Focusing on our own needs can be hard. Learning to put ourselves first before friends and family can sometimes feel selfish or unnatural. But the truth is, we have to meet our own needs and replenish our own resources in order to be able to give freely to others without feeling depleted. If we don’t look after ourselves first, we run the risk of not being able to keep up with the demands that life makes on us. This can then cause us to feel submerged, triggering a whole host of physical and emotional responses, including stress, fatigue, anxiety and resentment. As a result, we may even end up developing hostile feelings for those we love, simply because we have failed to recognise that we too have needs that warrant our full attention. This kind of situation, whereby we neglect our needs in order to fulfil the requests of others, can lead us to feel overstretched. It disrupts our inner balance and has a very damaging effect on our wellbeing.
In order to lead a happy, healthy and emotionally balanced life, it is important to remember that it’s okay to say “no” once in a while – as often as you need to in fact. Even to those closest to you, it’s important to acknowledge if something is not conducive to your wellbeing. The first time is the hardest, but the more you practise putting yourself first, the more able you will be to maintain your health and happiness, whilst continuing to support those around you. Self-preservation is the essence of a balanced, focused and happy life.