I hear it over and over again from different people, in different situations and I even say it to others all the time. We tend to say things that are so much easier said than done. Giving advice can be so much easier than following it yourself.
“You have to put yourself first!” The number one rule to true happiness. If this was as easy as it sounds, we would not have as much depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders out there. Putting ourselves first entails so much more than just being happy.
One of the traits that come with a borderline personality disorder is impulsivity. When we think of impulsive, we think of drugs, sex, shopping, reckless driving, hurting ourselves, etc. But impulsivity can manifest in many other ways.
For instance, I have come to recognize that one of the impulsive behaviors that I tend to have is to put others before me. Now, that may not sound so bad, right? Growing up I was always taught that you think of others when it comes to many aspects of your life. It was part of my identity.
How are my actions going to affect others? What will others think of me? What will they think of my clothes? My home? My children? My lifestyle? And the questions go on and on. So I began to wonder. How can I put myself first in a life where I always put others first?
This led me to always put my feelings and my opinions aside to make sure that others were comfortable and happy. Never doing exactly what I wanted for fear of not being accepted. If only I had learned to love myself and see the value in myself a long time ago. This would have kept me in a life of freedom. Unscarred by the opinions and actions of others.
Now, don’t think I am talking about getting up, packing all your stuff and getting as far away as you can (although that sounds tempting too). I truly think that people misunderstand what it means to “put yourself first.” It is not about doing what you want all the time or ignoring the needs of others. It’s about prioritizing and understanding the interplay between taking care of yourself and others.
We tend to have the misconception that putting ourselves first has to do with spoiling ourselves. Putting yourself first could be something as simple as drinking a bottle of water instead of a soda. Eating a salad before dinner instead of cake. Take an hour out of the day for exercise. Being healthy and living a longer life is a way to benefit yourself and those around you.
Putting yourself first is how you will be much happier and so will those closest to you. We live in a fast-paced world where everything can be very chaotic. In these times, especially these times, we need to set aside these moments for ourselves.
Time to refresh, to restore, to recharge to mentally recalibrate. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Make a list of your priorities. Not too long.
- Ask family and your community for help
- Learn to balance between treating yourself and giving to others
- Remember putting yourself first sometimes involves doing things that are difficult, but benefit you in the long run.
Putting yourself first can sound selfish to many people. But your mental and physical health is vital to your happiness. In turn, contributing to the happiness of others. I believe we live in a world created to give back what you put out.
If you allow negativity to surround you whether it be through bad health, bad attitudes, bad thoughts. Then you open yourself up to receiving the same back. But if you feed on the positive energy around you, then the same energy will be given to you. Your happiness is contagious. It takes the spark of one person to engulf happiness in another.
With BPD, this may be a bit more challenging but not impossible. Everything takes practice. Even finding inner peace. Mentally and physically. You have to want it as deep as the air you breathe. There has been nothing more fulfilling to me than finding true peace everyday. Not from outside sources, but from within.