Life Totally Changes When You Do
By Motivational Keynote Speaker Connie Podesta
I recently made a Facebook post that went something like this: “So what’s REALLY stopping you? From going for your dreams? Taking that trip? Taking care of yourself? Living life to the fullest? I can tell you what it is not – it’s not someone else, something else, time or even money. We make happen what we make a priority. Isn’t it time you moved yourself up the list of things that are IMPORTANT?”
It was immediately followed by a volley of questions, messages, and emails from readers who wanted to know HOW. “How can I put myself first?” “Connie, isn’t that selfish?” “I’m not sure I could ever do that!” My response is this: First learn to be SELF-CARING. Which is quite different than selfish. Selfish is putting yourself first at the EXPENSE of others. Self-caring is putting yourself first because you love and respect others. You’ve heard it before–you have to love yourself first. But most of you aren’t buying it. At all! You’ve heard all the talk about being generous and selfless and caring and you understood that to mean that giving up your own self and your own needs is the most loving thing you can do. Wrong! Oh so wrong! No one benefits by you putting yourself last.
Let’s take the kids for example. They are watching us. Our every move. Listening to everything we say. Hearing every word. Witnessing every behavior. And they are learning from us moment by moment. Learning how to act and talk and feel. When we are selfless instead of self-caring they learn to take advantage. To feel entitled. To not stand up for what they believe. To give up, give in and give out to others rather than follow our own path to success and happiness. Our children need to be in the presence of adults who are confident. Smart. Respectful – of others AND themselves. You have to be happy first. Love yourself first. Be strong first. Be healthy first. When you do? The people you love can watch and listen and learn how to do those things for themselves.
Bottom line? We can’t make others happy. But we can make ourselves happy and allow our kids to grow up in the presence of joy and kindness and giving. That doesn’t mean we can’t give to others. Or compromise. And even put ourselves last–once in a while. Because those are also good lessons to learn. But YOU have to take care of YOU. No one respects a martyr. And that’s what most “selfless” people are. Ask yourself “is there a price to pay for you always putting yourself last? Are you angry and resentful inside? Are you keeping score and unhappy because no one does the same for you? Are you exhausted? Frustrated? Depressed? All of the above?” If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to take a good long look at yourself and how much (or how little) self-care you are putting in place. The truth is, if you don’t love and respect yourself first, then you cannot be the amazing parent, spouse, friend, family member, and employee or boss that others want and deserve you to be. The more loving you are to yourself the more you teach others to be loving. The more generous you are to yourself the more generous you teach others to be. And on and on. Teach the world how to love by learning how to love yourself. Self-caring is the beginning. Eat right. Love right. Set boundaries. Say no. Stop feeling guilty. Do your best. Stop negative self-talk. Focus on healthy relationships. Walk away from toxic people. Take care of yourself with love and genuine kindness and the world will be a better place. Because of you.
There’s no time like the present to START. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Visit my Facebook page or leave a comment right here! Now, take care!