Put yourself first and build your confidence the right way

This week, I received an email from one of my readers. He stated that he gets upset when people don’t reply to his messages. It seems that he is sending messages to his friends or, people whom he considers friends and he is not getting any replies. This can be very upsetting and can decrease your sense of self-worth. This is not good but if it is happening to you, it is a problem of your own making. Why? Because you are placing more importance on somebody else than you are placing on yourself. You are lacking confidence because you are not putting yourself first, your self-esteem is dependent on the actions of others. You don’t really need me to tell you that this is not a good situation to find yourself in.

Let me first look at some potential reasons why people might not be responding to you:

  • They meant to reply but they were so busy that they forgot
  • They didn’t think that a reply was necessary
  • They don’t value your friendship as much as you value theirs

Obviously, there are more potential reasons than those 3 but those are enough for now.

The solution to the first two problems are pretty obvious – follow up. And be careful about the means that you use to follow up. An email or text message are very easy to ignore. Make a call or, even better, speak in person.

However, it is the third option I really want to discuss here as it is one that badly impacts on the self-esteem and confidence of many people. They consider people to be friends when those people do not feel the same. That is not the biggest problem. It only becomes a major problem when you have limited yourself to a few friendships/relationships. While it is usually a good idea to ask the person, politely, why they haven’t been responding to you; you should also be putting yourself first in your own life. This means identifying the life you want to live, the goals you want to achieve and the way you want to spend your time.

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​5 Essential questions for putting yourself first

Good friends are those who share interests and passions. They may not agree with everything you say or do but there will be some common ground. The following areas need to be considered for you to meet more people like this.

If you are putting yourself first, you really should be able to answer the following questions:

1. What is your purpose?

Your purpose is the very essence of what you are trying to achieve in your life. It is the reason why you do the things you do. It may be your job but it doesn’t have to be. Think about your ideal vision of the world and then consider how you could use your knowledge skills and attitudes to help bring that world a little closer to reality.

The ultimate example of putting yourself first is to identify and live your purpose. When you have the courage to do so, you will find that you meet many people who share your views and are more compatible with you than those who never reply to you.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

Oscar Wilde

2. What are your values?

Your values are what is important to you. They are pretty much the rules you want to live your life by. You might not even realise that you have values but they are ingrained within you and; as soon as you behave in a manner contradictory to your values, you will feel the negativity of doing so e.g. if you value treating everybody with respect and you then disrespect someone, you will feel bad about having done so.

When you commit to living true to your values, you may find that some of those whom you considered friends don’t fit with your values.

Putting yourself first in your life means idenifying and living your values.

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3. Where do you want to live?

You would be surprised how few people give any real consideration to this. At least not until later in their life. However, living in the wrong place can prevent you from living the lifestyle you want to live and; doing the things you want to do e.g. try skiing in Malta or sea kayaking in Switzerland. Living where you really want to live is an often-overlooked way of putting yourself first.

Note: When you identify the lifestyle you want to live and, things you want to do; you will usually find that you have more than a few options for where you would like to live.

You were not put on Earth to live the same life as everybody else. Be yourself by putting yourself first.

Carthage Buckley

4. What hobbies do you enjoy?

When you are not putting yourself first, you often find yourself doing things because others want to do them; not because they are important to you. This is a waste of a wonderful life. Choose your hobbies based on what will bring the most joy and happiness to your life.

If you don’t know what hobbies you enjoy, identify a number of things that seem interesting and try them out. Make it your own little adventure. Again, it is a wonderful opportunity to meet people who are more compatible with you.

Simply put, make more time in your life for the things that matter most to you.

​Negative to Positive

Objectively assessing your outcomes allows you to view the past with a greater sense of positivity and realism. Setting you free to live positively in the present.


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5. What interests do you have?

I always had a passion for culture and learning about how other people live. I guess it’s not a huge leap from what I do in life. I have also enjoyed a deep passion for learning how people learn, behave and maximise their performance. I was never able to have a chat with most of the people I grew up with about any of these things because they are not the least bit interested.

In fact, I never considered Psychology when I was deciding to study for my first time at University because I had no idea what it was. Because I tried to talk about the things that interested others, I neglected my own interests. So, 7 years after leaving University, I went back and studied for a Master’s Degree in Psychology. I met many interesting people and as I have pursued my career in coaching, I have met many more. These people have taught me a lot, exposed me to things I never thought I would learn and not to be overlooked; they have shared some very enjoyable conversations with me.

Putting yourself first on a consistent basis is an important factor in self confidence. If you lack self-confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.

Conclusion

If you are upset at how others are treating you or, how you perceive they are treating you; it is often because you are not putting yourself first. You have built your life around others. You have put them at the centre of your life. Think about it for a minute. If you were at the centre of your life; would you really be getting upset at others for not interacting with you in the way you like? Unlikely! You would have met many people who share your interests, motivations and passions with whom you can spend and enjoy your time. So, be bold and be confident by putting yourself first.