The revolutionary idea of women putting ourselves first
Updated: Jun 12, 2019
by Myrrhanda Novak
What would happen if women shifted their mindset to acknowledge the value of putting their needs first? Yes. First. What if we put our own needs before the needs of our spouse, friends, or even our children? What if, instead of being tired and emotionally fragile most of the time, we saw caring for ourselves as our highest calling? If you think that sounds selfish, think again.
This week’s guest on the WDDT podcast Gracy Obuchowicz, puts it this way: “what’s good for me is good for everybody.”
Gracy is a podcaster, author and self-care coach who shares with us how practicing meaningful self-care can truly help us transform our lives and the world around us.
In our conversation, she goes on to explain that creating boundaries and expecting others to support you in taking care of yourself is not selfish. Learning what you need to stay grounded is not selfish.
I love this message, because I think we often define selfishness all wrong. Caring for ourselves is actually a gift we give the world. We’re selfish (and almost certainly unhappy) when we stop caring for ourselves and expect other people to meet our needs.
Let’s pause here. I think this is life changing for some of us. Understanding this idea was critical to my mental health. So, again. We are not being unreasonable or self-absorbed when we find ways to take care of ourselves. Leaving a messy kitchen so you can go for a walk and process a mess in your mind – that’s the opposite of selfish. I become unreasonable, stressed, impatient and angry when I place the responsibility of filling my tank on my kids, my spouse or anyone other than my own self.
“I find there’s a lot of healing that happens, almost like a re-parenting process when we do start taking better care of ourselves and give ourselves what we need and we stop looking for other people to meet our needs,” explains Gracy. “It’s really painful, but it’s also super empowering to be like – you know what – I’m going to do this and I’m going to stand for myself and I’m going to take care of myself.”
Maybe, like me, the thought of telling someone that you put yourself first makes you uncomfortable. But we should feel encouraged knowing that we're in good company.
Michelle Obama is one example of a woman who clearly believes in public service, and has been quoted several times as saying that she puts herself first. When asked in a 2011 interview if that was selfish, she had a wonderful response: “No, no, it's practical. It's something that I found I needed to do for quite some time… a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we're so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others."
When you consider this along with the tremendous wisdom shared by our recent guests Alida Steele and Gracy, it suggests that women who put themselves first actually create more meaning in their lives and do more of what truly matters to them. Ultimately, they’re able to contribute more because they take the time to invest in themselves first.
I am still figuring this all out, but here are some highlights of lessons from my conversation with Gracy that are helping me right now.
· LET GO OF NEEDING OTHER PEOPLE’S APPROVAL
· CULTIVATE COMMUNITY
· VALUE SMALL STEPS
· BE KIND AND GENTLE WITH YOURSELF (AND OTHERS, TOO)
Let’s be real – not everyone in your life is going to roll out the red carpet when you decide to make self-care a greater priority. And even if they do, it will take time to develop new habits. So manage your expectations, be patient, and know that you’re worth it. What’s good for you is good for everybody.
Listen now to hear more on each of these points and share your thoughts in the JOIN THE CONVERSATION section at the bottum of our home page or right here on the blog. We love to include comments in the reflection show.