Posted by: Judy | November 14, 2017

Self Care 10 of 25

I want to take the same care going through these as the last group of statements, focusing on solutions. I’m not good at self care, but I am learning.

Original link:

10. Putting myself first.

My response: 

I grew up knowing that putting yourself first was selfish. The teaching was re-enforced from several directions. Everyone else was more important.

If I dared put myself first, I was shamed into rearranging my priorities. Adding to the head games was being treated special. It took me a long time to figure out it wasn’t a good thing. Special treatment was a way to reel me in close so I’d be an easier target, let my guard down, soften me up, or it was used because the other person wanted something they thought I could give. I was supposed to be grateful for the compliment that hooked me. My third counselor described it as being chum for sharks. You weren’t always eaten, but there was never a way to know if I’d escape or be caught. Even if I escaped, I knew I wouldn’t next time. Trying to put myself first only made it worse. The game played more often to ensure I wasn’t too full of myself.

It took a long time and a lot of practice to learn the difference between being selfish and putting yourself first. Yes, there’s a difference.

Being selfish is putting your needs above everyone else regardless of the cost.

Putting yourself first is recognizing the needs of others and helping as able while ensuring yours are also met.

In more practical terms using dinner as an example:

Selfish is serving yourself as much as you want, sometimes going back for seconds and thirds, regardless of who hasn’t eaten yet. Isn’t enough for everyone else? Too bad. They should have arrived sooner. Pity someone else went hungry. I feel bad for them, but I’m still going to make sure I have as much as I want.

Putting yourself first is making sure you don’t go hungry, which doesn’t mean eating as much as you want. In fact, you recognize the need to take care of yourself and going back for thirds isn’t a good idea anyway, unless you’re burning the calories. In which case, you bring something extra for yourself so you don’t feel like you’re starving because you made sure everyone had something. In fact, bring something to share.

Perspective changes everything.


  1. […] Judy’s, my sister, perspective: […]

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