Are you always prioritizing everything else and putting yourself at the bottom of your to-do list?
Karen is a modern Wonder Woman. From when she opens her eyes until she closes them, she is running around making sure everything is taken care of.
In the morning, she makes breakfast for her family, takes her kids to school, runs errands and multiple projects at work, picks up the kids from school, takes them to their after-school programs, and finally returns home, exhausted, to make dinner, continue to do household errands, and then crumbles into bed to do it all over again the next day.
The problem is that Karen treats everyone and everything else as a priority, but leaves her own needs and wants at the bottom of her list.
Most of the time, she feels drained and exhausted, but she cannot stop tending to others because she feels guilty if she does. She feels like she is failing them: her family, friends, clients, and even the dog (and the cat).
What can you do if you are stuck in a cycle where you have become your last priority?
Ask yourself why
Try to identify the reason why you are at the bottom or your own list.
Is it because you fear losing the love and appreciation of your loved ones? Because you don’t want to fail or fail your loved ones? Because nobody else can do it better than you? Because you don’t want others to think poorly of you?, or because it makes you feel worthy and otherwise you wouldn’t be?
If you have any of these thoughts, question them! Are you completely sure that they are true?
For example, ask yourself:
Is it true (can I be certain) that if I take care of myself, my loved ones will stop loving me?…
Is it true that if I take care of myself, I will be a bad mom/wife/friend/daughter,manager, etc.?
Most likely you will find that what you are thinking that keeps you from taking care of yourself is not absolutely true.
For example, you are not a bad mother if you have coffee and a nice conversation with a friend before coming home to your kids to take care of their needs (in a better mood).
Understand your natural need to nurture
Also, keep in mind that it is natural for you to put others’ needs first.
This totally makes sense, because since you are a woman, you are biologically inclined to care for the needs of others. That is why women can be mothers: it is in our nature to nurture.
However, too much nurturing others to the point that you ignore yourself is dangerous for your well-being.
If you are not well, you are missing out on the opportunity to enjoy your life and be happy, which is the greatest service that you can do to others.
Think how much your family, friends, clients, co-workers, and even your pets would benefit if you were a happier and more vibrant person.
Wouldn’t you be more fun to be around? Wouldn’t you be more productive and creative? I bet you would even feel lighter and much better!
This is the reason why your happiness matters and why taking care of your own needs matters. If you take care of them, you’ll have a full cup that you can authentically share with others without feeling drained or unhappy.
How do you fill your own cup?
Make a list of your priorities, needs, and wants, and make sure that every day you take some time and action to honor at least one of them.
Get started today. Write down at least three things that you need to do for yourself and that would bring you joy and make you feel good. Pick one and do it!
You can start with simple things like taking a 15-minute break in the middle of the day, going for a short walk, reading a few pages of a book, eating lunch away from your desk (to fully enjoy the experience without distractions), or any other thing that brings you happiness and promotes your well-being.
Make yourself a priority on your list and you’ll see that by doing so, you’ll still be able to attend to your other items, but with a much improved perspective, energy, and approach.
Wonder Woman is super happy. You can be, too.
P.S. Are you always crazy busy and do you feel like something’s missing in your life? If so, you might benefit from a Life Redesign. Check it out here!