This question came up for me yesterday when I decided to make myself a healthy lunch. As I was assembling the ingredients that included, lettuce and basil from my deck garden, sliced strawberries, blueberries, shredded carrots, snap peas, walnuts and boiled shrimp dressed with a lovely olive oil that I bought out of a keg in a local specialty store, and champagne vinegar from Trader Joe's it occurred to me how much work this was. It literally took 40 minutes to wash, dry, prep, and clean up after myself. That seemed like an extraordinary amount of time to make little ole' me lunch.
Prior to that, I had spent my time talking to clients, making phone calls related to household issues, going through email, making my bed, swimming for 30 minutes, showering and getting dressed, having a simple breakfast, and all that seemed worthwhile. BUT how much time do I deserve to give myself to make lunch? Had I just grabbed some goat cheese and carrots, an oatmeal bar, or a turkey sandwhich on a bagel, or a can of soup it would have taken five minutes. Not only that, but it doesn't take that long to eat all of that. Whereas, it takes quite a while to fork, chew and swallow a big mixed salad.
So many of us are altogether willing to do for others, isn't that the American way? OK. So I decided I'm worth it, and followed it up with a yummy dinner that took about 20 minutes to prep, then cook. I also took the time to read, take a walk and meditate. I really had to work at self-nurturing and to believe that "I deserve it." But all too frequently, we come last. What happens when we come last? We become resentful for one thing, and we tend to expect others to make us first, or at least count, and when they don't, we get really angry. Additionally, no one ends up takeing care of us...if we don't.

When you have an underlying belief that "I'm not worth it," you have a tendency to expect less from yourself and from others. Taking care of yourself, contrary to what a lot of individuals believe, is not a selfish act. "Selfish," as defined in Webster's means, "ONLY thinking of yourself." I'm talking about adding yourself to the list of people you care about. And, insisting that others take you seriously and add you to their list. How? In a variety of ways including, respecting you and your beliefs and needs.
There is another thing. You have to remember to think of yourself. Does that sound familiar? Somehow when we are focused on taking care of others - of our job, our kids, our partner, husband, wife, parents - we FORGET ABOUT OURSELF. This happened to Rachel, a woman who comes to me for Teletherapy. Her doctor had given her some herbs and probiotics to take each morning on an empty stomach. Somehow though, she forgot almost daily because she was so focused on getting the kids out, or doing some other 'wifely' chore, until she came to realize that she was doing herself harm. We figured out that she could set her alarm thirty minutes early, in order to just take care of herself first. Take her herbs, meditate, dress in semi-liesure. She put her needs on the front-burner and it worked.
Needs, I say. Having needs is not a dirty word. Needs are a normal part of being human. And being needy is not a curse or an affliction. Perhaps if you are too needy, it's because no one's sufficiently met your needs when you were little If that's the case, then it's time to become your own good parent. Give yourself the love, attention and nurturing that you were cheated of as a kid. Start taking care of yourself and believing that you are worth it, you deserve it, and others will too. It's amazing how our own attitude toward ourself is contageous.
Take care,
All the best,
Dr. Rita

Author's Bio: 

Rita Bigel-Casher, LCSW, PhD. Teletherapist/Coach for Better Mindful Living, Confidence Building, Trauma Resolution & Relationship Health. Known as the STRESS DOCTOR, Dr. Rita has an uncanny ability to help people become free of what stops them from being who they are. She uses Telephonic EMDR,Somatic Experiencing, Cognitive Therapy, Artmaking, Hypnosis, Music & much more as a way to get in touch with the subconscious and release blockages from there. Wherever you are, Call 212-532-0032 for your Complimentary Consultation.