Why you should start putting yourself first


Kevin Mangelschots

We live in a time and age where society often deems it egoistical and selfish to put our own needs and desires before those of others. Prioritizing other people’s demands is seen as a positive and even desirable personality trait.

Yet, I’m advocating that we should typically place our wants first, and other folks’ wishes second to satisfy our wants and to prevent ourselves from becoming dissatisfied with our existence.

Otherwise, we’ll become angry, jealous, and even vengeful. Needless to say, that’ll help nobody either.

That’s why you should start putting yourself first more frequently.

Upset black woman on bed in house.

Everyone is different

Firstly, every person is unique. So this means that everyone has their desires and needs that they wish to see fulfilled.

If we don’t satisfy our individual needs, and chase after our own goals and dreams, then we will sooner rather than later turn angry, jealous, and worst of all, resentful of the world and other people.

That’s because other people have what we secretly wish to attain as well. And seeing that they’ve accomplished what we don’t is like a slap in our face. I noticed that when I started putting myself first, I became more fulfilled, and as a result, happier.

There’s no way that you can help other people effectively and continue to put their wishes before your own when you have all these negative emotions bottled up inside you. Even if you do somehow manage to prioritize other people’s desires while simultaneously neglecting your own needs, you won’t be able to maintain this kind of behavior for long.

That’s because it’s only a matter of time before you become displeased. After all, you aren’t fulfilling what’s essential for your happiness.

To accomplish your dreams

The quote, “If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs” written in white letters on a black background. By Tony Gaskins.

Instead, I advise people to by and large prioritize their conditions before those of others. Chase your dreams, set goals, and aim high. Do more of whatever makes you happy. It’s your life, and you are in control. You’re even obliged to make something out of it for the sake of your loved ones, and all those who believe in you.

Chasing your dreams and goals is not selfish. There’s no possible way you can make everyone out there happy and satisfy everyone’s requisites. That’s an illusion.

You are in control of your own life

What you need to realize is that you are in control of your own life. You need to take ownership and start living for yourself. It’s the only way you can live a fulfilling existence.

Too many people depend on and rely on others to make them happy. I think people should learn to enjoy their own company and to be content with the person they are. To be confident in your skin, so to speak.

Ultimately, you should be your own best friend since you’re always stuck with yourself, which means you can, and should always be able to rely on yourself.

Image of a SWOT matrix.

The world would be better off with people chasing their own interests and individual goals since this would lead to each person developing their unique strengths and gifts.

Let’s say that you end up becoming a brilliant scientist. You might find new cures or aid in developing better medicines. This means other people who require this kind of medication can profit from your scientific gifts and contributions you made as well. Seeing as you are directly improving the healthcare, well-being, and overall quality of life of others too.

You can only truly help others when you’re content with your existence

When you have a sense of accomplishment and contentment because your desires are met, you become confident in yourself and with who you are.

In return, you can truly start helping others and giving something back to society. That’s because it’s tough, if not impossible, to constantly aid those around us when we’re discontent with our own lives.

Why putting yourself first is not selfish

I argue that putting yourself first is not always selfish. Even more so, I think it’s the smart, and rational thing to do most of the time. Let me explain why you should prioritize your happiness more often.

Possible counterarguments against prioritizing your own needs would be that it’s egotistical and selfish. Some people argue that each life is equally valuable and as such, other people matter just as much as you do. So, “Who are you to put yourself before others?”

We can argue about the fact that each life is equally valuable for example people who commit hideous crimes such as rape and murder compared to people who are kind and caring.

Everyone is unique

Yet, the reality is that each individual is different with their own goals and dreams in mind. And sometimes you have to put yourself first to reach those ends.

We should know ourselves best since everyone is unique, and we’re in charge of our existence. This means that it’s up to us to satisfy our desires and to attain what brings us contentment.

Putting yourself first means you value yourself

The quote, “make sure you don't start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don't value you. Know your worth even if they don't” written in black letters on a brown background.

Putting yourself first and looking after your demands is not the same as being selfish.

It’s not because you decide to prioritize your happiness before the needs of others that you can’t or don’t help other people at all to satisfy their wishes.

It simply means that you value and respect yourself enough as a person and that you have the necessary wisdom to chase after your dreams. To live your life on your terms.

You’re obliged to look after your wellbeing

You are obliged to look after yourself and to treat yourself as someone who matters.

And if you want an example of what happens when you don’t look after yourself, then consider the following. How many disgruntled people do you see helping other folks successfully? I’m willing to bet not many. And those who do generally don’t last long. It’s hard mustering up the courage and patience to assist those around us when you’re feeling angry, sad, or resentful.

Everyone has a varying sense of altruism

People helping a homeless man who's carrying a “help me” sign.

There’s a sense of altruism in any healthy human being. Although to varying degrees.

I guess we have this sense of altruism because to survive, we have to depend on each other for protection and assistance. That’s why we’re designed to exist and work cooperatively with each other.

More so in ancient times than in our current modern society. We often have to sacrifice a part of ourselves and our desires for the sake of the group. To keep the group together, peaceful, and running smoothly.

It might be that we humans have gotten so used to putting the needs of our group before our necessities because of survival purposes.

Maybe we still unconsciously see putting our own needs before the wishes of the group or other people as selfish and egoistical because it’s a remnant of our ancestors’ genes.

That’s because the tribe was so vital for survival, and putting your importance before that of the group could be an endangerment to our survival.

It has become vilified by society

Image of a red computer keyboard button saying, “What are they saying about you?”

Another potential reason might be that prioritizing your demands from time to time has been so denigrated by our society. That’s why a lot of people see it as an evil, or negative thing to do. Putting yourself first has a negative connotation in most societies at the very least. In reality, though, it’s the opposite.

Because a society is made up of individuals. That’s why society is only as strong as its members are.

Social justice warriors among others have also been feeding other people this propaganda of needing to be altruistic all the time. Wanting equality of outcome, putting other people’s needs first, and not being selfish.

I’m all for equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome is not something we should strive for, and is not even a positive thing for ourselves or society, should it somehow work. It won’t though, because people differ in abilities, strengths, and also weaknesses.

In reality, the kind of people who are imposing this propaganda upon others are often the exact opposite of the personalities they are trying to portray. They only impose these rules and values upon others because they serve their purpose. Their political agenda. Because they get something out of it in the form of rewards. Be it power, or money.

How to put yourself first without feeling guilty?

  1. Understand the importance of self-care

    The quote, “taking time for yourself is not selfish! It's a necessity.”

    Self-care is critical for your physical and mental well-being. If you do not, then you’ll become dissatisfied with your existence which means you won’t be able to help others either.

    Take some downtime to relax, and make sure to exercise and practice good sleep hygiene to remain in tip-top shape.

  2. Focus on yourself

    Focus on yourself first, because you’re responsible for your own life. You shouldn’t feel bad about doing that because that’s what everyone else is doing as well.

    Just because you prioritize your own life doesn’t mean you can’t help others as well. Always make sure to give something back to those around you, especially to the people who love you.

  3. Figure out how to take care of yourself

    Illustration showing the multiple aspects of self-care.

    You can’t take proper care of yourself when you never actually figure out how to do so.

    Everyone has different desires that they need to see fulfilled to be content. That’s why you need to decipher what’s vital for your happiness and well-being.

  4. Daily check-ins

    Check in with yourself to analyze how you’re doing, and what you need to change in the present and future to guarantee your wishes are being met.

    It’s good to be introspective since it’ll lead to a better understanding of yourself, and what you require to live contently.

  5. Figure out what makes you happy

    Image of a cat with a smile and teeth painted on a piece of paper in front of the cat's face.

    You can figure out what makes you happy by studying your feelings, and what makes you feel good.

    This way, you’ll know what path to pursue to achieve your goals.

  6. Set boundaries

    Set healthy boundaries, particularly with people who tend to push without any regard whatsoever for others.

    In those instances, you need to let them know what line not to cross, and what the consequences will be if they do.

  7. Consider therapy

    Picture of cognitive behavioral therapy and it's aspects explained.

    Considering therapy is not a shame because we all need assistance from time to time.

    They can provide an objective perspective from the outside since they’re not personally involved and aren’t familiar with our situation. This makes it easier for them to remain nonsubjective, and to give a rational take regarding the circumstances.

  8. Analyze triggering situations

    Figuring out what situations trigger these feelings of guilt when prioritizing your own needs can help you prevent these events from occurring by avoiding them entirely, or fixing the mental block at play.

  9. Try relaxing activities

    Image of a fit woman holding a yoga pose at the beach.

    Attempt to pursue activities that help reduce stress such as working out, meditating, or practicing deep breathing exercises.

    A calm mind is oftentimes a healthy mind. And we can’t properly think or function when we’re tense. That’s why we need to make it a point to take our mind off the more nerve-racking things in life from time to time.

  10. Write down your feelings

    Writing down your feelings can make you feel better since you’re writing off the negative, pent-up emotions that you’ve been keeping inside for so long.

    While this doesn’t solve the concern, it can assist by making you feel better, and remaining more objective in addition to rational since you’re less tense.

  11. Do what’s best for your mental health

    Illustration of a brain with arms and legs lifting weights while smiling, indicating that working out makes the brain feel, and work better.

    You should do what’s best for your mental health because it’s no good for anyone, nor yourself if you’re feeling atrocious, and can’t function in good order.

    That’s why you need to put your own needs on the forefront and make sure they’re satisfied if you want to prevent becoming disgruntled yourself.

  12. Maintain balance

    You should strive to live a balanced existence, which means making sure your wishes are fulfilled, while also aiding others in need. I say that this is a good equilibrium that helps both parties at play.

    That means that you can’t be too selfish and only consider yourself while disregarding others. On the flip side, you can’t remove yourself from the equation either, while only taking the feelings of others into account.

  13. Learn to say no

    Picture of a horse saying, “No sir, I don't like it.”

    You can’t make sure your demands are met when you can’t say no to others. We’re all unique, which means we’re likely to think differently.

    Saying no is thus necessary to protect ourselves against others, to prevent us from getting overwhelmed, and to be capable of prioritizing our wishes.

  14. Expect less from others

    Expecting less from others can aid you to finally see the need to put yourself first, and to make you feel less guilty about it.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t good people out there who want the best for us, and that helps us to achieve our goals. Yet, it isn’t the norm since everyone is primarily looking out for themselves. You should do the same while continuing to help others on the side.

  15. Prioritize your wellbeing

    Image describing how mind, body, spirit, and soul all influence each other.

    You should always do what’s best for your wellbeing. You’ve only got one body, so you’d best take care of it.

    Eat healthy, exercise, sleep well, and try to reduce mental tension as much as possible to stay fit.

  16. Invest in yourself

    Invest in yourself. Not only in your physical and mental wellbeing, but also in improving your abilities, and your capacity to be content.

    You’re someone that matters, and as such, you should treat yourself with dignity. Try to walk the path of continual self-improvement. This shouldn’t stop until the day that we cease to exist.

  17. It’s no shame to ask for help

    Asking for help is no shame. No matter if it’s professional help from a health care professional or someone dear to us such as our family or our best friends.

    In the end, we’re only human. And that means that we’re not indestructible, infallible, or prone to making our own mistakes in addition to falling prey to our insecurities.

    This means that it comes as no surprise that we all need assistance from time to time. No matter how smart, strong, and capable we might be.

What happens when you put yourself first?

The quote, “having my priorities in order has really helped me look better, fresher, and more relaxed.” By Kim Cattrall.
What usually happens when you put yourself first is that you become more in tune with your feelings and needs because you satisfy your demands and wants by prioritizing your wishes.
You’ll also realize that prioritizing yourself isn’t the same as being selfish because you’re not hurting anyone else by putting yourself first, nor does it mean that you can’t help others either.
Everyone is in charge of their existence, which means that you’re responsible for attaining your goals to become content with your life.

What does putting yourself first mean?

Putting yourself first means you’re making sure your needs and wants are being met by satisfying your demands.
This conveys that you prioritize your own physical and mental well-being. In return, it’ll allow you to assist others more effectively than you could if you were dissatisfied with your existence.

Final note

Lessons Learned statement on paper note pad. Office desk with electronic devices and computer, wood table from above, concept image for blog title or header image. Aged vintage color look.

While I understand that it might seem selfish to some people to prioritize your own needs before those of others, it’s also what allows you to help those around you in the world. When your demands are met, you’ll look forward to helping other people.

I noticed that when I started putting myself first, my life started improving drastically. I became happier and more fulfilled in the process. If you do not rate your own wants highly enough, then you’re at risk of spreading yourself too thin.

That’s why you should chase after your own goals and dreams to put you into a stable mental state that ends up making you feel content, which will last your whole life. If you never took the time to figure out and pursue your own needs, then you’re going to become dissatisfied sooner rather than later.