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Putting yourself first.

A lot of people find it extremely difficult to put themselves first.  They will spend a huge amount of time and energy prioritising other people and keeping other people happy.  Often saying yes to others can come way before an individual’s own needs.  And even more often, it can be so difficult for people to acknowledge that they have needs.

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In therapy we talk to our clients about putting themselves first. People can really struggle with this. They may say that this feels selfish to them, or that they simply don’t know how to do that.  But actually when good self-care is put in place, and when people do take care of themselves and their needs – they will in turn feel so much happier, calmer and content.

Making yourself a priority doesn’t mean being selfish.  It means saying no to things that you really can’t commit to, or not wearing yourself out by constantly putting everybody else before yourself.

Attending to your own needs can mean anything from making sure you get enough sleep, or nourishing your body with the right amount food, to ensuring that you spend time with people that make you feel good and happy.  It can also mean things like not over working, or not abusing your body with alcohol or drugs, or perhaps ensuring that you take regular breaks from a hectic work schedule.  Self-care is a huge part of attending to your own needs.  And our needs as individuals areboth physical and emotional.


Emotionally we will feel better if we take time to slow down, to rest and to re charge.  This can be done by doing things such as reading, yoga, relaxing etc but it can also be done by talking about feelings and emotions. Counselling can play a vital role in this, but so can a person’s support network.  The key in all of this is for people to maintain relationships with people that are positive in their life and that don’t pull them down or drain them. We often use the word toxic in counselling, and this refers to relationships that are negative in people’s lives.

RBLOG1A lot of clients that come to your counselling service are struggling with issues around relationships.  These relationships can be with friends, family, work colleagues or partners.  And a lot of the time the issues and difficulties have come about because people feel let down, hurt, or as though their voice isn’t listened to.

Sometimes this can of course be the result of how other people behave and act. And there are of courses examples of abusive relationships and of times where people are spending time with people that really make them feel pretty awful in themselves.  Our work as therapists is to therefore help peoples self esteem and confidence grow, and encourage them to get to a place where they put healthy boundaries in place and get what they need.


The way that people ask for what they need is a very important area to consider.  How often do you hear people say things like ‘I just need to take some time for myself tonight’ or ‘I’m sorry but I can’t come to that, I really need to rest’? These statements are very seldom used because people often struggle to assert themselves, and they also struggle even more to put themselves first.

A person’s history and circumstances can often impact on this. The types of relationships that they have had throughout their lives or seen when they were growing up, will often determine their ability to use their voice.  For example if children grow up watching a parent always saying yes, always attending to what everyone else wants and needs, then they are much more likely to mirror this behaviour and to feel guilty if they don’t.

Our childhood experiences can really influence the way that we respond to things and deal with them.  At your counselling service we work hard to help people understand more of what they have gone through and learnt growing up, in order to help them progress forward and act in a way that feels comfortable for them going forward.

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Our therapists work hard to encourage people to practice good self care and to put themselves first more.  We ask people to take regular time out during their week for themselves. This doesn’t just mean when they come to therapy.  But what it does mean is placing value on ‘me time’ and creating space to rest and also reflect.  Life can get so busy and full, and people can spend all their time worrying about others, that they can get lost.  Our job is to help them find their way again and to put themselves first.

Once people reach a place where they value who they are they will in turn feel so much better about themselves.  This can really help people when they are recovering from an addiction for example, or getting over a break up of a relationship.

Women embracing in rehab group at therapy

It can also help after a bereavement / loss, or in other situations such as when a person is living with depression.  With all of these things, a person’s self-esteem and confidence can be really fragile and broken.  It can take a lot of time to re build these and to heal.  But at the heart of this is learning to like themselves, respect themselves and to of course
prioritise themselves.  Our team of experienced therapists really understand this, and as a result we constantly encourage people to be ‘kind to themselves’

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