It’s perfectly normal to want to do things for the people you care about. When you love someone, putting their needs before your own is not that hard of a task. This can become detrimental to your own health and happiness, however, if it is taken too far.
If you are always doing what’s best for others and never putting yourself first, you can fall into the mindset of “my wants and needs don’t matter as much as other people’s” which then can lead to you feeling like you don’t matter as much as other people. This makes you vulnerable to people who are apt to take advantage of you, such as a narcissist.
It’s up to you to change the game.
If you notice that the other person always puts themselves first over you, despite everything you do for them, you need to make a change. If you notice that your own mental and physical health is suffering from constantly putting yourself on the backburner, you need to make a change.
When you do make that change, however, be prepared and aware of the reactions of those around you.
When you start putting yourself first, it may surprise people.
Though you have been having internal dialogue about your need to start doing what’s best for you, for those around you this will be a brand new concept. It will take some time for your kids, partner, friends, coworkers, and other people in your life to adjust. They are used to you always saying yes to them, dropping what you’re doing to be there for them. Give them time, and explain to them how you have been feeling and why you need to take this time for you.
Most people will be understanding. For those who love you, they will probably feel badly learning you’ve been feeling this way for quite a while.
Pay attention, however, to those who get upset, or even angry. Your decision to start taking steps to take care of yourself, too, will highlight the people in your life that perhaps shouldn’t be there. The ones who don’t actually care about your wellbeing at all, and just wanted you around because you did things for them.
Stand your ground and stay strong. Don’t let these people guilt you into sliding back into your old ways. It is not selfish of you to take care of yourself first sometimes. Those who truly love and appreciate you will begin returning the favour you’ve been giving them for years. The ones who try to bully you or make you feel badly about your decision should become a permanent part of your past.
You and your needs matter.
Remember this: You can’t fill up someone else’s cup if yours is empty. In order to take proper care of the ones you love, you must be whole yourself. When you start making your needs known, your loved ones will respond with love. They will learn to take care of you just as you take care of them. Your relationships will become more balanced, and therefore so will you.