If there’s one thing I can say for certain in my life, it’s that what I learned about relationships from the day I was born was 100% wrong.

Nope, I’m not exaggerating. I was taught that the entire purpose of life was self-sacrifice and to serve others from that state. I was taught that everyone else comes first — always. That single belief, passed on for many generations, created so much pain in my life that I almost committed suicide. Again, I am not exaggerating.

I spent so much time, energy, and effort serving others and doing what benefitted others — at my own expense — that I completely lost myself. When it came to a choice between what I wanted and what someone else wanted, I gave in. When it came down to taking care of myself or another person, I always chose the other person.

I was 300 pounds of physical, mental, and emotional chaos in human form. I just wanted it all to end. So it all collapsed. And, thank God it all collapsed. That allowed me to finally see that I didn’t have it all figured out, and I was forced to rethink everything.

Love Yourself

The most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself. Read that again.

If you feel resistance with that statement, that is the reason for any struggle and suffering you have experienced in your life. There are no exceptions to this rule.

When we do not have a relationship with ourselves, we will experience struggles with our identity, health, wealth, and the amount of love we give and receive. Everything we create in our lives can be traced back to how we perceive ourselves in relation to everything else.

I’ll offer you my truth, and one that has served me and many others powerfully: you are the most important person on the entire planet. You are just as important as everyone else, and no more important than anyone else.

When you fully grasp and embrace this, you put yourself second to no one, you allow no one to challenge your worth and value. You also recognize that your body, mind, and emotions are worthy of self-care and health. You open yourself to recognize and embrace your natural innate talents and gifts, and when you give those talents to others, you open yourself to receive the prosperity you deserve. Finally, you open yourself to receiving unconditional love.

Put Yourself First

Personal power is the presence of clarity, confidence, and courage, which creates powerful identity, health, wealth, and love. Personal power starts and ends with the amount of time you spend building a solid relationship with yourself.

When you put yourself second, it typically revolves around the fact that you feel inferior in some way from emotional trauma or experiences. This trauma creates a sense of obligatory self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. Of course, there are temporary periods of parenting and serving others, but feelings of self-worth and self-esteem will empower you to regain your balance and resume the process of self-care and relationship building with yourself. Self-sacrifice is never the answer.

There’s a popular metaphor that says your ability to show up for others is like the guidance that is given on an airplane before take-off: put your mask on first. This comparison might be cliche and worn out, but it is applicable nonetheless.

You might be able to contribute unequal time or effort to others over a short period of time, but over a long period of time, depletion will occur, and your ability to give will diminish. Putting your own mask on first, taking care of your own well-being, enables and empowers you to make a consistent contribution, and serve your family, tribe, and society from a position of power, not depletion.

Are You Showing Up For Yourself?

Do you set aside time for yourself each day? How many hours per week do you pour into healing and relating to yourself? I encourage you to consider trying something new. For one week, find an additional 30 minutes for yourself each day to grow and heal. Read, meditate, get a massage, exercise, etc. To find the time, replace unproductive habits with those that serve. Over time, increase this amount until you are serving yourself more than you are serving others. Be creative. Rebalancing your life will increase the quality of your life.