Why Does Putting Myself First Feel So Bad?
By | Oct 23, 2014
The last year of engineering school, I worked my tail off. I had studied so hard, and was looking forward to giving myself a graduation present. . My friend Penelope and I planned to take a road trip from Missouri to Florida. I had never seen the ocean so I was really excited. For a whole year I carried around a postcard of a Daytona Beach sunset. The night before our trip, though, as I was packing my suitcase my mother tried to make me feel guilty for leaving. The next morning, when Penelope arrived to pick me up, I used every ounce of strength I had to walk out that front door and not look back. We had the trip of a lifetime – I got the chance to see that sunset and swim in the ocean for the first time. But I had also absorbed the message that spending money on myself is bad. Ever since, I have been all too willing to accept the short end of the stick, to pass on opportunities to invest in myself.
Earlier this year, I attended a conference that inspired me to enroll in an expensive writing class. My face flushed just thinking about spending that much money on myself and I hesitated. I had to really push myself to ignore the negative self-talk and to move forward. Not only did I sign up for the class, I also cautiously shared my long-term vision with my husband. He was totally supportive and enthusiastically helped me think through the commitment of time and money I would have to make. Just knowing that he had my back was enough to make me start singing!
A week ago, I spoke to a group of college students about what I wish I had known at age 25. I shared that I would have invested more strategically in my professional development. I challenged them to set a goal of attending at least one conference related to personal or professional growth every year.
Now, I am extending this challenge to you. If you are like me, and have tended to put everyone else’s needs above yours, resolve to take care of you. . Is there something that inspires you? Don’t hesitate to go for it. You don’t need anyone’s permission. It is not a choice between “selfish” and ‘selfless”. The goal is to live life without regrets.
Guest Blogger Cherrie K. Fisher serves as the Vice President of the Society of Women Engineers - Dallas Section. She is a Technology Professional at AT&T with over 25 years of experience. You may contact her directly via LinkedIn at Cherrie Kimbrough Fisher or on Twitter @WorkFromPurpose. The postings on this site are her own and do not necessarily represent AT&T’s or SWE’s positions, strategies or opinions.
“Ask whether you are satisfied. Consider how satisfied you are with your life, and if you aren’t, make a change.” EHNC page 189
“It’s about trusting your inner self, listening to yourself. That’s what it took me nearly fifteen years to work out, to learn to listen to myself.” Yvonne Jackson EHNC page 191