How to Stop Putting Yourself Last



Jul. 21 2014, Published 8:13 p.m. ET

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Does helping others make you happy? When you don’t enjoy being front and center, hiding in the background and focusing on others can make you feel more comfortable. Some of us have the personality type which causes us to become the caretaker type.

Sometimes it’s easy to get swept away in helping others because you don’t like being the center of attention. On the flip side it’s great to have a friend who is the caring type; they are generally generous, loyal, trustworthy and willing to go the extra mile. In some cases it can be easy to run over a friend like this because they are always available and willing to help you out of a tight spot. Needless to say if this description is you, although being there for you friends makes you happy, in the long run you’ll find yourself constantly putting your last.

What’s the deal with putting yourself last? There’s nothing wrong with being there for your friends and taking care of others. The bigger issue is when you get too caught up in others’ lives you forget to take care of yourself. Caring for yourself is important because in the end if you don’t care of yourself how can you take care of others? Taking time for yourself is important not only for your personal happiness but also for your mental and emotional wellness. After all eating healthfully, sleeping well and stimulating your brain are all ways to help your body stay healthy. Make sure you aren’t constantly getting the short end of the stick by putting yourself last. Here are some tips to help you stop and take some time to focus on yourself.

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Just say no. Contrary to popular opinion you do not have to be all things to all people. When a request comes up that is particularly inconvenient or doesn’t bring you joy, just say no. Although it may be hard at first since people tend to bank on you consistently being the “yes man” start small. You don’t have to say no to everything, but you certainly don’t have to say yes to each request.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Even though you’re used to putting others needs before yours, realize that you do have some needs and it is okay to ask for help. Remember this quote: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Although going fast may be fun, in the long run going far is much better.

Take an hour of “me” time. During your busy day set aside time to focus just on yourself, whether it includes reading a book, painting pottery, enjoying a solitary shopping trip or hitting the gym. Spending time doing what you love is refreshing and helps you relax and de-stress.

Turn off technology. The constant stream of information is overwhelming and distracting. Take time to re-charge by turning off your device (yes, that includes the television), and enjoying some good tunes without the constant notifications.

At the end of the day there’s nothing wrong with taking care of others and being there for them. Just remember to stop putting yourself last. After all you’ll end up happier and more fulfilled though your life.

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