Over the years, I have noticed that – particularly for women – there is this drive to put everyone else’s needs above their own. For far too many women, things like downtime, exercise and even their own nourishment, are so far down on their list of priorities that they often fall off the schedule entirely.
Not doing these things that maintain their own wellbeing is often clothed in statements like “I just don’t have time for that”. And that’s probably true. Yet, it is only true because they don’t prioritise them. We always make time for the things we prioritise.
It’s not a lack of knowledge that drives us to not take the best care of ourselves. Of course we know that we need to eat nutritious food, move our bodies and have plenty of rest for optimum health.
So if it’s not a lack of knowledge, why do so many people find it so challenging to prioritise their own wellbeing?
We are emotional creatures and so much of our behaviour, including the choices we make, is driven by our internal landscape – our thoughts, beliefs, values and emotions. Our emotions are influenced by our thoughts and our thoughts by our beliefs. And the majority of our beliefs are formed in the first seven years of our lives, meaning much of how we behave and feel is the result of the stories we told ourselves as young children to make sense of the world around us.
Most of us will have created a belief than in order to survive, we need to be loved or at least approved of. We do this because, as babies we are entirely dependent on our caregivers to survive. We are simply not capable of taking care of our own needs and without them to feed, nurture and protect us (to love us), we will die.
As adults, a love filled with love is one that feels enriching but it is not essential for our survival. Yet, if this belief that love/approval is essential to your survival is still floating around in your subconscious, it will drive you to prioritise being liked over everything else. And that is how you will end up putting everyone else’s needs first.
If you believe that without love you will die (and I mean on a very deep level, none of this is conscious in your thinking mind), you will do anything to convince people that you deserve to continue being loved. And you will most often do this by being of service to them. By doing things for them.
So many women will let their health completely fall apart before they will begin to prioritise their own care above their loved ones.
Yet, there’s a reason why the airlines say to put your own oxygen mask on first. We can’t be of service to others when we are depleted.
If this resonates with you, I can’t encourage you enough to reflect on whether a belief that love is intrinsically linked to your very survival is running the show.