I am someone who struggles to put herself first. There, I said it. Its like I have a microbrewery where I brew my very own regret-aleits bitter, and I would like to say that its an acquired taste but its really not. You never get used to enjoying the flavour of little sacrifices you made, just to make someone else happier and comfortable while ignoring your own needs. I am not saying you should be selfish and think only about yourself. The key here is to know when to be selfless and when to claim your right to put yourself first. If you are like me, this one is a must-read for you. I would like to believe that I have come a long way and now I know when to take care of my own needs first. But its a journey and I still struggle with the unfounded guilt you feel when youve stood up for being there for yourself before others. Has it ever happened that you desperately needed something, to heal, to feel better and someone wanted your energies invested elsewhere? Say for instance, you wanted to be on a trip but your friend wanted you to postpone it for them? If you absolutely need it, you go for it. I used to have so many things left unchecked because I chose to put someone elses preferences above mine. But now, I am a go-getter and you should be one too. If you are, like me, on a journey to put yourself first, here are a few things you should keep in mind. 1) You have to analyse when to put yourself firstWhen do you put yourself first and when do you take care of a loved one? Its a call you have to take by carefully analysing the situation. For instance, you may have to address and fulfil your needs before taking care of others. You cant pour from an empty cup. For instance, if you have been wanting to go to the hills for a while now and you know its what you need to heal, do it. If your friend would rather go to the beach, dont delay your healing for this. Again, if you want to go for a run but your friend wants to go for a drink, they can wait until after your run. Find balance and let people also adjust for you so your priorities dont get disturbed.2) You may feel bothered by guilt In my natural state, I am a very gullible person when it comes to my loved ones. I hate it if I cannot be there for someone close to me. And in my most OG state, I will go out of my way to accommodate them. This, until I realise that I do not have enough to give it all away. I have to conserve my energy, protect my interests and cater to my priorities because if I dont, then who will? That is how I try to fight the annoying, unfounded guilt you feel when you have to say no to a loved one. But heres the thing, if they care about you, and they arent two years old, they will understand. 3) Set boundariesWhen it comes to setting boundaries, you have to first define them with yourself before anyone else. You need to know what is too much for you and what kind of environment you need to thrive. Accordingly, remember, sometimes, you have to draw boundaries even with loved ones.4) Sometimes, your loved ones may not understand you Sure, most of the time, your loved ones will eventually understand you. If you are lucky, then sooner than later. However, communication can resolve this too and if a loved one, especially someone like a parent or a grandparent fails to understand your choices, maybe explaining will help. But sometimes they wont, and you will have to make your peace with that. You will have to be ready to acknowledge that you still did the right thing by putting yourself first in a situation where it was required. 5) You will have to keep a check on yourselfSometimes, if we are once burnt and twice shy, we end up putting ourselves first even when we should really be selfless in a given situation. Our loved ones deserve it, dont they? So know what is healthy and what crosses over to the lines of selfishness.