Since 300 B.C. people have been debating Greek philosopher Aristotle’s inquiry on “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” For my purposes, a question which would have served me better would have been “Who comes first, me or you?”
Looking back, it seemed I had spent so much time, energy, and emotions helping others in some way that I had little time, energy or emotions to better myself. My logic was based on a childhood notion that if I helped somebody in need then I was a good girl which became my way to feel better about myself. I was wrong. Helping others was not what determined if I was a good person; it was an escape for me.
My health, my finances, and my personal life were overlooked by me while I was busy encouraging others to overcome obstacles in their lives. All by my choice because when I helped others, I felt good. It took a long while for me to finally understand how I chose to escape my own life and its problems because somebody else needed help. It felt good to be of service and feel appreciated, until my personal life hit a new all-time low. I finally saw the importance of choosing me before others, even before loved ones.
My happiness needed to come first in my life, in my heart, and through my actions. This created a renewed sense of hope. It was also comforting to know that once I found my happiness, I could avail myself to others when asked. Better yet, I hoped that my new found strength and resolve would also influence those close to me to focus on their own needs and joy.
We live in a world filled with so many people willing to help, professionals seeking employment available for assistance, and even organizations volunteering their support. Recognizing these were all available to me too, and I could reach out to others for help, I was able to put myself first. Suddenly, my time, my emotions, and my efforts benefited me more than ever as they added an energy of hope to my daily life.
Learning to put me first did not make me selfish. It empowered me to step up and become active in my life. This is a choice that we all get to make. We get to decide if we choose another person’s happiness or choose what makes us happier. Is there really a choice? Not for me. This is why I ask you to ask yourself, “Who comes first, me or you?”