The Most Powerful Way to Make the World a Better Place is Not What You Think It Is

Kristi writes for Juggling Normal and Medium. This post first appeared here, and is published in full with permission.

Oh, hey, hi, nice to see you. So, yeah, here we are, meeting again, in a pandemic. Fun times, right? What have we learned so far? The world is a dumpster fire, and we are more divided than ever?

That’s one narrative. Frankly, I’m not that into it; it’s not particularly helpful or necessarily true.

Let’s not give it another thought.

If you jump on your favorite platform and search the hashtags #covidkindness or #somegoodnews, it will boost your faith in humanity. Really.

Ok, moving on.

I really need you to do something — I need you to choose yourself, and by that, I mean, put yourself first. Again and again and over again, until you move powerfully through this world, instinctively prioritizing your life.

I really need you to do something — I need you to choose yourself, and by that, I mean, put yourself first. Again and again and over again, until you move powerfully through this world, instinctively prioritizing your life.

How do you feel about that advice? Does it trigger something in you? Do you feel uncomfortable? Do 900 objections come to mind? Does it seem like the exact cause of the dumpster fire? A billion or so people putting their needs above everyone else’s?

That’s not what I’m talking about. Stay with me because it is the key to a better world.

I’m going to speak to the females with this one, but if you are male, that’s cool, this can be adapted for you too.

Let’s chat about the five ways choosing yourself makes a difference.

1) Choosing yourself means healthier relationships and a better marriage.

What the? I know, it feels a little bit contrary. Isn’t intimacy about selflessness? Isn’t friendship about giving? Kind of. Relationships are about love, mutual respect, and partnership. When one side is the giver, and the other side is the receiver by default, the relationship hits a pretty low ceiling.

The relationship can only grow as much as the power dynamic that supports it, and that’s all there is. There’s no reciprocity, no vulnerability, no surprises, no charm. That consistency may feel comforting at first but inevitably will feel stifling.

2) Choosing yourself means being empowered to live a higher quality of life.

You might think that deferring, accommodating, or even putting someone else’s happiness above yours is generous. And it can be if you are empowered before you do that. But if you are the person who always comes second, you will miss out on your best life.

The person who always comes in second doesn’t develop resiliency because she can’t trust herself to navigate the world independently or follow her instincts. She is always looking for clues from others about what to believe, how to act, or when to respond.

The person who always comes second doesn’t feel courageous because she doesn’t lead, choose, or act decisively; she reacts, follows, and acquiesces, and those behaviors don’t require courage.

The person who always comes in second doesn’t develop confidence because she doesn’t know her boundaries, test her limits, or acknowledge her desires.

When we miss out on the gifts of resilience, courage, and confidence, we feel like something is missing.

3) Choosing yourself means taking a big step towards equality.

If that correlation feels like a stretch to you, know this: Always putting someone’s needs before your own means you’ll likely accept less pay for your work, tolerate unfair working conditions, question your worth and worthiness, and blindly accept dogma that undermines your life. You may even support or love someone who perpetuates the problem.

Equality is a function of leadership and grassroots influence, and if you aren’t choosing yourself, you aren’t contributing to the solution.

4) Choosing yourself means fixing systemic problems.

Much like issues of equality, other systemic problems, such as healthcare, politics, education reform, environmental issues, etc., are primarily influenced by the authority figures in that arena.

When we don’t have a seat at the table, we are at a disadvantage. When we aren’t champions, advocates, allies, or leaders, we aren’t necessarily represented in the solution — it’s not for us.

Put another way, how many problems wouldn’t have escalated to such a degree if women would have been a part of the conversation?

5) Choosing yourself means choosing others who also choose themselves.

Choosing yourself makes life better. Simple as that. When we choose ourselves, we attract other women who are doing the same (or, for that matter, men who respect our choices).

When we connect with other smart, amazing, real women and men, the collective energy is contagious. It feels limitless and optimistic to be surrounded by people like that. There’s no holding back or managing expectations, only creating positive change, doing amazing things, and lighting up the world.

There are a lot of quotes with the phrase “it starts at home.” It fits here because the standard you set with your family is foundational to, well, everything, but home is also you. You are your home.

How you feel about yourself, your worthiness, mindset, truth, potential, and perspective combine to influence, well, everything about your life.

When you love yourself, you glow from the inside. You attract people who love, respect, and appreciate your energy. Everything starts with how you feel about yourself. Start feeling worthy, valuable and deserving of receiving the best that life has to offer. Be magnetic.

Choose how you want to love and be loved, choose how you want to experience life, what your best life means to you. Choose your people, choose yourself, put yourself first, and watch what happens. Just watch.

PS: When you do this, choose yourself and raise your standards for what you want and what’s possible, when you believe in a better future, you give others permission to do the same.

You know what else? When you no longer accept anything less than your best life — for yourself, your children, and others — it unites us.

We rise together. And that, my friends, means the world. To all of us.

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