Updated: Feb 4
It's time to combat limiting beliefs that cause you to deprioritize yourself.
It’s a New Year, and something is telling me that you are already failing to prioritize yourself. Many of us entered 2022 eager to start over and press forward with the things that bring us fulfillment and joy. Just as many of us were clueless about where to start and still struggle with the trauma of 2020 and 2021. Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on, the fact remains that you made it, and you deserve to be here.
In a sea of endless to-do lists, home and work-life demands, and a cesspit of good and bad news at our fingertips, prioritizing yourself is challenging. Prioritizing yourself is not only a 10-20 minute walk around your neighborhood to catch some vitamin D and fresh air. It is an intentional detachment from the stimuli that discourage and distract you for a significant period, to examine and improve your internal and external well-being. Making yourself a priority is also a lifestyle.
Can you envision the type of life you would have if you prioritize yourself for 3-6 months? If you put everyone and everything ahead of yourself, you may hardly be able to envision what I suggest. Prioritizing yourself may feel inconvenient, mean, and selfish. It may feel that way because deprioritizing yourself has become a lifestyle - a way of being. Maybe you feel this way because you struggle with recognizing and articulating what you deserve. In other words, you probably don’t even believe that you deserve a day, much less a month or six off from everyone and everything! If you can relate to this, keep reading. I want to encourage you today.
You deserve to be a priority
I am neither a life coach nor a therapist, but I know what it feels like to not deserve the life that I desire. This negative relationship with deservability stems from different close relationships in my life where I felt like what I desired and needed was too much to ask for or receive. Author and Blogger, Debbie Roes, said this about deservability:
“At the deepest core of our being, we don’t feel we deserve to have what we wish for, that belief will block those things from coming into our lives. We end up settling for less than what we truly desire as a result of our limiting beliefs.” (Deservability, My Wardrobe, Myself)
If people tell us “no” or reject us enough times, and we never get opportunities to work through the emotions attached to rejection, we may come to believe that we deserve rejection. Not only will we believe that we deserve rejection, but we will assume that nothing we do is good enough, so why even bother? This will lead us to accept anything less than or mediocre. From jobs to friendships, and other life experiences, we will accept and expect the absolute worst because we took on the attributes of rejection.
According to an article from Bustle, these are a few signs that you struggle with rejection as an adult: making negative assumptions about what others are thinking, wariness of letting people in, difficulty compromising, people-pleasing, a hard time trusting others with your feelings, feeling like you’re never good enough, and struggling to give and show love (7 Subtle Signs You’re Suffering From Childhood Rejection As An Adult, Bustle).
If any of those resonated with you, you may struggle with rejection, and it could be worth enlisting a professional to help you work out the kinks. The first step in addressing an issue is realizing that one exists. This recognition empowers you for combat.
4 ways to prioritize yourself
Now that you possibly uncovered a hard truth about yourself, let’s talk about the next steps.
1. Find comfort in knowing that you are not alone
During this time of reflection, you may feel inclined to judge yourself harshly for your struggles. To the best of your ability, do not do that. I have a saying that I remind myself of every time I make a mistake and want to beat myself up about it, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” If you knew that you lacked the courage or tools to prioritize yourself, you would seek ways to build that courage and acquire those tools. However, most of us focus on getting through each day than we do self-improvement. Take heart - this is normal.
2. Take inventory of your needs and desires
Every so often, I like to evaluate myself and everything attached to me. I journal often, so this exercise is not as lofty as it can be for someone who doesn’t have a way of releasing their innermost thoughts and feelings. During my evaluations, I isolate certain events or relationships that create overarching dissonance for me. Dissonance is defined as “a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements.” After that, I try to ascertain whether or not I imagined the dissonance because if you struggle with rejection as I do, the truth is that you can be wildly imaginative in the worst way possible. Then, I work up the courage to address the issue if I deduce that it’s not imaginative.
Nine times out of ten, my dissonance stems from an unmet need or desire from myself or within a relationship that I deemed significant. By addressing dissonance, I reclaim my agency and set a boundary. Although people may not always honor your boundaries, when you communicate them clearly and firmly, you prioritize yourself and set the tone for a life filled with the things that you need and desire deeply.
3. Avoid compromising when it comes to boundaries
This one can be tricky because relationships require a bit of compromise or adjustment to be long-lasting and fruitful. Some of us misunderstand what a healthy compromise is, and forego our needs and desires to make others happy. This type of compromise is called people-pleasing, and as mentioned earlier, if you are a people-pleaser, you likely struggle with rejection and deservability.
An example of a healthy compromise within a relationship is giving up meat for two weeks because your partner whom you live with is on a fast from meat. When you give up meat, you provide your partner with the support they need to abstain from it for those two weeks. That type of encouragement and support can bring people closer. This is wonderful! An unhealthy compromise is when you isolate yourself from friends and family because your partner does not like them. You need healthy relationships that fulfill and ground you. When you compromise in this way, you deprioritize your needs and desires and open the door to other issues that stem from a negative relationship with deservability. If you ever find yourself in this situation, understand that this is a red flag and seek help to remedy it. Sometimes the best remedy is to leave this kind of relationship.
4. Get comfortable with saying “no”
Avoiding unhealthy compromise and saying “no” go hand-in-hand. Oftentimes, life demands so much from us that we feel like we must take on everything. Unfortunately, this limiting belief can cause many physical, mental, financial, and spiritual issues. I adapted this view that if it’s not curing cancer, i.e., not a matter of life or death, it’s never a priority. For some, this view may be a bit pessimistic and selfish, but it helps me focus on what and who matters at any given moment. Try it, then come back here and let me know how that slight shift has improved your relationship with deservability.
The fact is that you deserve to feel happy and satisfied with the life that you have. Sure, life will always present challenges that rob you of your happiness, and there will be seasons of grief and other heavy emotions. However, you deserve to take time in those moments to prioritize yourself above everyone and everything else. When you consider that we came into this world alone, you realize that we are all here for a set of purposes that are unique to us. With that in mind, wouldn’t you want to take care of the vessel responsible for bringing those purposes to life? You. If you do nothing else this year, take care of yourself. Prioritize yourself. Say yes to your damn self! You deserve it.