In spite of what we're taught, there are times to put yourself first without feeling guilty. Sometimes it is important to put yourself first. People may criticize you for this, but focusing on your own needs can actually be a good thing. Here are some of the times to put yourself first and when it's okay to be selfish …
One of the times when it's okay to be selfish is if you're being treated unfairly. Are you expected to do all the chores around the house, even though you are just as busy as everyone else? Put your foot down and refuse to be anyone's dogsbody. Go on strike if need be. Insist that everyone else in the house does their fair share of the work they help to create.
Do people try to stomp on your dream? Don't let them. Whatever your goals are, if they're realistic and achievable, and they mean a lot to you, then you should go for it. People might discourage you because they realize that you'll have less time for them, it'll mean less money for the family, or because they think that you should be what they want you to be. But you have to make yourself happy.
Sometimes people will accuse you of being selfish because you're not conforming to their expectations. But we will never be happy if we are not true to ourselves. Everyone has their own ideas and beliefs and has the right to have them. If anything, people who put down your beliefs are the selfish ones, not you.
Women are often expected to fulfill the caring role in the family, whether it's taking responsibility for childcare or for elderly relatives. On top of that, they're expected to do a number of other things, often while working full-time. If people are asking too much of you, then it's ok to be 'selfish' and refuse to assume so many responsibilities.
Looking after yourself should be your priority. How can you be any good to other people if you're not looking after yourself? So if you find that your own welfare is the last thing on your mind, stop and take stock. It's important to have time for yourself, to balance out work and other responsibilities.
If you've been taking on far too much lately then you absolutely need to stop being a doormat or overenthusiastic. You'll burn out before too long. Find time for regular exercise and relaxation, so that you are better equipped to cope with life. And learn to say no to people when they ask you to do things you don't have the time or inclination to do. Being a doormat means you get trodden on.
Get your priorities in the right order. You may have work or study obligations, and small children won't take care of themselves. But there are probably things in your life that aren't as important and can be put aside. Do you really need to wash your husband's team's sports kit, or spend every Sunday with relatives you don't like? Do what matters to you.
Being selfish comes with a caveat. You shouldn't take advantage of others or cause them harm. But sometimes putting yourself first is exactly the right thing to do and you'll be a happier person for it. Have you ever been accused of being selfish and why?
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