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The Top of the List

We recently talked about how important it is to celebrate yourself. I hope you have found a partner you can practice bragging with. The more you get comfortable celebrating yourself, the more you amplify your life. We do all kinds of things every day, big and small, that are brag worthy. If we don’t stop to acknowledge ourselves for it, life just goes right on by like it never happened. When you choose to celebrate it instead, you are affirming yourself and your life. Can you see how that action can turn your life on in the best possible way? It’s like offering yourself accolades everyday instead of falling into that same old pattern of beating yourself up, which gets you nowhere. It’s extra powerful to have a witness cheering you on, which is something I like to do with my clients, but you can also do it with a bragging buddy.

To continue this conversation, I want to talk about the importance of putting yourself first above everyone and everything else in your life. Yes, that’s right, even your children. There is a reason why the flight attendant will remind you on every flight, that you must place the oxygen mask on yourself before you try to help a child or anyone else. If you are running on empty and trying to help others, you are going to die. Then what use are you to your child? I love this as a metaphor applied to self-care because if you are busy taking care of everyone else and not tending to your own needs, you will be running on a low tank and most likely exhausted and grumpy, maybe even resentful by the end of your day.

What I want for you is to feel energized and even turned on by the end of your day. That’s right, turned on. Now if you have been working full time and raising kids, you may think there is no way. Trust me, there is a way for you to feel energized instead of drained at the end of a long day and that starts by placing your needs at the top of the list, throughout your day.

Now, as women, we are taught from a young age to put our own needs last. If you are a woman, I think you know what I am talking about. The messaging most of us received was that by placing our own needs first, we were being selfish. You even see it in the media, selling self-care using terminology like “guilty pleasure” as if doing nice things for yourself, that make you feel good, is something to feel guilty about. I worked in the healing field for almost two decades and I cannot tell you how many times clients would come in saying they were “sneaking in some self-care, don’t tell my husband,” or only come in on their birthday when it was clear they needed it on a regular basis. I could go off on a tangent here, but I am going to reign it back in.

Self care is nothing to feel guilty about. It’s a must! In fact, it’s something to celebrate. I promise that you are making a much bigger difference in the world when you choose to take care of yourself before you extend yourself.

During a hypnotherapy session with one of my clients last week, she was able to clearly see the truth of how important it is to put her own needs first. As women, we play all of these roles: the professional, the friend, the mother, the wife, the daughter, the volunteer, the list goes on… It is easy to find that you are giving yourself in every direction and feeling completely depleted at the end of the day; too tired, in fact, to even nourish yourself. What my client was able to see was that if she isn’t placing herself at the top of her own priority list for nourishment, then she is cutting herself off from her source of power.

Think of it like this: When you are at the top of your priority list, you are constantly nourishing yourself at every turn, so your tank is constantly being filled. With a full tank, you are able to be more available to share the gift of you with the world (and you ARE a gift). For instance, if you decide to attend a party, even though you are exhausted and really don’t want to go, it actually would have been much better for everyone had you stayed home. Pretending to be enjoying yourself is like lying and it’s not fun for anyone, not you or anyone you are interacting with.

Self-care is choosing to take care of yourself before you take care of others. In the end, if you choose yourself first, you will find you are able to give so much more because you are giving on a full tank instead of an empty one.

Making the shift to tending to your own needs first is awkward in the beginning, but in the end, everyone wins. You may find that you lose some friendships, but perhaps those friendships weren’t so good for you in the first place.

Actress and coach, Natalie Roy, posted on her page recently: “other people’s expectations are not your commitments you made.” When someone else has expectations of you, that’s their commandment they put on you. It’s not yours until you make it yours.

Since I started putting my own needs first, I have attracted so many friends who value me and honor my decision to put my own needs first because they do the same for themselves. I no longer have close friendships that ask me to set my needs and desires aside while I tend to theirs.

Also, I don’t know about you, but guilt has been a manipulative tool that has been used in my family, probably for generations. It’s unconscious at this point. Freeing myself from this negative cycle has been a journey. The truth is that the more I stand for myself, the more others stand for me too and it feels so nourishing and good! I want that for you, but you have to make the first move, and that move is to put yourself at the top of the list.

Here is one easy step you can take to ensure you are putting your needs first:

Before you agree to putting anything else on your plate, make sure your cup is full first.

For instance, if someone asks you to do something, whether it’s a task or an invitation to an event, check in to see if you even have the desire or the bandwidth to say yes. While you are practicing this, it’s a good idea to pause before you give an answer so you can really check in with yourself. You know, overall, men tend to be much better about setting boundaries with their time and energy than women so it doesn’t tend to come natural for most of us to check in.

If you don’t yet have a consistent morning practice where you are making space for yourself before going out into the world, consider setting aside some time before you start your day. That might mean you have to wake up earlier than usual or make some quiet time after getting the kids off to school. It will make all the difference. Keep in mind, when you put yourself first, all of the universe conspires to help you make that happen.

And if you don’t even know where to start, I invite you to sign up with me for a free 30-minute clarity call where we can find out if coaching would be a positive step forward for you. Just visit my website, thelifecoachingspot.com. Worst case, you and I will have 30 minutes together focused on you! Talk about putting yourself first!

Blessed be