“Taking care of myself doesn’t mean ‘me first.’ It means ‘me, too.” ~L.R. Knost
Going through narcissistic abuse will really throw you for a loop when it comes to self-value. After all, when you’re going through a toxic relationship, or you’re raised by a narcissistic mother or father, you are taught that you don’t matter, that you have no value, that you’re not important.
But now, I hope you’re learning that it just isn’t true.
You ARE important. You DO matter. You ARE worthy.
And yes, you might think that putting yourself first is selfish. After all, have been groomed by someone (not to mention society) to think of others first, and yourself last – always, right? But the safety advice they give you in airplanes is also a good mantra for life: you need to look after yourself first before you can help other people. You cannot help anyone else if you aren’t okay first.
Here are the top four reasons why it’s important, even necessary, to put yourself first.
1. You need to fill your own cup
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the demands and obligations of family, friends, and colleagues? Whether it’s running after kids, getting your presentation done, running an eco-responsible household, making time to connect, or even staying on top of your emails, modern life can suck you dry if you allow it. There is no way you can hope to keep up unless you remember to fill your own cup. Take care of yourself and make sure you get what you need. A walk in the sunshine, an early night, a sofa and Netflix day, regular gym and yoga sessions or your monthly knitting circle. Make sure you schedule in whatever it is that brings you joy and energy. Then you can be your best you for all the other people in your life.
2. You’re in charge of your life
There’s no Fairy Godmother to save you or take care of you or give you the life you want. It’s totally up to you to step up and take responsibility for your life and your happiness. If you want to be an airline pilot or run a philanthropic foundation or a certified organic farm, that’s great. But it’s up to you to prioritize what you want in life and go for it. Reaching your dreams means putting yourself first.
3. It’s not Me versus You
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you disregard the needs or desires of others. To live an authentic fulfilled life, you need to learn to compromise, negotiate and balance your needs with the people who depend on you. If one of those things is out of balance, you’ll be depleted and resentful, and no one will get their needs met!
Learn to find joy in receiving as well as giving, and don’t for a minute think that putting yourself first is selfish. Let other people support you, and you’ll be in better shape to support them.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.