Surprisingly enough, much of my diet consult time with patients is spent on “life coaching” – putting food choices and weight control in the context of leading a more balanced, healthier and happier life. Some individuals are already very good at achieving this balance. They are easily able to put their own needs ahead of others and tend be happier and better functioning individuals as a result. On the other hand, there are the people, especially the mothers who put everyone else’s needs or requests before their own. As a result they often feel exhausted, drained, resentful and just plain cranky that they are not leading the life they would like, ultimately because of their own poor choices or perceived inability to prioritise self.
The irony is, they while putting self first can be perceived as being “selfish”, failing to place ones basic needs such as health, self care, exercising and time alone before that of the needs of others actually tends to make individuals function at a level which is far below their best. As a result of this, those closest of most important to us, whether it is our family, friends, clients or associates do not get to interact with us when we are at our best, so no one wins really.
A wise colleague of mine told me last week that he refers to people as either “me for me” people – those happy to self care first because they know that they are at their best for others if they put self first as opposed to “me for you” people who are constantly chasing their own tails. Which category do you fall into?