In The Purpose Fairy’s January blog, writer Paisley Hansen explains why it’s important to focus on yourself before you can focus on others.
You’ll always have “you” to fall back on if you’re able to. Even if your life goes along perfectly and your relationships are always intact, it’s always best to make sure you’re caring for yourself first. Even a stressful day requires some serious self-love.
Below, reprinted with permission, are her seven ways to turn yourself into your No. 1 priority, and why you need to do it.
1. Try your best to live in the present
Living in the present means that you can make the most of everything that’s going on in your life right now, such as your family, friends, health and work. You’ll feel healthier, be more productive and enjoy more peace of mind if you can focus on and engage in the moment.
It’ll also make it easier to deal with setbacks and to forgive yourself – for example, if you’re living in the moment and enjoying every second of your day, it’s easier to understand why you didn’t have time to go to the gym. You can forgive yourself and move on
2. Seek out a role model
While you being your No. 1 priority seems like it would be a solo venture, it doesn’t always have to be you and you alone. Getting a role model or mentor is really more for your benefit than anyone else’s, and it gives you an even bigger way to focus on yourself. Having a role model can expand your mind and make you see things from a completely new perspective. You’ll be inspired without having to maintain a complex friendship with somebody new.
3. Decide what your boundaries are
Knowing yourself means that you’ll determine what your boundaries are and what your deal-breakers will be. This will make it a lot easier to determine who you should and should not let into your life.
This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships, either. Defining the types of friendships or work relationships you want is also a good idea, and you’ll want to know your boundaries in each of these types of relationships.
4. Figure out what you want from a relationship
Knowing what you want from a partner before you find one is a great way to end up in a relationship that is truly right for you. The beginning of a new relationship is super-exciting, but it’s very easy to forget about what’s most important: you. Figuring out your goals ahead of time will make it easier to focus on your health and happiness, even once you’re with an amazing significant other
5. Limit the self-criticism
it’s a good idea to limit how hard you are on yourself. The point is to figure out your weak points and improve on them without putting yourself down. Know that any changes you make are going to take time, and that failing at certain moments does not make you a failure overall.
6. Find a way to stoke your spiritual side
Most people feel better when they’re able to indulge their spiritual or religious side from time to time. This can mean a lot of things, and the type of spirituality you choose will be based on your preferences, needs, and beliefs. You may commit to a daily yoga or meditation practice, or journal your innermost thoughts.
7. Make your health a priority
You don’t have to want to be a bodybuilder (although some strength training is important), but it is a good idea to put some time into figuring out your health or fitness issues. Start slowly. Sometimes, making smaller changes is easier and more sustainable than big lifestyle overhauls. Be open to the evolution of it, too. Sometimes, one good change leads to another, and you could end up with different goals than you ever thought you would.
The best way to go about your life and your relationships is to feel like a whole, fulfilled and well-rounded person first. Only then can you truly dedicate yourself to another person, whether it’s only for hours or days at a time, like with friendship, or every single day for the rest of your life, like with a marriage.
Also, remember that putting yourself first is a lifelong process. You may have to re-prioritize this many times during your life as things start to feel off-balance.