Be kind. Be helpful. Think about other people. Don’t upset other people. It’s good to put others first.
And how normal does this seem to you?:
Mum did everything for us. She was always doing things for other people. She very rarely did anything for herself.
Mostly when people tell me things like this, they see it as positive behaviour. They think it’s good to sacrifice your time and your needs for the good of other people. It’s noble and it’s caring.
And in some respects it is.
But mostly what this does is teach us how to be a really good people pleaser.
And being a good people pleaser means living with disappointment and resentment and exhaustion.
Not very noble. And not at all caring towards yourself.
When you grow up with these messages it can be really hard to consider your own needs as important or to even know what your needs are. And if you do consider them and take time for them then it’s really really easy to feel selfish and guilty.
In order to be a healthy, well-functioning human we need to have a bit of healthy selfishness.
That’s not a “stuff you, it’s all about me” selfish.
That’s a “I really need this right now and in order to make me the best person I can be I need to take this/do this/have this.”
When you’re not used to thinking and behaving like this it can be really hard to know where to start.
My suggestion is start by asking yourself the question:
“If I was the most important person in the world, what would I do?”
Even if you don’t act on your answer just yet, at least it will get you thinking about what would be right for you.
So give it a go. There’s nothing more noble and caring than making you a VIP in your own life.