How Women Can Learn To Put Themselves First Without Feeling Guilty

Photo by: Eutah MizushimaOn a regular basis I get questions from husbands wanting to get their wives to take better care of themselves. There is a consistent theme of worn out and burnt out happening today that husband’s aren’t sure how to handle. They want their wives to take better care of themselves emotionally, mentally and physically.

Thanks to Mr. David Jones, who is a member of the Wiselike community, he asked the same 3 questions that I’ve consistently addressed over the past several years.

They are as follows:

1. How can women who are used to nurturing and caring for the needs of others learn to put themselves first?

2. Women often struggle with prioritizing their personal needs, and when they do, those around them may react unfavorably. Do you have any recommendations for women who are novices at putting themselves first?

3. How can they handle backlash that they may receive from friends and family?

I’m going to begin with the end in mind because unless you can take care of the last problem, the first two will remain.

How To Handle Backlash:

In society today, you’ll be criticized no matter who you. If you lack confidence people will tell you to gain it. Once you gain it people will call you a Photo by: Christopher Campbellknow-it-all. They’ll criticize you if you don’t work hard enough, until you work so hard you become criticized for being a work-a-holic.

Man, woman, rich, poor, kind, mean, religious or relational, you WILL be criticized.

Criticism, Cynicism, Sarcasm, these “ism’s” are someone else’s opinions and unhealthy habits which control them. Its hard not to let them control you, but you mustn’t give credence to them or you will wind up with your own ‘ism’ called Narcissism.

The system I’m about to share on how to avoid backlash may sound over simplified, but its precisely what I do. I choose what I believe in and stand for it, knowing rejection will happen. That’s it. Nothing spiritual or mind blowing about it.

1) Choose

2) Accept

Nothing difficult lasts forever, yet nothing amazing does either. All things pass away eventually. But when you hang in there and keep moving forward, any backlash or criticism you might have had to handle will also disappear.

How To Love Yourself First

I’ll share what I do for self-care and if your religion taught you that thinking about yourself in any way is a ‘selfish’ thing to do, then you’ll no doubt stop reading at the subtitle. That’s okay, just know that the more you ignore self care, the more you’ll feel like you do right now. Even Jesus broke away from the crowds when he needed to replenish his mind, body and spirit.

When I remembered that airline stewardesses asked me to put my oxygen mask on first, then place it over my child’s mouth, it was a huge A-ha. It helped me realize that the only way I’m going to become a healthier person is to care for my mind, body and spirit first. Then, and only then, can I care for others well.

Photo by: Julia CaesarIf what I share sounds like something that can work for your life, then duplicate it. There is no need to waste the minutes in our day, but I’d be willing to bet that if you could spend your day free from guilt that your time would be better spent on things that are important. You might also have less weight to carry around on your shoulders.  If you want to be healthy, you’ll seek a healthier lifestyle and every minute will become important to you. After all, time is the greatest commodity we have.

My Routine: Mon – Fri I have morning devotions, exercise time, educational time and learning a new language time. I call all of this my “self care” time and I usually do this between 4:00 am and 7:30 am. Rarely does anyone intrude on that time, since its become routine (and there isn’t anyone in my home willing to get up that early). This self care time is what helps me breathe success into my life because I am still enough to listen to God, and creative enough to write out my next steps. This leads to how I prioritize my day. Again, if it helps you, great. If not, no worries, it just means you need to figure out how to work within your time frame.

How To Prioritize Needs

On a daily basis I have a productivity sheet I use to help me prioritize my day. A “To Do” list works fine too. Out of all the things I have going on, I select which are the top two and do only those. If I can rest at night with more than that accomplished, I sleep easy.

Prioritizing needs takes on different forms as we add in spouses needs, children’s needs, bosses or clients needs, but its still the exact same system for me. The top two and only the top two. No overwhelming list that never gets accomplished, no feeling like a failure if I don’t get them done.

We all have the same amount of time in each day, 24 hours in which to care for our needs and the needs of others. Unless we fill our own cup, we’re not able to fill up the cups of others.

If your wife needs to fill her cup, or you want help filling your own cup, start here. Learning to love differently, and even loving yourself differently, could help you stay married for life. If you feel this article was useful please comment and share before you leave.