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For so long, I feel as though we’ve been conditioned to believe that helping others is more important than helping ourselves. However, being on the journey that I am on now,  all evidence points to the importance of prioritizing ourselves first.

We all know that saying “happy wife, happy life”, right? It’s mainly used to describe a situation where a partner is letting things happen to retain harmony in their relationship. So, I revamped it because we’re part of a reality where being a “wife” isn’t everything anymore. I believe that where we’re most concerned is our own personal wellbeing—and that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay.

“Happy place, happy headspace.”

By realizing where you are most happy—situationally and emotionally—you will be more energized to seizing any opportunities and to help lift others up.

Reminder: putting yourself first is not selfish—it means you’re being mindful of your own truth. And there’s a lot of power in that. When you’re working with yourself, you learn a lot about how you think and feel about everything and every situation. It makes the world—and your purpose—a lot clearer.

So, by shifting our approach and realizing that we can only make a difference in our own lives first, we change the way we think about ourselves and the story we’re here to tell.

My greatest ally (and enemy) has always been my mind. For me, it’s an ongoing battle between how I feel and what I think. Sometimes, I let my thoughts get the best of me but trust me, it’s normal to slip up every now and then. It has taken a lot of practice to just be patient with myself, give space for the negative thoughts to leave one by one, and to remind myself that I am enough despite whatever it is I’m feeling or thinking.

Reminder: putting yourself first is not selfish—it means you’re being mindful of your own truth. And there’s a lot of power in that. Click To Tweet

Most of the time, we’re unhappy because we’re not satisfied in certain areas of our lives. The happiness we feel is multitudinous—it could be situational, environmental, relationships, and/or self-inflicted. Whenever I’m stuck, emotionally or situationally, I always go back to questioning whether or not I’m settling. My belief is that I shouldn’t be tolerating things that don’t work for me because I know what I want—and so I have to ask myself, “is this it?”

I’m a half-full kind of person, and I like finding silver linings in life. My goal is to help more people be well-adjusted with the idea of prioritizing ourselves first without any negative strings attached. Let’s be clear on one thing, putting yourself first is not selfish—you can’t be selfish with yourself. And so, through sharing this, I can maybe help someone else in someplace with an actionable plan that works towards mental wellbeing.

Let’s be clear on one thing, putting yourself first is not selfish—you can’t be selfish with yourself. Click To Tweet

Here are some of my personal tools that I use to remind myself to be gentler with my inner thoughts. I want to share what I’ve learned on my journey and hopefully, it’ll be useful for you as well. I know that no one journey is ever the same but we all experience hardships that can create and cultivate unhealthy habits we’re not mindful of.

The 5 Keys

We all have good days—and we have not-so-good days. However, our focus on the negative usually outweighs the positive because of this trauma-based/flex culture. We need to continue to remind ourselves that we are not our rockier days. And when we’re fixated in that space to say: everything will work out for me.

#1 Start every day with the right intentions.

When we start the day off with the right intentions, we’re basically setting the mood for how we want to feel throughout the day—like an emotional goal so to speak. If we’re expecting positive things to happen, they will manifest—and vice versa. So, I always do my best to start the day feeling 100%—if I can’t, then I will find ways throughout the day to make up for it. I know that no matter what, I can’t make mistakes here because I know myself best. The right intentions mean you’re in control and changing the conversations you have with yourself.

Action: Set positive intention(s) of how you want to feel for the day—it will act as guidelines to direct your thoughts and feelings.

#2 Forgive yourself.

We’re beings that are constantly evolving and adapting to the situations around us. Sure, we can get a little lost sometimes but we have a built-in compass that guides us through our own journeys. Anytime that whatever it is you’re feeling or thinking is not aligned with your compass, take time to remind yourself that it’s not a mistake but a detour that you had to experience to prepare for what’s to come ahead. And as Drake puts it: #GodsPlan.

Action: Remind yourself that you’re on this path to discover, explore, and learn more about the world around you and the truth about yourself.

#3 Meet yourself where you are.

At the Women United Project, we have a saying that goes: meet yourself where you are. And for us, that means loving ourselves for who we are and who we are not. Part of being kinder to ourselves is to acknowledge all of our thoughts and feelings and recognizing where we stand with ourselves. In order to continue to grow, we need to learn how to make space—and whatever these thoughts and feelings may be, embrace it and recognize that, while they came from you, they don’t make you who you are.

Action: To gain clarity, acknowledge all the thoughts and feelings coming from within you.

#4 Master your mind.

We all have an inner voice that doubts us, but also one that empowers us. It will take some time to cultivate the right conversations with ourselves but it’s never too late to start channelling your own inner advocate. Mastering the mind is based on the sole belief that no one is more committed to you than you are—so who’s going to be your forever cheerleader? You are.

Action: Cultivate your inner advocate—she’s always got your back.

#5 Surround yourself with those who matter most.

We don’t think about it often but the people that we allow into our lives have a direct impact on how we view ourselves, our communities, and the world. Not convinced? Think about it this way, anyone close to us has been carefully curated to support our emotional levels differently. To simply put this, we know which arms we can waltz right into to for security, volition, attention, emotional connection, connection to a wider community, and privacy. The older we get, the more we realize the truth—change in people is inevitable. It’s why some relationships, friendships, and partnerships come to an end. This is based on my belief that how people talk to each other influences the way we talk to ourselves—so making sure you’ve got the best support is key to living well.

Action: Think Marie Kondo. Ask yourself if the people around spark joy in your life and nurture your emotional garden.

Annie Ngu

Annie Ngu

Annie is a designer, writer, and co-founder of the Women United Project. She lives and breathes all things design, art, and technology-related. She's passionate about working towards building a more inclusive, equal world for all. Her favourite saying is: pressure makes diamonds. So, let's make some ????????????

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