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Putting Yourself First – Really?

Self-care is a common theme in our therapy sessions with clients dealing with eating disorders and food addiction. We often encourage them to put themselves first and take better care of themselves.
We understand that you have responsibilities to care for the other people in your life, but it's our job as therapists to remind you that you won't have anything to give if you neglect to take care of yourself. That's why later this month, Janet McCurdy will share some helpful self-care suggestions for you.
Putting yourself first, though – really? Maybe it's a lot to ask. And maybe that's why people don't do it. Here are a few other reasons that you may tend to put others first:
  • Helping other people gives you a warm fuzzy feeling – and this may be the only time you feel that.
  • It seems selfish to do things for yourself.
  • This is how you learned to be, from the adults who influenced you as a child.
  • You're concerned that no one else will do it, or they won't do it as well.
  • It's scary to let go of control.
  • It's a defense mechanism against thinking about or working on your own problems.
Perhaps you need to try to put yourself side-by-side with your loved ones, and take care of yourself and them equally. Maybe balance is the key. After all, it's not an either/or scenario – you or them. Can you consider doing as much for yourself as you do for others?
Can you put as much care into feeding yourself as you to do when feeding your family?
Can you block off the time to book your own medical appointments – and get yourself there – the same as you would if someone else asked you?

If putting yourself first seems like too big of a step, at least make sure your self-care is getting equal attention.