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Live Well

Column: Don’t lessen value by putting yourself second

Are you the type of person who tends to avoid conflict, desires to keep the peace and wants everyone around you to be happy? It might be that you say “yes” as a habit or because you don’t want to disappoint or let down another’s expectations of you. People pleasers feel the need to subordinate to others in order to gain approval and be liked.

If this is you, it’s important for you to know that putting your needs first is not selfish, although you might believe it is — consciously or subconsciously — because that is what you’ve been taught. Honoring your own needs is important, and knowing this is the best place to start working on change. When you take care of yourself first, you can care for others from a place of inner abundance. When you feel taken care of from within, you have more to give.

Many people pleasers associate being “good” with putting themselves second. This kind of thinking not only lessens your self-value in the eyes of others, but it also makes it easy for you to build up resentment.

Daily mission

Remind yourself that taking care of your needs is not an option, it’s a necessity. When others ask things of you, or you feel you “have to” devote personal time or energy to avoid conflict, remember that when you overextend, no one wins, least of all you. Finally, remind yourself that the energy you are giving is your energy.

Alice Inoue is the founder of Happiness U. Visit yourhappinessu.com.

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