Love yourself first, no matter how it goes against everything you have been taught as a woman—a work in progress.
Think back, as far as you can and try to remember the very first time you comforted a friend who was crying. Perhaps you ran to a neighbor’s house to alert them their child was hurt. My guess is you were between three and five years old. The first time you thought about someone else’s needs before considering your own, you were “hooked.” And you continue to be. About now, you are realizing this is true. However, you’re curious to know — how did this happen?
The fact is you had an excellent role model. None better. A person you trusted with your life. You lovingly called this person, MOTHER. She never sat you down to explain why you should put everyone else’s needs before your own. She didn’t have to. She just did it. YOU were watching every move SHE made.
Think about her daily schedule every single day.
Up first, making breakfast for everyone else. Preparing lunches for everyone while they sat and enjoyed their breakfasts. Dress, and make herself “presentable” so she could walk you to the bus stop or drive you to school. No cup of coffee yet for mom. Returning home, dishes into the dishwasher - if she was one of the lucky ones who had a dishwasher. Else, roll up the sleeves. Maybe about now she thought about her own needs. Maybe about now she could sit and enjoy her own cup of coffee. But don’t get comfortable, mom! Beds have to be made, bathrooms and kitchens cleaned, dirty clothes, clean clothes to fold. And what’s for dinner?
You’re getting the picture.
Mondays, do the laundry. Your laundry. Why? Because she wanted to make sure you had clean clothes to move about the world in. Tuesday, dust, vacuum, iron laundry. Wednesday, your mom referred to as “maid’s day off.” Visit her mom and maybe the mother-in-law, too! (Don’t want her to feel neglected.) Just as long as she’s home to greet you when you get home from school. Make dinner, made sure you did your homework, help you as needed, supervise bath and bedtime, tuck you in, and give you a kiss goodnight, (after storytime and prayers, of course!). Your day ended while hers continued, tidying up, making ready for the next day.
Shall I continue?
The point is, everything was done, out of love, for someone else. Learning to love herself was no where in her psyche.
However, YOU have an option. Continue to be on the alert the needs of others. But, unlike mom, make this one small healthy adjustment. Make time to love yourself. It’s better for you and better for those you love. DO IT. Love yourself. Start today. Repeat as needed.