January is named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and ends and transitions. As a new year begins, we often try to bring about transitions in our own lives, to work harder, to get fitter, to get richer.
On the surface these appear to be positive changes and should bring so much happiness into your life. So, why do we fail to follow through so often? It’s because we are making changes for the wrong reasons. Either directly or indirectly, we are making those changes for other people. It’s very often not changes we particularly want ourselves, but something we want to do to impress others.
There is one New Year’s resolution you can make this year that is guaranteed to bring real happiness and foster real change in your life: put yourself first.
What value do you put on yourself?
Today we consider putting yourself first a very negative thing. It’s an insult levelled at the greedy and selfish. It wasn’t always that way. Religion and literature reveal the respect and reverence every culture has had for the self:
“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care”- Buddha
“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – William Shakespeare
How much do you value yourself? Why should you feel less important than anyone or anything? You are as precious as everyone else and you deserve as much love and care as you are willing to show to others. It is very easy to fall into the trap of being a martyr, always putting others ahead of yourself. To do this and silently suffer yourself is never healthy. It is a sure sign that something is lacking in your own spirit, a lack of self-worth, of appreciation for who you are.
You can’t love others until you love yourself
You can only love and care for others properly when you truly love yourself. When you are healthy in mind and body, you have the mental and physical strength to take on the problems of others. This means learning to set boundaries and become assertive. You need to guard your own mental space and sanctuary fiercely sometimes.
This year, take time to care and love yourself. Set aside time for your own personal reflection. Use meditation and tantric principles to learn to be present in the moment. There is untold happiness to be found when we break free from regretting the past and worrying about the future.
Learn to say no and not feel under obligation to anyone. Decide when you are available to other people, not the other way around. Connect with your inner goddess and love who you are, not who you will be when you have lost weight or made money, you as you are right now. Let go of any concern about what others think of you.
“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.” – Osho
When you put yourself first and are at peace with yourself, you will find it is no longer a burden to help others, it becomes a joy.
Altruism not narcissism
So much is made of doing things for others that in many ways it has lost its meaning. Social media has created a particularly virulent form of narcissism where a kind, selfless deed for others is worthless unless it is recorded and shared. It is more important to be seen to do something than it is to do it. When you put yourself first, you free yourself from needing this kind of petty validation from others. You know who you are and are happy with it. You no longer need likes or views to affirm your worth. By giving or loving only when you expect something in return, you will always be disappointed. Only when you give unconditionally will you feel true joy and satisfaction.
You become capable of true altruism instead of thin veiled narcissism. You can give and love freely. You can give and love much more. Your relationships will blossom and you will be a source of light and strength to all those who lives you touch.
Putting yourself first empowers you
When you care for yourself first and foremost, you cannot help but become a strong, independent individual. Many of us seek validation from others and in doing so hand them huge power over our lives and over our happiness. We can never be happy if we allow someone else to judge what we are worth, if we are beautiful or if we are worthy of being loved. By putting yourself first, you empower yourself, you take control over your own life. Every challenge or problem in 2017 becomes a potential victory and accomplishment in 2018.