I used to believe that love meant putting everyone else and their needs first, before my own. While I do think there is some truth to that, in the sense that being a giving person is one of the ultimate acts of being a loving person, I came to realize that I must give to and love myself first and foremost.
When you put everyone and everything else above you, you are no longer valuing yourself and your needs. And when you are not meeting your needs, and you don't take care of yourself (emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually), you can't be the best version of yourself to the special people in your life. So in essence, you don't love them at your full potential!
Here are some things to consider —
1. Are you physically taking care of yourself? Do you nourish yourself with the right foods, get enough sleep, exercise, are at a healthy weight, and on top of your check-ups? If not, I bet your energy is low, you're tired and stressed, and your confidence isn't the highest (because you probably don't feel your best). Now think about how much more you could give to others when you aren't exhausted, you're happy with what you see in the mirror, and you aren't on edge with stress.
2. Are you emotionally and mentally healthy? As humans, we're so complex and having ups and downs is normal. But in general, assess where you stand emotionally. If it's in a healthy place and you can manage your emotions in a healthy way — great! But if you self-soothe in destructive ways and have a negative attitude and energy about you, realize that it's not just affecting you, but others too. When you aren't an emotionally and mentally healthy person, that energy pours into everything you do, and everyone you're around will feel the effects, too.
3. How's your spirituality? In this sense, spirituality is about having an ultimate purpose and being in tune with your true self. Do you wake up every day excited for what your life is about, and have gratitude for all the abundance you already have? If not, you may not be listening and living to what your heart truly desires. Living this way long term, may affect the essence of your inner being and, in turn, may not allow you to show up your very best for the world.
Be kind to yourself. It can be difficult to put your health and wellbeing first when life is demanding between your career, family, friendships, relationships, and so on. If you can think of any ways to improve your wellbeing and love yourself more, start today! Take a baby step towards this. Perhaps try getting an hour more of sleep. Move your body in a way that feels good. Take time for yourself to be with your thoughts and without distractions and feel that peace.