We All Struggle With Prioritizing Precious Time
So many of the notes I received from the first blog were expressions of gratitude, such as, "thanks for putting out there what was in my head, but I never said out loud" and "thanks for letting me know I am not alone and that everyone, even those who you might think have it totally together, struggles just like me."
Putting Yourself First Has To Be A Conscious Decision
The only way to do this is to consciously think about what we need and want for ourselves. Stop making the assumption that by putting ourselves and our needs first, we are doing something wrong. I found that by being more self-aware (which putting this in writing helped me to crystallize), I was able to make a conscious effort to consider what I needed, sometimes in the moment, sometimes for the day or for the week. Think about how you are going to do it.
Putting Yourself First Is Different For Everyone
There is no one correct answer. What works for me won't necessarily work for others, but recognizing the challenge and consciously deciding how to address it is something we all must do if we want to find balance in our lives.
What I'm not saying is to always choose your own desires. I find that often what I want and need aligns with others' wants and needs. For example, I love to cook but rarely have the time. I also love to see my husband happy. Sometimes I cook his favorite dishes. They are time consuming, but it's something I thoroughly enjoy doing, and it makes him happy. Win-win! The same is true for my daughter. Just last week, it was important to her to get to school early so she could be the first to pass her mixed times test. (She is a tad competitive.) I rearranged some morning meetings so I could help her do what was important to her. By doing so, I found it was just what I needed as well.
I've had some wins, but I still struggle to put myself first every day. Sometimes it's just not possible because of the many roles I play (wife, mother, leader, etc.), and I alone am responsible for doing them well. But by paying attention to my own needs and wants, I am slowly, but surely, inching my way to better balance. And by doing so, I know I am approaching my work, marriage and parenting roles with more energy and passion than when I constantly let everything come before me.
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