The Problem with Putting Others First

Most of us have been raised to believe that we should always put others first. It’s the right thing to do. Think of others, show consideration, put others’ needs before your own. And this sounds great – in theory. However, the problem is that as long as you are neglecting your own needs to serve others you will be unable to serve them authentically. Genuinely taking care of yourself allows you to give more to others. It allows you to be stronger, wiser and kinder, with more energy to share with those around you.

If a friend’s vehicle broke down, and he needed you to tow him to his destination, and there was only one can of gasoline – would it help him if you put the fuel into the tank of his car instead of your own? You would be unable to tow him if your vehicle ran out of gas. If you are running on empty, you cannot be of much help to others.


Putting others first is actually the selfish option. Taking care of yourself so that you are at your best to help others is the way to be genuinely helpful to them. While you are ignoring your own needs to cater to others, you are selfishly allowing yourself to become depleted for short-term benefits and are not giving those you love your best. You can’t give what you don’t have.

The Truth

Just as on an airplane you are asked that in the event of an emergency you place the oxygen mask over your own face before helping others with theirs (you won’t be of any use to them if you pass out while you’re helping them), you need to take care of yourself in order to be in the best position to really help others.

The Physical Repercussions of Putting Others First

The effects of stress on the body are dangerous and can lead to exhaustion, illness and disease. Stress also affects your ability to think clearly since the prefrontal cortex of the brain (where cognitive thinking happens) shuts down when the body goes into the “fight, freeze or flight” state. For more information on how stress affects the body and brain, read: The Real Cause of All Stress.

Mental Effects

Since the executive function of the brain is affected by stress, while you are in a state of stress you will be unable to think as clearly as you would when you are not stressed. This affects your judgement, decisions, choices, problem-solving abilities and communication skills – which means you are not giving your best to those you love.

Health and Nutrition

If you are not eating healthily and giving your body the nutrients it needs; if you are not getting enough sleep so that your organs can repair and refresh; if you are not getting regular exercise to keep your body healthy and strong – you will not be as strong as you need to be to help those around you effectively. You will be prone to illness, fatigue, irritability, and so much more – which means you are inadvertently hurting those around you rather than helping them.

Emotional Health

We all need to feel loved and valued. Getting your value from helping others is the most ineffective and destructive way of trying to fill that need. The more you put others before yourself, the more emotional damage you are creating. And that damage will have a negative effect on the people you are trying to help. Putting yourself first by learning to love yourself, making time to do things you love, doing things for yourself that make you feel good – will provide you with a strong foundation from which you can be of genuine help to others.

The more care you take of yourself, the stronger you will be, and the more use you will be to others.

The Solution

  1. Read and follow the instructions in: How to Love Yourself.
  1. Do for yourself what you are doing for others. Treat yourself as you would someone you care for. (Fill your own gas tank before you tow your loved ones).
  1. Make sure you are getting sufficient nutrition, water, sleep, exercise and rejuvenation time.
  1. Do something you love every day. Even if it’s just a walk in nature, a bubble bath, or watching something that makes you laugh.

Putting yourself first is the most effective way of giving authentically to others. Giving them the best of you means allowing yourself to become the best version of you – and that means taking care of you first.

You can’t give what you don’t have. Loving yourself is the only way to authentically love others.

For more on self-love visit: Loving Yourself.

For more information on using FasterEFT to change beliefs and patterns visit: The Basics of FasterEFT.

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