‘Why is it always about you?’
‘You must always put others first!’
‘Never mind what you want!’
When I was a child this is what I was taught.
My parents firmly believed that it was wrong to put yourself first. They were always going on about it and I learnt to believe them. Alongside this, I learnt to feel guilty if I dared to please myself.
Now I take a different view.
If I always put myself last in the pecking order this is what would happen –
- I’d never sit down to read, because I ought to be washing the kitchen floor.
- I’d never stand and stare, just for the sake of it, because I ought to be peeling the veg.
- I certainly wouldn’t be writing this blog because I ought to be… you fill in the blanks!
It’s all about balance.
As a child I was taught that my needs didn’t really count. I should always put other people’s needs before my own. But that’s just plain stupid, in my book.
I read somewhere wise, that it’s impossible to meet someone else’s needs if your own needs are not met.
Your whole day has been devoted to looking after other people…
- Your elderly parent, who can try your patience at the drop of a hat, and usually does, bless her…
- Your child, who demands that you magic up a fairy costume out of an old dress of yours and all before play group tomorrow morning…
- Your neighbour, who asks you to spare them 10 minutes but you know it’ll be more like an hour and you haven’t got another hour to spare before you have to collect the children…
- Your OH, who calls to ask if you could just collect his suit from the dry cleaners, oh, and could you fill up with petrol while you’re out?
At this point you get a very bad case of Overwhelm.
Jean calls it taking a ride on the Meltdown City Express. (Do pop over and read her post, it’s excellent.)
How can you possibly fit any more ‘needs’ into your fraught day?
You have to say –
Now it’s my turn.
Or nothing gets done properly and you simply end up frazzled and frustrated.
You’re not superwoman/superman – not as far as I know, anyway! Let me know if I’m wrong on that one…
The bottom line is…
Don’t get overwhelmed because your parents told you it was selfish to put yourself first sometimes.
Not all the time, obviously. But we all need to discover that balance.
In my view, your needs are as important as the needs of others.
What are you going to say ‘no’ to today/tomorrow?
And ditch the guilt where it belongs…. in the ditch.