If you’re like most women, you probably have a long to-do list to help you stay organized and on track with what needs your attention.
As helpful as our to-do lists can be, they are often and easily used as a distraction from working on what really matters.
I once had a woman tell me that, after many arguments with her husband about not feeling like a priority in his life, he shouted, “just do you!”, and then left.
She admitted that she didn’t know how to ‘do’ herself – she was so used to taking care of everyone else that the idea of making herself a priority seemed foreign. And the fact that her husband had no problem making himself a priority made it feel even worse.
The truth is, if you’re struggling in your romantic relationship and not making yourself a priority, you’re adding unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation.
But wait a minute…doesn’t that seem selfish? If you’re supposed to be working on your relationship with your partner, why would you make yourself a priority?
It’s Not Selfish to Make Your Happiness a Priority
Inspirational author Mandy Hale said: “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”
Why is it necessary? Because the commitment you make to having a better relationship with yourself automatically influences the commitment and quality in ALL of your relationships.
And when you’re in touch with yourself, you feel more clarity and peace of mind, and it’s easier to connect with others.
When it comes to romantic relationships, most women have no problem saying they’re committed to loving their partner, and will even make self-sacrificing a way of life to stay true to that commitment.
But if you don’t have a healthy and loving relationship with yourself, how can you have a healthy and loving relationship with others? And if you continually abandon yourself in your commitment to others, how can you not feel abandoned?
This was one of my biggest life lessons! And Dr. Christiane Northrup was the one who drove it home for me.
Commitment vs. Abandonment
Dr. Christiane Northrup is a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness, and has authored many books on how to heal from within using the wisdom of our bodies, our emotions, our cycles, the cycles of nature, etc.
At one of her live presentations in 2015, I heard her say that the healing field for abandonment is commitment.
I wrote it down and thought, ‘that sounds nice’. It wasn’t until later that night that I made a connection to how I had a pattern of abandoning myself.
It may not have been intentional, but every time I made a commitment to myself – such as following through on improving my relationships, an exercise routine or eating healthier foods – and then backed out of it, I was abandoning myself. And the same goes for you and everyone else.
Obviously, if unforeseen circumstances arise, such as an unexpected illness or accident, you can’t control that. But applying this awareness will help you stay true to the commitments you make to yourself.
This is especially relevant if you have unresolved feelings of abandonment or neglect from childhood or past relationships. You can’t expect other people to heal these feelings for you, but you can absolutely heal these patterns and feelings yourself.
This also helped me realize that I had abandoned myself for years when I kept choosing to stay in a (former) relationship that I knew wasn’t healthy for me. I learned the hard way to no longer reject and dismiss my feelings, and I knew moving forward that I could no longer abandon myself.
Put Your Own Oxygen Mask on First
When you consistently commit to having a healthier relationship with yourself, you’ll feel stronger and more prepared to handle issues of unresolved conflict that come up in other relationships.
I’m not saying to make yourself the only priority. I’m saying that in order to show up as your best self – in ANY situation – you need to make sure you’re taking caring of yourself.
This is why putting your own oxygen mask on first, before aiding those who need help, is emphasized every time you get on a plane. If you can’t breathe, how can you help others?
When your partner or other people in your life are struggling, I understand the difficulty in not putting their needs ahead of yours. You care about them and you want to help…I get that.
But if you start neglecting your own needs to take care of theirs, you compromise your own self-care. Then you have two people struggling, which does nothing to help the situation!
If you have minor kids who still require your care, of course they are a priority too. Just remember that the quality of your relationship with yourself and with your partner is their role model. The “do as I say, not as I do” teaching method isn’t nearly as effective as showing them how it’s done.
Put Yourself at the Top of Your List
So, the next time you update your to-do list, put yourself at the top. ‘Do you’ first and the rest will fall into place.
If you’ve lost touch with what makes you happy, and what your priorities are for a fulfilling life, start with making a list of your core values. Do a Google search for ‘how to create your core values list’, and you’ll find a number of different exercises that can help you.
Once you’re clear on your core values, prioritize a list of self-care to-do’s that are in accordance with your top 5 core values, and have this list take precedence when scheduling your time. If something comes up that’s not a priority, consider it a distraction.
For example, if one of your core values is spirituality, and you’d like to schedule a self-care practice of meditation, when a friend wants to meet for coffee during the time you’ve carved out for meditation, respectfully say no to the coffee and yes to your commitment.
This isn’t about separating yourself from your partner and others in times of difficulty. This is about staying connected to your heart no matter what you’re going through…and especially in times of difficulty.
One step at a time, one day at a time, start making yourself a priority in your life. You more than anyone else are worthy of your own love.
If you’re having a hard time digesting the idea of making yourself a priority, you’re not alone. But remember that it doesn’t have to stay that way. You are far more powerful than you realize.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages and other valuable resources – giving you helpful insights, tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach
P.S. Need help with prioritizing yourself and setting yourself up for success with your relationship goals? Contact me today to schedule your complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session.