Being a family man who loves his wife and child very much, I understand the importance of family. I understand that taking care of your family and putting them ahead of your own wants and desires is important. However, there is one thing that I truly believe. That is that you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others.
There is something I want to make very clear with this message. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Doing what you need to for your own physical and mental health is not selfish. Taking the time to exercise and make meals and to do what it takes to maintain a healthy lifestyle is not selfish at all.
What’s so selfish about wanting to be around for your friends and family for a long time? What’s so selfish about wanting to have the energy to play with your kids? What’s so selfish about wanting to set a good example and teaching your kids that taking care of your health is important? Your children are watching you, learning from you, what kind of example are setting for them?
If they see you constantly chugging soda and eating massive burgers and whole pizzas, they’ll probably want to do the same. If they see you lying around the house being a couch potato all the time, that’s probably what they will want to do. At least at an early age, children really look up to their parents and often want to be just like them. This is why I don’t see how it’s selfish to take care of your body. Every parent wants what’s best for their child, and I don’t think it needs to be argued that growing up with a healthy lifestyle is what’s best for them.
Of course a big factor in all of this is how good your support system at home is. I’m very lucky to have great support at home. My wife is very understanding of my lifestyle and doesn’t get mad that I take time for myself in the gym almost daily. I too encourage her to take time for herself as well. We still spend plenty of time together as a family. Besides, a little “away” time is healthy if you ask me. Everyone needs their personal time, their “me” time. For me nothing clears the mind and makes me feel better than time at the gym.
I like to think getting that time to take care of myself helps make me a better husband, father, friend, and coworker too. I’m not trying to say I’m some phenomenal person who should be up for some sort of award. I have my weaknesses just like anyone, but I like to think that while I do make sure to take care of myself, I absolutely find it more important to put my family’s interests ahead of mine. With that you may be wondering how taking time for myself is in their best interest?
If I’m all stressed out and in a bad mood and not taking care of myself the way I should be, I know I won’t be the kind of supportive person I want to be for them. Let’s face it, someone who is in a bad mood all the time is no fun to be around for anyone. Lifting is my stress reliever. It seems like there is no problem a good hard lift at the gym can’t cure for me. A less stressed husband and father is a better husband and father, don’t you think? I don’t think anyone should always put everyone else first all the time without ever taking care of themselves. I feel if that does happen, they will eventually burn out, and their friends and family shouldn’t and most likely don’t want that either.
People who always put everyone else first are great people. It’s very noble and admirable to see someone who is willing to sacrifice everything for others at all times. At the same time though, they are breaking themselves down. They are some of the best, nicest people you’ll ever meet, but there always seems to be a dark cloud over their head because they are worn out, and it makes them stressed and unstable. They can be physically and mentally worn down most of the time. All the while not understanding that the one’s who care about them the most, also want what’s best for them too. Support is a two-way street. If support is only coming from one direction, something’s wrong.
Sure, maybe in the short-term you’ll spend a little less time with your friends and family by being active and healthy. However, if that in turn means you’ll be around for them longer doesn’t that make it well worth it? You’ll be happier, and so should your friends and family. You must take care of yourself to be able to truly take care of others.