For as long as I've been on this planet of ours, I've been taught that putting yourself first in any situation could be perceived as selfish - and that selfish, is the worst thing you could ever be.
I was raised to be kind, generous to others, and hyper-aware of my actions. I was raised to make sure I was never doing anything that might upset or hurt someone else. I was essentially raised to put others needs first - a wonderful quality if you have no needs of your own, and one that can inevitably take its toll on your people-pleasing soul.
Inevitably, at some point between childhood and adulting, I became the world's most dedicated pushover...
...This title perfectly summed up my personality, as I was almost always overlooking my own needs for others, going out of my way to ensure the happiness of the world around me, even if it left me feeling horrible.
Need a ride that will most likely make me late for my own destination? No worries, I'll help!
Need me to work on something for you on a Sunday when I'm halfway to the beach with my family? I'll stop what I'm doing immediately, just to make you happy.
Said something to hurt my feelings and put me on the verge of tears? All good, I'll swallow it instead of saying something to upset you. And cry about it in private.
Sad, right? More like pathetic. Well that's how I lived almost 31 years of my life. As the world's biggest pushover. Missing the self-love I so desperately owed myself. Giving, giving, giving, never getting much in return - and wondering why I always felt so empty.
The pretty much overnight, thing became a lot more clear. It happened when I had my first child.
One who, when I first held her in my arms and looked down at her perfect, angelic face, helped me to realize that I could NEVER let her live life solely to please others. No way - wasn't going to happen. Not if I could help it.
Then it dawned on me. Self-love is not selfish. It's critical for happiness.
I realized that if I were going to raise this little being to love herself, advocate for herself, and stand up for herself when necessary, that I'd better start setting the right example. This didn't mean eliminating kindness. It didn't mean doing away with generosity. It certainly didn't mean being less than loving to anyone in my life. What it did mean, though, is having enough self-confidence and self-love to say no when something doesn't suit my needs, my schedule, or my lifestyle. It meant standing up to someone who might have said something hurtful or derogatory in my presence.
It meant, instead of constantly giving, learning to take, for once. Take time for myself.
It meant showing my daughter that you can still be the kindest person in the world, while still wielding the power to put your own needs first when necessary - the true meaning of self-love.
It means that I've built a career on the transformation I've gone through. Working with other women to help meet their business and personal needs with a mindset intent on self-love and self-care. Intent on making the world a better place - starting by loving and honoring the person inside of you most of all.
And most of all, this means being empowered. It means sharing what I've learned about empowerment. Empowerment, by definition, means to increase the degree of autonomy and self-determination in people in order to enable them to represent their interests in a responsible and self-determined way, acting on their own authority. I was implementing this first and foremost with my daughter, and then with the rest of the women around me.
It means that I'm willing to share my deeply personal journey with thousands of women at this October's Women Empower Expo - an event that seems to have been built on all of the new principles I stand by.
So that my daughter, and all of the other women in this world, will hear loud and clear - you ARE enough, enough to put yourself first, enough to leave the past behind, and enough to find success, in all aspects of life.