Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Putting Yourself First May Be the Best – and Most Unselfish – Thing You Can Do

 You, yourself, more than anyone else in the Universe deserve your love and affection. ~ Buddha?

I used to wonder who decided that I was to be a giver instead of a receiver in this life. Well, now I know. I myself made that decision, and I was all of 10 years of age at the time. As young as I was, it seems I had come to a decisive point in my life. I realized I was a conscious, thinking human being, and was searching for something that would lift me up and beyond my current circumstances to a more desired life. At first, I tried finding what I was looking for by visiting some of the churches near our house, but found that their messages of “hell-fire and brimstone” were not what my heart and soul sought. I realized fully that the situation in my birth family figured in my quest also, as I was the seventh of 10 children and was born a highly-sensitive introvert. I yearned for the individual attention, guidance, and love my life was missing, and which was an impossibility in such a large family.

 The decision I made in an innocent Mother Teresa-moment was to choose the path of love and to always give priority to the needs of others (primarily my family members) instead of selfishly focusing on myself. Then I would receive back what I so sorely desired. Being a voracious reader, including books on family issues, I thought I knew how to help fulfill my needs and benefit others. For a time I focused extra attention and caring on my parents and siblings, but it made no difference in the lack of attention or acceptance I felt.

 So I extended my attention beyond the family and discovered that the responses to my selfless-do-gooder actions were beginning to make a difference in my life. It started when Miss Rule, the elementary school librarian, took me under her tutelage and I became her number-one assistant, which was a boost to my self-esteem. Something obviously shifted in the “little me,” for each teacher throughout eighth grade, responded to me in ways that were a balm to my heart and I wanted more of the wonderful feel-good feelings. Those positive feelings were so strong that I remained on the path I had chosen, unaware – or not caring – that I often ignored any preferences or needs of my own to help others.

As a grownup, once I began to focus on the lesson of self-love, which is invaluable to a balanced and happy life, it was clear that some childhood conclusions – like mine – can be the source of poor life decisions, less than healthy relationships, and an unfulfilled life. I realized that my immature decision to put others first no matter what the situation was – needed to be reexamined by a mature adult. And I was the only one who could do it.

What I discovered – became fully conscious of – was that this childhood decision was the source of active conflict in my adult life for at least a decade. It started with the publishing of my books and realizing that in addition to being a highly-sensitive introvert, I had become a spiritual contemplative. This meant that I had no interest in pursuing fame or fortune. I just wanted to follow my chosen path and to fulfill my life purpose – which is to continue growing through life instead of just going through it – and sharing the insights I gained to help others create better lives. I’m in the process of learning to balance self-love with loving and releasing others to their own destinies, and with my background this is a tall order and will take time.

The more I realized that I had been controlled by that subconscious order to always help others, the more I recognized that while some of the “motherly” things I had done through the years may have been truly love-based and healthy, some were not. Sometimes the others involved could have resolved their own challenges and learned vital life lessons, and sometimes my involvement could have been simply an unnecessary interference and probably caused emotional stress for all concerned. Now I’m beginning to experience a feeling of peace and wholeness when my actions come only from love and are positive for all concerned, and a feeling of emptiness and sadness when I realized they are ego-based and come largely from a long-term habit.

I’ve known for a long time that everything in life happens for a reason, and we’re here on Earth to learn the lessons that present themselves. For example I learned a long time ago, after having three children of my own, that there’s no way I could have fulfilled all the individual needs and desires of the 10 children my parents had. Who could? I’m sure that as parents, beyond providing a child’s basic need for shelter, food and love, it is part of the curriculum in Earth school to choose to use what challenges/opportunities life delivers us to fuel our unique life journey. The more challenging our circumstances have been, the greater the gift in overcoming the past.

 I also realize fully that everything that happened in my childhood, including the directive to choose the path of love, is what fueled me to continue on the spiritual path. That decision eventually led me to finding my life purpose, and now the opportunity to open more fully to it. I also recognize how vital self-love is in creating the lives we desire and deserve. And for those insights I bless everything that ever happened in my life for they have brought me more joy and happiness than I ever dreamed possible. Thank you, God. I have no complaints.

 Now that old directive has been replaced by a new one – to be a loving, benevolent “bystander” for those I care about. I will be there when they truly need me, and ask me, and I will remain free to focus on my own soul-growth. This requires conscious commitment, discipline and awareness every single day. It also means I continue working on loving myself so that my level of self-love is at a high level. This keeps me healthy and happy, and any decisions I make are based on selfless-love that benefits all concerned.

Helping others is a blessed life goal, but I’ve learned how important it is to put our own oxygen mask on first, because if our needs are not met, we have little or no ability to help others.

Whenever I fail, or when I doubt, or when I’m down – I remain kind and loving to myself. 

 10 Easy-Peas-y Ways to Build Self-Love, Self-Compassion and a Happy Life


Write down what your “self talk” says about you. If it’s critical, change it to loving words.

Write out a list of your best qualities, life gifts, abilities and look at it often.

 Look in the mirror each day, lock eyes and say I love you – continue until you can feel comfortable and filled with self-love.

 Forgive yourself, others, release the past, and live in the moment.

 Set boundaries and say no to anyone or anything that does not align with your core values, your heart and soul desires, and your highest and best good.

 Meet challenges by going within and asking your inner guidance to tell you the lesson you are to learn. Don’t give up. You already know the answer.

 Meditate. Go within to experience the bliss and deep inner peace within us. Conscious awareness is inherent in this process. You will soon recognize and release old patterns and behaviors and transform your life experience. (See Meditation Made Easy in my Spiritual Warrior book.)

 Say each day with passion: I Am God’s Magnificent Vessel of Greatness!

 Repeat often during challenging times: There is an opportunity in this to learn a lesson. Thanks. Everything happens for my good (eventually) and I’m going to be gentle, kind and loving to myself every day.


Copyright © 2014 by Fern Stewart Welch 

The author’s books: “Becoming a Spiritual Warrior of the Heart (April 2013); “Tea with Elisabeth,” recipient of the 2010 Silver Award for Non-fiction; “You Can Live a Balanced Life In An Unbalanced World,” (Nov. 2008), and “The Heart Knows the Way – How to Follow Your Heart to a Conscious Connection with the Divine Spirit Within,” (Feb. 2008), are available at, other online booksellers, as well as bookstore chains such as Barnes &I Noble.