You First


  • Author Tessa Hankey
  • Published January 14, 2023
  • Word count 1,168

As children we were very good at voicing what it was we wanted, didn’t want, liked, and didn’t like. Much to our parents' squirming we had no filter, a fact was a fact and we very easily said what we thought and wanted.

As we got older, we learnt to think before speaking, and over time we didn’t voice what it was we wanted, we kept our thoughts and wants to ourselves. It was all about sharing, doing something for others, being a model of society, or what we thought society needed of us. We put a lid on our desires, so as not to seem selfish and unthoughtful to others. We were put on this earth to fit in, or so we thought……

Our thoughts about the world, how we act, how we present ourselves came at a very young age. Our parents didn’t know any different, as they learnt what they teach us through their parents and other authoritative figures in their lives. It’s a cycle of thinking, we believe we are passing on amazing teachings, when in fact we are silencing our children’s voices.

Did you know, and I find this pretty cool stuff, that between the ages of 1-7 our minds take on everything that is going on around us. We are learning from what people tell us, what they say to other people, and how they act. We are a sponge taking in absolutely everything. We watch how our parents, and authoritative figures around us, treat and react around others, and we start mimicking that behavior.

As we grow older we also take on other factors. The need to belong is a big one, we have a human emotional need to be accepted by what we perceive to be our group, our tribe. We want, and need, people to like us, so our voices learn to be silent just so we can fit in with how everyone else is acting around others. So in exchange for being accepted we forgo our independence, our individuality and uniqueness, we learn not to voice what we really want. We decide that the collective thought is the right thought, who wants to be ostracized because we want something different from our group?

What about needing social validation? We copy the actions of others in an attempt to reflect the correct behaviour, the correct opinions. We believe that if somebody else is doing it, then that must be right for me too. How do you think advertising works? They use our need to belong, our need for social validation to sell to us what we should have, what we all need. It’s a scary thought, and unfortunately using our vulnerability that we already have, does work.

The last factor is the internal insecurities that we have on the person that we are. The lack of confidence to open up and say what it is we are wanting. The thoughts that we have when another person doesn’t do what we expect, it’s our fault, we caused this behaviour to happen. If we had just kept quiet about our needs, then none of this would have happened.

Is any of this sounding familiar?

What would happen if we lived in a society where people were just the way they feel inside. Voicing their needs, putting their wants, needs, desires first. Doing something that makes them feel good, before helping and being there for others.

What would happen if nobody criticized each other or thought them selfish for wanting to put themselves first? Can you imagine how free we would be, not afraid to make ourselves happy, not afraid to lose our group, of not belonging, not needing social validation, not having those internal insecurities putting ourselves down…… being fully happy within our own skin, our own mind and spirit. Wouldn’t this be bliss?

Start questioning the reason you do not voice your wants, don’t wants, likes, dislikes, is it because you think you are being selfish?

If you answered yes, what would you think if I said you are not being selfish at all? Hear me out before you close the door in this conversation.

We have a habit of putting everybody's needs before our own, and this is so true if you are a mother. We ensure that our partners, children, loved ones have everything they need….. That’s our role as a mother right?

What if I was to say that if you put your needs above everyone else, including your children, that you were actually giving more to them. Sounds weird right? Hang in there, let me explain.

When we give, give, give to others, we pour a lot of our heart and soul into it. We put so much energy towards others that it starts depleting the energy that we have inside of ourselves. Look at it like we are a cup of water. When we pour water to give to others, we are emptying our cup. When we run out of the water what do we have? We have nothing, we are depleted.

Now, if we were to give to others, depleting the water, then stopping to give ourselves what we need, then what does the cup do? It starts replenishing, so we can look after ourselves as well as give to others. If we continue to replenish our levels, we’ll never deplete, we will never not have enough to give to others ever. Isn’t that giving more to others than what you possibly could have before? How amazing is that thought!

It’s important to put yourself first, which can be quite daunting if you’ve never thought about doing the little things for yourself before. It’s important to be able to refill your cup, because if you love giving to others you can actually give more. If you don’t want to give more, that is OK too, you’ll have enough for the next time you do give to others.

What is one thing that you can do for yourself today? What is one thing you can say, you can voice, about your needs, wants, your likes, dislikes? Just one thing, and then tomorrow, what is another thing you can do or say?

If we start positively voicing our needs, and doing the special things for ourselves, then over time you will find it easier to do. If you don’t start, where will you be next week, month, year, 5 years time? Exactly where you are today, giving and giving to others, and not giving anything to yourself.

Remember, it’s OK to take timeout for you, to voice what it is you want and need. To give yourself the love that you provide to others. You are important…… others see that and now it’s time that you do too.

Refill your love by loving yourself first. In love and light.

Tessa ♡

Mindset Evolving

Hello, my name is Tessa Hankey

I’m on a mission to help thousands of women navigate their way through all aspects of their busy life, helping them to gain confidence as a woman, so that they live a fulfilled life.



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