As I've gotten older, I've also learnt how to be more selfish.
I've learnt that I have to be a bit more selfish for the good of my mental health.
A few years ago, I would have done anything for anyone. I said 'yes' to everything, I went way out of my way to help people (literally and figuratively), and I was spending much more time thinking about other people than about myself. I would always put others first, even if it was a hindrance for me, and I wouldn't do anything that may hurt someone in any small way.
I don't want it to come across as though I was perfect, because I wasn't. Constantly putting others first was making me sad, as I didn't have any time for myself or ever think about what I needed. Not wanting to hurt people meant that I wouldn't speak up in certain situations, in case I offended the other person, and I found that my friendships suffered a bit because I wouldn't show that something had annoyed me - instead I would just sit and stew about it for days on end. I felt like I wasn't always being completely honest. It was just making me depressed because I didn't always allow my own needs to be met.
Now I have learnt how to say 'no'. If there is something that I really don't want to do, or a favour that someone asks me that will put me at a disadvantage in some way, I will say 'no'. I will try to help them find an alternative, but I won't do something that I really don't want to do. Of course, if it's something that I have to do, I will do it. And this mindset has made me so much happier. I now find that I have the time to do things that I enjoy, and time to see the people that make me happy.
I have found that my relationships have flourished, because I have more time to spend with the people that I really want to be around, and I am more honest with those people.
In the past I always tried to make a huge effort with everyone, and I was terrified about people not liking me. Now I don't really worry about what others think about me, and believe that my friend and family's opinions about me are those that really matter. I don't use my spare time trying to be friends with everyone - instead I use that time to really connect with the people that I want to be in my life. I've stopped stretching myself so thin, and I feel much more comfortable in my relationships due to that change.
I now do a lot of things just for me. Things that will benefit me, and me only. For example, I spent today in Homesense and other homeware shops by myself, just because I fancied it, and I had such a lovely day. If I want a night in by myself, I'll have a night in by myself. If I want a night surrounded by my friends, I'll invite them over for dinner. And if I really don't want to go on a scheduled night out, I'll let my friends know (without feeling too guilty about it - the guilt still gets me sometimes even though I know people are fine about it!).
I guess what I was trying to get through via this rambling post is that it's okay to put yourself first. In fact, it's healthy to put yourself first sometimes. As nice as it is to do something for someone else, it also feels great to have a night in pampering yourself and relaxing. Spend your life doing things that you truly want to do - see the world, buy that amazing coat, pick up the hobby you find really interesting, have some crazy nights out and some hilarious nights in. Don't look back and regret what you didn't do. Do it for you.
If you are not obsessed with your life, change it.