I don’t know about you, but most of us are brought up being taught that we should put others before ourselves. We’re told that it’s polite and respectful. Well yes, it is, but does it mean you should never put yourself first?
A parent will often put their child first by going without, so the child can benefit. This is natural, it makes common sense because a parent will do all they can to protect their child. If there’s not enough food to put on the table, most likely the child will get enough to eat while the parent will have less.
It often happens in relationships too. For example, if you’re cooking a meal for your partner and, let’s say it includes two pieces of steak. If one of the steaks was larger than the other, which one would you dish to your partner?
I’m guessing that in 99% of all cases the larger steak would go to your partner and the smaller one to yourself. If that’s not the case, then are you uncaring, self-centred or even just plain greedy? Maybe, but why should that be the case? Does it come from our parental protectionist instinct or just because it’s the way we were brought up to be?
Is it Wrong to Put Yourself First?
Do you think it’s wrong to put yourself first? Perhaps it’s a little unfair to ask such a generic question. I believe there are many instances where it’s right to put others first, but there’s a very good reason why you often shouldn’t.
Let me explain. If we go back to the scenario where a parent doesn’t have enough food for the whole family. The children end up with most of it because the parent believes that the children should be put first.
What happens if the parent becomes ill though lack of nutrition and then is unable to work at all in order to put food on the table? The suffering for the children would be worse in this situation rather than if the parent had ensured they took care of themself, so that the children would be continually cared for.
When flight attendants go through and demonstrate the emergency routine before a plane takes off, there’s a very important instruction. They always say that if the cabin loses pressure, you should put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping your children or others, put theirs on.
You see, putting yourself first isn’t a bad thing because if you know you’re alright, then you’re in a position to help others. If you look after others before you look after yourself, at some point you may not be able to help at all. In fact, doctors are told if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to look after patients.
It’s Not Being Selfish
You should get it into your head that looking out for yourself first is not selfish at all. You could argue that it’s the complete opposite. If you want to help others or be of use to them, you must make sure you’re in good shape, otherwise you’ll be useless to them.
I’m not talking about scoffing all the biscuits before anyone else gets a look-in. Now that would be selfish and to be honest, despicable. Caring for yourself so you can care for others is a good thing, although others don’t always see it that way. That’s something you need to be aware of and ready to ignore.
A company I once worked for gave all its senior managers, of which I was one, private health insurance. It was a taxable perk, but a very good one to have. There was some bad feeling among lower level staff who, quite rightly, thought their health was as important as senior managers.
The company obviously needed all staff to be healthy for it to function properly but took the view that without senior management running it, all would suffer. You could probably say that those running the company put themselves first in order to protect the company and ultimately everyone employed in it.
Selfish or Selfless?
If you’ve been taught from an early age that you should always put others before yourself, it isn’t easy to change that belief. The Bible tells us we should treat others as we would have them treat us.
That’s a very good piece of advice, but if that’s really the case, it must surely follow that if we want others to put us before themselves, then we should do the same. Questioning the Bible might be very difficult for some people.
Helping others and sometimes sacrificing things to do so, can be a good thing. The world is full of good people who do exactly that and they are to be highly commended for it. Of course we should help our fellow man (or woman) if we can, even if means we end up missing out on something.
This is a very different scenario from making sure you’re ok before you make sure others are ok. Look for instances where this happens for the right reasons.
For example, the leader of a country is always surrounded by tight security. They are protected more than the citizens, because ultimately their job is to protect the people.
The challenge is to distinguish between the reason to put others first and the reason to put yourself first. If putting yourself first means you can then help or protect others, then it’s probably the right thing to do.
Seeing this difference can be the first step to changing how you think about it. What might appear to be selfishness can turn out to be selflessness.
Changing the Way You Think
Once you understand there can be good reasons for putting yourself first, you may need to work on reprogramming the way you think. By doing this, you’ll be giving instructions to your subconscious to accept it as a belief.
You see, although you may know it’s as fact, it will take more than that for your subconscious to accept it as a belief if it conflicts with beliefs already internalised. The key to changing these beliefs is through repetition of the type of exercises for the Law of Attraction.
By changing your thoughts and repeating them, your subconscious will come to accept them. Once you believe, really believe, that it’s alright to put yourself first, you’ll come to see that it couldn’t be further away from selfishness. In fact, you might say you’re doing the world a favour!
It’s right to help others because you are then vibrating at a level where others on the same frequency will want to help you too. That doesn’t mean you should put others before you, because if you want to be on this frequency, you should put yourself first. You’re then looking out for yourself to be able to look out for others and ultimately vibrate at a frequency that contributes to the positive vibration of the universe.