If anyone ever comes to me looking upset, down or just seeking advice, this is the suggestion I typically give: sometimes you have got to be selfish in life and put yourself before others before you can actually help anyone else overcome their problems.
In the society today, a lot of the time people are putting their friends and everyone else before themselves. In other words, they seem to care more for others than themselves. I believe that this isn’t how it should be. In order to help others, you have got to be in a good stable, mental state yourself, otherwise your advise isn’t going to be very valid.
It’s beautiful to hear that so many people prefer to think about other peoples’ needs rather than their own, even I do sometimes, but could this actually be damaging for self-care and self-confidence/love? To give a little more substance to this advice, I’ll lay out a story. Two years ago, my friend came to me wanting advice. This was the first time anyone had ever come to me for advice, because usually it’d be the other way around and I’d drown people with all my worries and woes – which were never really important, just petty little things really. This girl is literally the sunshine and rainbows amongst our group of friends; she is always bubbly, smiley and makes everyone laugh. But these kinds of people also have their self-doubts, but don’t want to show them or tell anyone about their current struggles because they feel like they’d be a burden. She went on to tell me that she wasn’t happy, which was heart-breaking to hear because I had thought she was “fine”. This was when I realised how real she was being and how the most joyful people may seem happy on the outside, but on the inside, they could be destroying themselves. This was a really big realisation for me. When she was telling me all this, I kept thinking in my head “I have no idea what to say back to her” because this was completely new territory for me (and before I had mental breakdowns and anxieties of my own). Nonetheless, my mouth began to move and before I knew it, I was spilling out words to my friend. I told her that she should start being selfish, as I put it. Put herself before anyone else, because this girl was always trying so hard to make everyone else happy, she always forgot to look out for herself. I told her to take a step back from the real world, detach herself from reality, and actually ask herself how she was feeling and how she could go about dealing with those emotions in her own time. Sometimes you have got to be selfish in life, I said, and that piece of advice, was the realest piece of advice I have ever given, and I swear by it. As soon as you have figured out your own emotions and situations and dealt with them, and asked yourself why you feel the way you feel, even if the answer is simply ‘because I am a teenager’, that is when you can go back into the world after taking that crucial step back, and help anyone else who needs to hear that same advice.
If that didn’t make sense to you, read this: always put yourself first and think about how a certain situation would affect you before you dive straight into it to help a friend. This is very important in the world today and I hope at least someone takes this to heart and starts to think about themselves more and start practising self-care and self-love because we lead our own lives, so we can’t go any time in our life hating ourselves. As soon as you have figured out who you are, you can then go on to spread love and happiness to others. And that’s the magical thing about ‘being selfish’, because only when you have learnt that rule in life can you go on to spread your happiness and self-worth to everyone else and help others who are in the position you used to be in.
Be selfish and think about you, because it’s your life, no one else’s.
Here’s a picture of one of my best friends and I in Berlin! She has helped me through a lot of hard times so here’s an appreciation post for her being in my life – I’m very thankful to have her as a friend!