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Looking Out For #1

Larry James

Never allow anything to have a higher priority than looking out for number one. You are all you have. Never allow anyone, not even your love partner, to rob you of the single most important personal responsibility of your life. You must take care of you first. Only then will you be ready to face the daily realities of a love relationship.

Taking care of you first is a lifelong project. It is a lifetime commitment. It must be your top priority, your most specific intention. Don't take this one lightly.

Me first is not selfishness. It is not narcissism. Common sense says, "If I don't take care of me, who will?" Me first is only what it says. It says, "I care enough about me to make sure that my needs get met and that I will always only depend on myself for myself."

If you are looking for someone who will do this for you, forget it. Healthy love relationships aren't made up that way.

You never have to apologize or make excuses for taking care of you. Be careful about talking about how tough things are and how hard you work and how little time you have. Never be ashamed to tell people that you took a little time out for yourself. There is nothing wrong with looking out for number one, first.

If you have been in an unhealthy relationship, take care not to repeat the destructive behaviors of the past that brought you to this point.

We can get so busy working on trying to fix our love partner - an impossible task, I might add - that we forget that we are responsible for only fixing ourselves. Often we give ourselves so completely to our love partner we lose track of who we are and what we need for our own fulfillment in the relationship.

One of the reasons this happens is because we place more value on others than we place on our own well-being. We are more concerned about what others think of us than what we think of ourselves. Depending upon others for our feelings of self-worth is a major step in the wrong direction. I believe this scenario is initiated by our self-defeating thoughts and manifested by our self-defeating behavior.

Those who still can't get it keep doing the same old things and getting the same old results. They scratch their heads and wonder who they are and what in the world is going on. They haven't the foggiest notion that they may be the only problem.

Who would you have to become to take care of you first?

Think about it.

As you begin looking out for number one -- really paying attention to you -- your sense of self is elevated to a new plateau of awareness. You begin to rediscover those feelings of accomplishment you have hidden from yourself for so long, perhaps hidden by your lack of understanding about how important it is to accept the 'me first' philosophy.

You begin to feel better about you! That feels good so you begin to have fun being yourself once more. Your attitude about yourself is getting better. You feel good about who you are. You discover you are changing, people are noticing and it feels good. You regain your zest for living. Your attitude becomes, "Ain't life great! Let's go have some fun!"

High self-esteem is attractive to others.

I can think of only one exception. When other people have low self-esteem, they may feel very uncomfortable in the presence of someone who knows what they want, where they are going and what kind of relationship they want. They may feel intimidated by you. I say, "So what?" They may not be the kind of person you want to be around anyway.

Again, forget trying to fix them. You can't do that anyway. Only you can fix you.

When I say pay attention to you or take care of yourself first, I am not talking about self-centeredness. Self-centeredness breeds indifference to others. The arrogance of only looking out for yourself will find you being passed over in the relationship department.

I am talking about making a contribution to yourself with the same fervor and generosity you would for your love partner. Preoccupation only with self can leave both you and your lover very lonely. It is wise to pay as much attention to the needs of your love partner as you do to your own.

Balance is a prerequisite and a goal worthy of pursuit.

Copyright © - Larry James. Adapted from the book, "How to Really Love the One You're With."

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