How High Are You on Your List of Priorities?

Fri Apr 17, 2015

If you take a few minutes and just reflect on this question, “How high are you on your list of priorities?”, what would your answer be?

For most people, they’re not usually at the top of their list. All too often, we put family, relationships, personal and professional priorities ahead of ourselves.

Why is it difficult for so many of us to take care of ourselves first?

Could it be because we’ve been conditioned to do things for others first because if we don’t, we’ll be considered as being selfish or self-centred?

how to prioritise your needs before others

reasons to put yourself first


How we take care of ourselves is directly reflected in what we do for others and how we do it. If we’re always putting other’s needs before our needs, we’ll run out of energy, drive and motivation to look after ourselves properly. That can have serious consequences on our health, the quality of our relationships and how well we function each day.

When we travel on an airline, we’re always told, in an emergency that requires us to put on an oxygen mask, we should always put ours on first before helping someone else with theirs. That’s a good example why attending to our needs first is better, not just for ourselves, but also for those we interact with daily.

5 Things to Consider if You’re Not High on Your List of Priorities

Here are five reasons why we should consider putting ourselves at the top of our list of priorities all the time, or at least the majority of the time.

  1. When we give to ourselves, we can easily give to others. One of my mentors always says, “We cannot give what we haven’t got.” That means if we don’t have compassion, love, respect or kindness for ourselves, we won’t be able to truly give them to those who are important to us. The more of those things we have for ourselves, the more we’ll have to give to others.
  2. It is better for our health and well-being long-term. If we don’t take time out to look after ourselves and are constantly putting other’s needs before ours, we’ll reach a point of exhaustion or burnout. And if that happens, we really won’t be able to serve others. A great mantra, especially for those who have children, is to say, “My needs are just as important as your needs.”
  3. We become a role model for others like us. Once we pay greater attention to our needs, it’s like we give others permission to do so as well. It won’t be a surprise if others we know are also putting the needs of others before themselves. By becoming a role model, those close to us will benefit as well.
  4. We will have a better relationship with ourselves. When we’re kind to ourselves, we smile more and enjoy the little things in life. Others will also be able to see the change in us. One way to determine whether you’re kind to yourself or not is to answer this question, “Would you be friends with someone who treated you the same way you treat yourself?”
  5. Our overall quality of life will improve. Just by putting more focus on our needs, it will be reflected in our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviours, how we communicate, and how much we do for others. We’ll become more attractive to others because we have a healthy respect for ourselves, and that will continue to enhance the experiences we have.

Putting ourselves first before others can be confronting for some as it challenges their paradigms. It’s important to recognise that there must be a healthy balance between serving other’s needs and looking after our needs.

The choice is ours whether we want to put ourselves first or not. If we’re willing to try it out, we may well get a new lease on life.

Action Step: Review all the priorities in your life and conduct a 30-day experiment where you put your needs before the needs of others. Notice what difference that makes to how you live your life.

Question: What is one simple thing you can do to put your needs as high as the needs of others in your life?


  1. Jane Ransom

    Love it! As an introvert, I often must demand more “space” from loved ones than they’d prefer. But I know it’s the only way I can remain loving, appreciative and authentic. If I didn’t put myself first in this way, people I love would end up seriously disappointed by a frazzled me. Thanks for the validation, Neel!

    • Neel Raman

      I’m like you, Jane… I will always ensure I’m in a good space first before considering addressing the needs of others. I cannot serve others well if I don’t look after myself first. Thanks for sharing your preferences.

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