The power of putting yourself first

Since figuring out where my priorities lie; I’ve been able to get good grades, lift my GPA, receive two prestigious academic awards, be offered Honours and land a job that I adore. I’ve become so particular in the way I conduct this side of myself that I shifted my focus to uni and work… and to be honest? I really appreciate myself for doing this because it’s led me to where I am and what I have now. This isn’t to say that I completely dismissed my responsibilities as a girlfriend, friend or sister – I just grew up and learned that there’s a lot of power behind putting yourself first.

But for some? I understand that it felt as if I left them behind.

There are people in my life who don’t need me to hold their hand. There’s a mutual understanding that we’ve got different lives with different responsibilities, which makes maintaining a relationship with them quite easy. It feels like no time has passed when I do catch up with them. You know, there’s no awkwardness or resentment between us… just a mutual level of respect for one another.

If you’re one of these people, I’d like to express my gratitude and send out a big fat ‘thank you’. While it may feel like I had forgotten about you, I never did. The way I see it is that you let me do my own thing and work towards my goals, and you’ve been more supportive than I could have ever imagined. While this may necessarily not be the case, I’m still thankful for having low maintenance people in my life because let’s face it, I don’t think I’m a low maintenance person.

Basically, thank you for not thinking differently of me; for not questioning my loyalty or quality as a human being while I worked myself out.

The last year has been difficult for everyone and I’ve been lucky enough to keep my job and continue my studies, despite everything going on in our world. What made this challenging for me was spending six months away from my partner. This wasn’t easy at all and the heightened pace at work and uni kept me going (…that and the fact that we’re pretty used to the distance by now). For us, we’re equals. He’s never belittled what I do or doubted the path I’ve wanted to pursue. He was never selfish and demanded for my time. He simply supported me and let me do what I needed to do.

So, what I want to tell you is this: there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first.

Yes, it’s important to care for others and be there for them, but it’s also imperative to care for yourself, isn’t it? Whether that’s self-care or dedicating your time and energy to your professional development – there’s nothing wrong with it. Truth be told, I never turned people away who needed me, just like they always had my back when I’ve needed them. There are people in your life who will support you and there are others who will simply crave your personal or professional success.

I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people who respect who I am and also understand how self-empowering it is to put myself first… probably because they do too. ❤️

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