I recently asked this question in a Facebook business group and the answers were interesting. Many people said, “Their children are the most important people in their lives, or Their partners. Others said the answer was ‘Themselves’.
If you had asked me this question some time ago I would have said, My son. Although my thoughts still immediately go to him, my answer today would be ME.
As a parent, especially when children are small, their needs tend to take priority. This is necessary for their survival. In our workplace, we may have demanding bosses and sometimes unrealistic deadlines need to be adhered to. However it doesn’t mean that your needs should not be met at the same time.
You may think that putting yourself first is selfish or inconsiderate. After all we were brought up to think of others and their needs. This meant that we would grow up unselfish and caring adults. However what happened to me and many others like me, was we totally forgot our own needs and prioritised everyone else first.
As a result, I kept giving until I had nothing left to give and became burnt out. I ended up tired and exhausted not knowing how to change this cycle without offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings by saying, ‘No’. I felt that I always had to be in control, or else nothing was done the way I thought it needed to be done.
Running a sole business certainly tests your Self Care. I would answer the phone at all hours of the day and night to attend to queries. I did not value myself in the prices I charged or in the hours I worked. Slowly I realised what I was doing and how it was affecting me and I now have strict boundaries around ME.
I learn’t to have boundaries around how others treat me and how I treat myself. If I am asked to help out I will say, ‘I’ll let you know’ and then give myself time to see if it suits me or my needs.
If I am tired I will have an early night and not stay up just to please my partner. When I am invited somewhere I will see how I feel before accepting. I have learned to give myself more space and more time out. I learned to value my time and have stronger boundaries around what is acceptable or not. I have learned to let go of the control and ask for help when I need it.
By giving myself more time and learning to ask for help, I have become happier, more relaxed and more valued. Most importantly, I learnt to value myself!
The more you value and respect yourself, the more others will do the same. The more we fill our own well, the more we will have available to fill the well of others. If we are depleted we have nothing to give, however if we care for ourselves and our own needs first, we can then be there for others in a caring and whole hearted way.
When my son was small, I placed his needs ahead of mine all the time. I realise now that this was not a great example to guide him by as he would grow up repeating my patterns. Luckily I have realised this and am able to advise him otherwise.
I am not asking you to choose between yourself and your family. I am discussing this to raise awareness about how much value we place on ourselves. Your family, your work and your friends are important but so are You! Remember that the more emphasis you place on your needs and self care, the more you will be available to help others.
So today if I am asked, Who is the Most Important Person in my Life, I can happily say, ME.
What about you?
Ps. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
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