Self-Love Reflection: Putting Myself First

Posted: October 9, 2011 at 10:12 am

Morning, friends. I have another treat of a self-love reflection for you this morning. I adore Anna. She is the kindest and most genuine person. Her words truly touched me. I hope you enjoy reading them too.

Hi Faith, Fitness, Fun readers! My name is Anna Crouch. Nice to meet you!

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I am an occasional blogger over at Eat Real Food. I’m a 23-year-old student, living near Seattle, Washington, and am married to the amazing man of my dreams, Justin!

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I’ve been reading Tina’s blog for a good while now and I LOVE it so much! Tina’s truthful, transparent and inspiring approach to life has helped me grow in many ways! When Tina mentioned that she wanted to create a series on Self-Love stories from her readers, I jumped at the opportunity because my life over the last few years has been a journey to just that: Self-Love.

Being the person that I am, for as long as I can remember, I have always LOVED. Well, I have always loved other people, but unknowingly, I have not always loved myself. I show my love for people by my acts of service; thus, I have always been known as a “helpful person”. I shared my candy and toys, helped with others kids’ chores, and volunteered to babysit for free. People knew that if they needed something, all they had to do was ask and I would be willing to drop everything to help.

Before I was even aware I acquired this trait, I always put others before myself because it was just who I was; it was in my nature. I continued the trend for years, helping everyone in every way possible. I remember people would comment, “Oh you are so sweet, Anna!” or they would say to my parents “Where did you get this child?! I could use one of these at home!” I believe these compliments were meant well, but looking back, somewhere in the mix of things, their comments weren’t translated as compliments. To me, they gave me confidence and rendered my worth and value. All of the sudden my motivation transitioned; my helpfulness became less about others and more about me.

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Years later I discovered that what started as a desire to help others, now was more about pleasing them. It wasn’t about helping others anymore, it was about helping ME. My act of service and desire to please others became a security blanket, and a need and a source to fuel my underlying insecurity. It got so bad that when I couldn’t measure up to people’s needs or standards, I felt like a complete and utter failure. In due time, I discovered that my ability or inability to please people through my works controlled my attitude, self-esteem and quality of life. At that point I knew I had a huge problem.

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I realize now that the root of the problem was a deep insecurity that had always existed—I just tried to fill that void with the compliments on my helpfulness. In the beginning my “always willing to help” strategy worked well at bringing me happiness, security and confidence, but as you can imagine, over time and somewhere in the mix of things I began to feel overwhelmed. I often took on too many responsibilities, made huge sacrifices that God never expected me to make, bent over backward for others, agreed to too many volunteer activities, and put my own dreams, desires and needs aside, all so that I could help others reach their goals. (Side note: I think that making sacrifices for others is GREAT, don’t get me wrong. However, I did it all for the wrong reasons.)

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For a long time I knew I needed to step down from some of the obligations I had accepted, but I just couldn’t. I felt bad, guilty and selfish for wanting to put myself first for once. I viewed putting myself first as a weakness and the thought of letting others down and disappointing them ripped me up inside. I felt as if my entire existence would be futile if I stepped down or said no. Eventually I became overworked, exhausted, and no longer had the right heart. At this time, I was forced to make some changes.

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After much prayer, I decided I needed to take myself into consideration. I got down to the root of the issue and realized that I needed to love and respect myself enough to say “No” sometimes! I started learning that my identity did not lie in my ability to please others by my acts. My worth was not determined by my ability or inability to do what others need or want. My value as a woman is not formed by what I can or cannot do. None of these things are determined by others. I kept telling myself: “Your helpfulness may add value to you, but it does not determine your value.”

Oddly enough, once I started being honest with people and told them I was feeling overwhelmed, was unavailable, would love to help, but just couldn’t, and etc, people understood and respected my decisions! Contrary to how I thought people would react, when I started being honest, people were actually glad that I was transparent with the reality of my situation. This solidified that people don’t value me, merely because I am a helpful, serving person.

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Self-Love to me means putting yourself first, just as much as others. Self-Love is knowing that you are worthy, valuable, important and significant simply because of who you are and who God made you to be. You are worthy and valuable despite what you do, cannot do, look like, and etc. Self-Love, for me, was discovering that my source of security comes only from God. When I get my security from Him, I can’t help but NOT love myself!

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Do you struggle with saying “no”? How do you deal when you feel over-extended?

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7 Comments to “Self-Love Reflection: Putting Myself First”
  1. What a wonderful and inspiring post. A great message that we could all use! Thanks for sharing your story Anna!

  2. Great post Anna! :) You’re beautiful inside and out!

  3. lindsay says:

    I loved reading your story Anna. THank you for sharing your heart. God is good at showing us our heart and where we need to LOVE , it usually begins with ourselves.
    <3

  4. Wow, what an inspiring post! Thank you so much for sharing Anna! I love that you said this “Self-Love is knowing that you are worthy, valuable, important and significant simply because of who you are and who God made you to be”. That is something that is so important for all of us to remember each and every day!

  5. jobo says:

    Great post! And this totally resonates with me, given I am trying to priotizie ME too, not just everyone else. It is hard to do, but then you actually appreciate the ‘me’ time you carve out for yourself because you have it and you ARE worth it.

  6. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing Anna. I watched my Dad and Mum always getting frazzled and stressed because they never learnt to say no and put themselves first so I suppose I have tried to keep a bit more balance in my life. It is about helping others but sometimes we need to make sure we are helping ourselves first so that we can be of more service in the long run, and happier in ourselves which is something we can pass on to others as well!

  7. Hannah says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I NEEDED this post because since I struggle with the same issue, it’s something that I can hear again. :)

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