Is It Selfish to Put Yourself First?

by | 8 Sep 2014 | Happiness

I woke this morning knowing that at some point during the night, my subconscious had led me to a deep boggy pit of self pity and thrown me in.

I’m feeling grumpy and querulous with an undercurrent of deep rage, and in jumping in the pit I’ve left my sense of humour and perspective behind – not nice, either to be or to be around!

So I’ve made a choice to do something about it, because it’s not how I want to be and importantly my first step is to acknowledge and face into the emotions I’m feeling. These feelings and this state may not be nice, or helpful, but they are there for a reason.

I know in the past a mood like this would have also got me caught in a cycle of self-criticism: that somehow I’m a bad person for feeling this way and I ‘shouldn’t’ be like this, but these days I simply know that’s not true.

These feelings have surfaced as a crude indicator that there’s something I’d do well to pay attention to and when I stop and reflect, it’s not hard to know what it is – under it all, I just haven’t been looking after myself.

In the recent manic juggle between hospital visits (back and forth across the M62), the kids with back to school, keeping an income coming in etc etc, I’ve allowed seeing to myself and my needs to become ‘postponed’. The result?

Well today’s grumpiness, but also feeling generally unwell, the start of a cold and vague toothache!

And it’s not like I need a lot to keep me running well – decent food, plenty of water, the opportunity to move and stretch my body, some good deep breathing and just a little quiet reflective space and opportunity to take stock and plan my immediate priorities. Oh, and access to some nature and beauty and people I love.

I know it’s not selfish to put my own needs first, it can be selfish not too (as today’s foul mood demonstrates). It’s just like the oxygen mask on the plane: you have to put your own one on first before you help anyone else with theirs.

As I planned this post (in the bath) and started writing it, I’ve already felt myself begin to climb back out of the boggy pit onto more solid ground. I’m drinking lots of hot water and green tea, and shortly, despite the rain, I’m off into the garden for a bit of vigorous digging!

Then later I’ll have the capacity again to meet the needs of others, with humour and joy and gratitude 🙂


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