“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
One of the biggest myths we feed into is that setting ourselves as a number one priority is selfish and unkind. Truth is, it is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and for others. Our loved ones gain when we are in a good space and when we have all our energy at any given moment. People benefit when we are whole and life opens when we are thriving. Yet, we’re so conditioned to believe that things will fall apart and it is not ethical to put the person who lives inside your heart, body, and mind first.
I remember before I met my husband, I started to pull back from some toxic relationships in my life. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of; let myself be taken for granted. They demanded so much but gave so little. My time, my finances, my heartfelt, “I will stretch until I break, as long as you don’t have discomfort.”
When my health shifted and I started giving a little more love to me. Not only did it feel amazing, but I had to have this love within me before I could give it freely to someone else. My new found happiness was poorly wished upon. And instead of attempting to fix those relationships, I stood my ground with “I am loveable and worthy” mantras. I focused on the blossoming relationships and let go of the suffocating.
Making yourself a priority enables you to be a better person, not just for yourself, but for the relationships your forge along the way. The choices we make from a more loving space are far more beneficial than the ones we make from a place of guilt, lack and overextending.
Below are seven ways to start to value yourself and make yourself an important person in your life. Rememeber, everything starts with you.
1. Stop comparing yourself
Comparing ourselves to others is a losing battle. Not only do we look for things we lack, but we find ourselves in the feeling of lack. Unless you have been in their shoes, view life the way they do and gone through their experiences, you are comparing yourself to information that can in no way be accurate. Comparing takes the focus off you and onto that person, yet your power lies in things you can affect in your life. You are a unique being and there is nobody in the world like you.
Start to shift your focus on things that are going right in your life and pay attention to the person looking back in the mirror. He or she has their own unique attributes. Let go of the inner perfectionist and start to appreciate your smile, your talents, what you have to offer. Starting to see your value is the fastest way to shift focus to the right place.
2. Don’t settle
Some people stay in jobs they don’t like just because of the salary. Others settle in relationships that no longer cause their hearts to race. Some of us stay with friends who deplete us because we long for any kind of company. Whatever your settle, it’s not worth the cost. You deserve peace of mind and to be outrageously happy.
If you are constantly saying to yourself, “There has to be something better than this”, you are probably settling. Don’t settle for less. Seek out to find your best.
3. Start appreciating
Appreciate the bed you sleep in. Appreciate your significant other. Appreciate the clothes you have on your back, your car, your food. But mostly, don’t forget to appreciate what you bring into the world. Start to see the joy you bring to others. Give thought to the impact of that joy and its ripple effects. Just because you are not aware, does not mean it has not extended itself further than you can imagine.
The more you appreciate, the more good will flow into your life.
4. Foster healthy relationships
Let go of or at least distance yourself from anything that causes you to feel less than good. Find yourself in the presence of people who bring something significant into your life. Make it a point to have at least two people who feed your spirit, encourage your dreams and accept you for who you are. No alterations. Cultivating strong, nurturing bonds encourages us to remember we are not alone and keeps our hearts open.
5. Learn to say No
While we are here to help one another there will be times we’re tempted to do things at the expense of our own well-being. Sometimes when we give more than we can we don’t allow the other person to learn from or have their own experiences. Continually doing things out of insincere obligation can lead to resentment. Instead, honor yourself by doing what feels right for you.
‘No’ can be liberating, because when we say no to others we are saying “yes” to ourselves and we’re in alignment with our values. Allow yourself to say no once in a while. This practice will improve your self-esteem and create a space for people to value and respect you more.
6. Set healthy boundaries
Having clear boundaries is vital to establishing that relationships are mutually respectful. Believe it or not, but putting “up” boundaries actually creates freedom because when our wishes are clearly defined, there is no need to put up walls. Boundaries reflect our self-esteem and our values. A healthy self-respect will teach others how to treat you.
And when the occasional person attempts to push against your lines, simply keep your feet placed firmly on the ground.
7. Follow your heart
We all have something that makes us come alive and gives our lives meaning. Don’t forget to listen to the part of you that drives your bliss, and be aware of your idol wants and those little things that distract you. Focus on your purpose because dreams never really go away. They simply get postponed.
Our passions can be as little or big as they are, and we can have one or a multitude of them. Listen to the things that are ticking at your heart’s door and find a way to do one thing at a time if you can. You can encourage yourself to do it all and to find a way for life to support you while you do.
Everything in our lives starts with us and ripples into our relationships. So it only makes sense to give yourself as much love, nurturing and joy that you would look for in others, or that others would seek in you. By living the best life we can we inject these ripples to go out with love, beauty, and kindness.