone in the shower. This notion of taking care of oneself is as nuanced as the pattern of a mandala.
To some extent I would even argue people do it naturally. When we feel sad we call a friend or reach for comfort food. When we are in pain we find ways to manage it. We do have a self persevering mode where we do take care of ourselves. The thing is though, we too often neglect that part in order to get things done and to be there for others. It’s more about finding the balance that works for you, rather than shoving people aside to put yourself first. No man is an island. No one can go through their whole lives alone (even though some people think they can) and no one should (even though some think they should).
I’ve seen people fall into the far spectrum of putting themselves first. Once learning they can set boundaries they push people far too far off because they haven’t found the balance between being there for others and being there for themselves. The sayings should be “Yes, you do you, but mind others as well”, if you are able to.
Which brings me to the next aspect, taking care of yourself is never selfish. It is about making sure you are at your best so you can give your very best. People around you, especially your loved ones deserve you when you feel at your uttermost yourself. The world deserves you as that. I do believe we are all unique and have a unique way of looking at the world. A unique contribution to the space that we are in. No, not all of us will have lead change in this world like Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela, actually barely any of us will. But we will have some minor impact to the world around us. In the end, in this short time on this earth, this is all we have to give. You can only do it best, when you are your best.
So find your balance, put yourself first in a way that enables you to be your best for yourself and for others.