Are You Putting Yourself First?

Is it okay to put yourself first? What does it even mean? Bernice pens down her thoughts below!

The journey of putting yourself first. What does it mean to put yourself first? Does it mean to be selfish, to put your own needs ahead of everyone else’s? As much of a villain you may feel you sound, there’s truth in what was said. Undoubtedly, it’s about finding balance in parts of your life that you’ve lost touch with while ‘growing up’.

The road taken to grow up has many, many crossroads, where you make decisions you regret even now, caught up on all the ‘what-ifs’.

It’s with hope of all the stars aligning that I wish I could come up with another listicle telling you the step-by-step guide to putting yourself first, but I too am figuring myself out. Though times are trying and things are confusing, turn around and look at how far you’ve come. Take a trip down memory lane with me while you’re at it.

You take a deep breath as you walk through the door. It's the morning of your very first day.

Excitement and anticipation fill your lungs as you sit down on a random chair beside a stranger that you’d soon call your best friend.

So many hopes and dreams of what could and would come your way, then the 1 hour Calculus class — that you found interesting at first but slowly come to hate — starts.

You fall asleep at your desk, and who would’ve known, that when you open your eyes, suddenly you’re surrounded by people who’ve been there for you throughout the torturing exams saying, “I’ll see you soon” instead of goodbye — not knowing that for many of you, that would’ve been the last time you crossed paths. 

Facing the illuminating computer screen begins to feel lonelier, the constant wear and tear of trying to communicate with the people you care for has worn you down. Sometimes you choose to serve others because that’s what it means to love people — acts of service.

You unconsciously shove parts of yourself that society might not agree with into a hidden box because it felt safer that way. No, you don’t love singing, it doesn’t make the buck; you don’t look good in short hair, girls aren’t supposed to look like a boy; you don’t like the same sex, it’s just a phase.

The isolation, both physically and mentally however, led you to believe that people’s opinions were merely their opinions, not yours. Then, you make a conscious choice, an effort to stop denying yourself the truth.

You packed up your bags and chose the road with a sign pointing towards ‘putting yourself first’. I can understand that looking back you’d feel that you’re wounded, a survivor struggling to find faith, a stranded sailor squirming to stay above water.

The waves are vicious, the storm is cynical. You should never have to fight to be your own person, no one should have to fight to be themselves, and I’m sorry the world made it that way. 

It’s a rocky road, a hike that has no destination to it. If you’ve made it this far, I’m sure you’re exhausted of having to ‘grow up’ — having to face an unknown future not knowing whether or not Mother Nature can keep up with it.

The world may feel like it’s in ruins, but there’s a certain beauty to ruins. Look inside you and have a conversation with the 6-year-old you that gets excited from playing with rocks on the ground.

Growing up doesn’t mean you’ve to stop talking to your inner child. It means knowing how to be the person your inner child wanted to be.

As much as I’m speaking in vague metaphors, how the journey plays out is up to you and the path taken. It’s not a linear process, and it’ll never be. But even the constant bright blue sky can turn at sunset into the purple and coral pink sky that brings you salvation.

Bernice Lee is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Mass Communication (HONS) at Taylor's University Lakeside Campus. She is also a hunter of the creative arts, aiming her arrow at dance, handicraft, fashion and anything that speaks to her soul. 

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