If someone takes a step back and reflects on their life, what they can see is that they often do things that they don’t want to do. So, they can have the tendency to say yes when they would rather say no.

As a result of this, they are going to spend a lot of time doing things that don’t serve them. They could see that they have been this way for as long as they can remember and are now at the point, where they have had enough.

A Closer Look

If they imagine doing what is right for them and living a life that is in alignment with their true self, they can end up feeling guilty. As opposed to doing the right thing by being there for themselves, then, they will be doing the wrong thing.

Due to how strong this inner experience is, a big part of them could conclude that it wouldn’t be right for them to change their behaviour. It might then not be long until they go back to behaving in the same way.

Inner Conflict

But, as there is another part of them that is not happy living in this way, it is unlikely to be long until they take another step back. After a few days or weeks, then, they could wonder why they feel bad when they put themselves first.

If they were to talk to a friend about what is going on for them, they could end up being told that there is no reason for them to feel this way. As far as this friend is concerned, then, putting themselves first will be the right thing for them to do.

Going Deeper

Now, if they imagine putting themselves first and stay with the guilt that enters their conscious mind, they could come into contact with other feelings. They could find that along with feeling guilty, they expect to be rejected and isolated if they do what is right for them.

Thus, not only will they be doing something wrong by putting themselves first, but they won’t be supported and will end up being all alone. At this point, it could be said that what is going on for them is irrational.

The Truth

Ultimately, even if changing their behaviour causes some people in their life to pull away, there will be other people who will enter their life. These people will support them for who they are.

Based on this, they can change their behaviour and know that their life will gradually get better. Yet, although they can agree with this, it doesn’t mean that they will just be able to change their behaviour.

Weighed Down

What this is likely to illustrate is how strong this guilt is; they will be more or less paralysed by it. From the outside, then, they will look free, but, from the inside, it will be as though they are in a prison.

If this is how they have been for as long as they can remember, there is a chance that it is a consequence of what took place during their formative years. This may have been a stage of their life when they had a mother or a father who wasn’t very loving, supportive or kind.

A Tough Time

The main priority of this parent would have been to make sure that they did what they wanted them to do, not to provide them with what they needed to grow and develop in the right way. To do this, they would have typically made out that they were bad if they didn’t do what they wanted.

As they needed their attention and acceptance, they would have been willing to do just about anything to please them. The trouble is that while this would have allowed them to receive attention and be accepted, it would have caused them to develop a negative relationship with their own needs and feelings.

A natural outcome

They would have come to believe that their needs and feelings were bad and that the only way for them to be loved and supported was to do what others wanted. Furthermore, thanks to how they were treated and the pain that they experienced, they would have lost touch with their true self.

Focusing on the needs and feelings of others, while being estranged from their own needs and feelings, would have become the norm. How they behave as an adult will then be a continuation of how they had to behave as a child.

Built On Sand

With this in mind, the toxic guilt that they experience when they put themselves first is not a sign that they are doing something wrong; no, it is simply a sign that they are going against their early conditioning. Most likely, their mother or father were deeply wounded during their early years and for whatever reason, were unable to heal any of their inner wounds, which is why they repeated what was done to them or something that was very similar.

If their mother or father had been able to be there for them and provide them with what they needed, putting themselves first would feel comfortable. Having this understanding won’t necessarily transform their life but it is a key point for them to keep in mind.


If someone can relate to this and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided with the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author's Bio: 

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis cover all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, self-worth, enmeshment, inner child, true self and inner awareness. With over three thousand, six hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

To find out more go to - http://www.oliverjrcooper.co.uk/

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