“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” – Rupi Kaur

Sometimes it feels like we are taught to put the needs of others before our own. Whether we always leave it up to the other person to choose where to go for dinner tonight or never having the last chocolate in the box of Quality Street, sometimes we tend to hold back in order to please others and elevate any tension that might occur. While being selfless is an important trait to have, at times, we need to remember to be selfish as well. 

Having self-love is essential to building our sense of worth, self-confidence and to feel more positive about ourselves. By being able to love ourselves, it doesn’t mean that we are no longer selfless, but it means we don’t keep putting our own needs aside. Our needs are just as important as anyone else’s. If we keep living our lives based on what makes others happy or on their opinions of us, then we will never feel fully satisfied with the life that we are living. 

Here are 5 ways to start putting your own needs above those of others:

  1. Maintaining your boundaries and saying “no” – This seems to be the most difficult thing for people to do. This is because it might make them feel bad or guilty to tell others “no”. However, if we always keep telling others “yes” to things we don’t want to do, we will end up resenting them and even ourselves. Just remember that it’s ok to say “no”
  2. Accepting that what you’re doing is enough – In this new generation, there seems to be this concept that we must constantly do more. It is not enough that you’re qualified in a job that you love, but you feel that you need to keep studying to achieve more. At times, even the work that we do at our place of work does not seem to be enough. We must stay overtime to make sure that everything gets done properly. Keep in mind that you are not a robot and need your rest too. You’re doing your best at work and without having a break, you won’t manage to keep doing your best
  3. Take a break – It could be for a day, a week or even two. Give yourself the space to recharge whenever you need it. Yes, this might increase someone else’s workload at work but then you’ll be more efficient to help them when you get back
  4. Take yourself out on a date – There’s no need to wait for someone else to take you out and do something that you love. Find some time to sit alone in a café or go for a walk in the countryside
  5. Write down 5 things that you are grateful for – It’s important to reflect and remember all the good that you are doing and that you have in your life. Take some time to think about them and write them down to be able to look at them if you forget what you are grateful for

I hope that something from this list will resonate with you to start putting yourself first at times. Choosing to love yourself with no expectations is the most powerful healing force that you can have. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Mandy Brincat is a Gestalt psychotherapist who enjoys working therapeutically with adults on various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing. She also has experience working with anxiety, victims of domestic violence and eating disorders.


  1. Durnil, J. (2019). Learning to Love Yourself – Youth First. Youthfirstinc.org. Retrieved from https://youthfirstinc.org/learning-to-love-yourself/.

Kissee, L. (2018). love yourself — Blog — Live Well With Lo. Live Well With Lo. Retrieved from http://livewellwithlo.com/blog/tag/love+yourself.