Necessary Guilt: Choosing Yourself

Making a choice for oneself doesn’t always only effect the person who makes it. But making a choice for oneself should be from a place of prioritizing yourself, not others feelings. You are not wrong for putting yourself first. You are not selfish for putting yourself first. You are providing for yourself the bare minimum. You are the sole person responsible for putting you first.

Putting yourself first means supporting yourself so you are able to do the best you can and can release yourself from the shame of doing it. You are worthy. You matter. Your physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing are all important parts of your overall health. This helps you maintain your wellness. We are less able to handle stress that comes our way when we are depleted by physical or emotional exhaustion. We are more about to be resilient and handle life stressors when we are feeding ourselves physically and emotionally. You deserve to be well cared for. I think a good rule of thumb is if you would do it for a child or wouldn’t do it for a child; then you should or shouldn’t do that thing for yourself. If a kid was hungry and their stomach hurt you wouldn’t ask them to wait 4 hours for food, you would give them something to hold them over. You deserve this same kind of tenderness from yourself.

It can be hard to quiet the inner voice which nags you to skip the me time to attend to other responsibilities. Self-care is what helps fill our tank. That me time helps one be a better parent, friend, partner, or coworker. Sometimes saying no to something else is saying yes to yourself. No is a full sentence. Saying no when you need to for yourself is a way in action that you can show yourself that you respect yourself. Teach people how to respect you by respecting yourself enough to say no when a no is needed. Honor your limits. We can often see this principle easily when thinking of others. If your friend was unable to help you with a task and said yes anyway, many people would say they would not want that for their friend. Why? Because you would want that friend to do what they need to do. The same principle applies to you too. If you are someone who has not exercised no’s in your relationship it will be uncomfortable at first. Some people in your life may be surprised by your no’s and it might take time to adjust to these new relationship dynamics. As you respect yourself and set limits your relationships will change. These relationships were functioning on a lack of respect for oneself because they were not actually based around your needs. You didn’t tell someone about them if you didn’t say no or never advocated for them. It is okay that these relationships change. Change in these dynamics is not necessarily a negative. If it is a change that helps you take care of you, then it is a necessary change to the relationship dynamic.

People that you care about love and care about you too. Take a minute and think about the relationships in your life that you treasure. Do those relationships look different when these loved ones are emotionally and physically well. When those people are maybe getting less sleep, feeling more stress, or lacking energy, the relationship often suffers. You know it when looking at others you love. The same logic applies to you. When you put yourself last or put so many others before yourself, you burn out. It is not possible to be fully present in those relationships. Your loved ones need you to focus on your own health and happiness, not just theirs.

Remind yourself with an affirmation. Say to yourself “It is okay to focus on my right now. I need this down time to be the best version of myself”. The words don’t have to be exact. But find a phrase that resonates with you. A phrase that reminds you of what you need to hear when you need to choose you. To remind you to buy the concert ticket, take the walk, call the friend, or whatever other self-care activities fill your cup up. We start to believe something after 400 times of hearing it.

Do it guilty. Do it uncomfortable. Do it scared. You owe it to yourself to try. It is okay if it’s cumbersome or hard at first. You will be okay. Future you will thank you for it. If you or someone you love resonates with this blog, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed mental health counselors.




Arielle Teets