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Struggling to Put Myself First

Struggling to Put Myself First
If there’s one thing I notice about kind people, it’s this.
They struggle to put themselves first.
I risk boasting that I consider myself kind with this statement, but I struggle with the same thing.
It used to be so much worse than it is now, though.
In fact, it’s actually the opposite now, and some might claim that I have now become selfish.
Today, you’re going to learn why that might be a good thing–and what it actually means to put yourself first.

Your Needs Are a Room
A room...leading to another room. Oooh, double analogy.
A room...leading to another room. Oooh, double analogy.
Think of your relationships with others as one long line that stretches from one side of a room to the other.
It doesn’t matter what kind of room it is.
Pick whatever room makes your pretty little heart sing the most.
On one end on the line, you’re smack dab against one wall.
On the other end of the line, you’re firmly pressed against the opposite wall.
Your relationships fill the rest of the room.
How would it feel to be pressed against one wall or the other?
Would it be easy to communicate with everyone in your life?
Would you be able to survey the room and see where everything stands with everyone else in the room?
Probably not.
You’d probably be able to deal with the two to three people who are directly in front of you, the people who are huddled up against you keeping you securely fastened to one wall on one side of the room.
If you’re giving everything you have to a few people in your life, you’re not able to see the entire room.
You’re stuck responding to the handful of people who happen to make it over to your side of the room and demand all of your attention.
It can be a horrible place to be in.
But what would be better?
The Line From Selfish to Selfless
If you’re following this analogy so far, you might think it would be better to be closer to the center of the room.
Isn’t that where most advice ends up anyway?
In the perfectly balanced and safe center?
Often, that’s the case.
But this newsletter is not about stale advice. In fact, it’s not about advice at all.
It’s about helping you discover your own truth–and where you end up in the room is going to depend on your needs at the time.
For me, I’m closer to the “selfish” wall, on the other side of the room.
If being on the other side of the room, firmly against the wall, would be considered totally selfish, I’m a few steps beyond that point.
Doing that allows me to be put my needs first while also leaving enough space behind me for those who are much worse off than I am.
If required, they can gently push me closer to the middle of the room, to a spot of perfect balance between putting my needs first and putting the needs of others before my own.
But, as a whole, I put myself first because I’ve learned about who I am. I’ve put in years of work to figure out what my heart tells me I should do and about where I can have the greatest impact in life.
And that means I have to say no to a lot of requests that don’t align with my values, mission, and needs.
If I were up against the “selfish” wall, then I wouldn’t have a great lay of the land.
But from a couple feet away, I can see the room while also protecting my little area in life.
This approach may not be what you need at the moment, but it’s what has worked best for me.
Where Are You In the Room?
To bring this to a close, consider these questions:
Where do you fit in the room of your life?
Are you on one side of the room or the other?
Do you need to be closer to the center or closer to one of the walls?
Take some time this week to reflect on these questions.
Remember, it’s not so important what you’re currently doing.
What matters is the awareness you have of your current situation–and what you decide to do next.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not where you want to be in the room that is your life. Every great change starts with awareness. Consider where you are, and then consider what you need. And then consider if you need some help to get there. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Be well, be safe, and put yourself first more often,

P.S. The Mental Health Update website just passed 3000 visitors a month. We’re moving into the next phase of my mission to provide meaningful and accessible mental health content. I’m having talks of either doing a podcast or a series of audio education lessons. Which one would you prefer? Reply and let me know!

P.P.S. Hey now, it’s a post post script! Wild. 😁 We’re almost to 800 subscribers of this newsletter! Would you be willing to forward this email to one or two of your friends who need it most? I put so many hours into this each week because I love it, but I need your help to reach the people who really need to read this. Could you help me out? Thank you for everything.
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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

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