By: Mileydy Morales, GenZ Guest Contributor.
As women, it is in our care-giving nature to put the feelings and needs of other people before our owns. How do I know? Well because I am a woman... well, a young woman, actually... but that's beside the point. The truth is that there have been several moments in my life where I have stopped in my tracks and wondered, “why am I helping this person at the cost of my own well-being and mental health?”
Since I was a little girl, I have been conditioned to think that it is wrong to be selfish and it is wrong to choose yourself over other people. But the more hardships and adversities I experienced, the more I realized the importance of putting yourself first. I vividly remember sitting in the audience watching one of my well-respected peers give a speech titled “Self-centered is not selfish” and having an epiphany. "Why have I spent my whole life prioritizing other people at the expense of myself?" It wasn’t until about halfway through my senior year in high school when I decided to stop. I decided that, from this point on, I would always choose myself.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to help others and to give to those who can’t give back, but how can you help others if you can’t even help yourself? I believe that in order to be fully able to help someone, you must be in a stable and healthy mindset and place in your life.
After a period of soul-searching, I decided I would never sacrifice my dreams, mental health, or emotional stability, for the sake of someone else succeeding.
The minute I began choosing myself over others, I saw a change in my life. I no longer allowed people to walk all over me, and was therefore respected by my peers. I learned that there was a difference between actively wanting to help others, and being a doormat. I began to spend more time enjoying the things I actually loved such as theatre and music, and no longer spent energy ensuring I lived up to the expectations others had set for me. Putting myself first for once allowed me to see my life through a lens I never had before. I used to walk through the world thinking it was my job to hold everything up, and when I finally realized that it wasn’t, I was able to forgive myself for all the experiences I sacrificed in order for others to feel okay.
Bottom-line is... putting yourself first is not selfish; it is actually the key to living a healthy, and successful life.
About the Author: Mileydy Morales is a senior at All Saints Academy in Winter Haven.