by Anastasia Strgar

Sometimes, I’ll admit, I kind of envy men… It seems like they’ve always had it all figured out. They’re used to putting themselves first. But usually women, especially young women like me, are so used to putting family, friends, or other people first, we have no idea what it is that will make us happy- or if we do we feel bad about wanting what we want. There is a difference, however in wanting what you want and needing to know all the answers because you’re afraid or you think that something outside of you will make you happy.

So to start, let’s put aside this belief that if we get a certain answer or person or thing we’ll be happy. Happiness comes from inside of us, and until we are willing to ask the real questions out of a place of wholeness, then we’re not actually ready for the results.

Putting yourself first may seem selfish at first, however, it’s the only way to really choose anything- a relationship, a job, or a move. If you’re not deciding for yourself than you’re ultimately going to find somewhere down the road that you want something different or that you’re not feeling fulfilled. So whether you’re in a relationship or not, decide to put yourself first.

1) Start by identifying at really looking at yourself. Why do you feel like you don’t deserve what you want? What’s holding you back?

2) Take a stab at changing bad thinking patterns- whether they’re negative stories about your life or a general sense of unease, they usually stem from some story about your own unworthiness. Practice being present in your life, create positive mantras and repeat them every time your brain goes off the deep end and be grateful for your new mindfulness.

3) Take good care of yourself. Establish a meditation practice, try out a new exercise routine, eat well, get enough sleep. If the machine isn’t cared for, there’s no way you’ll be caring for your mind and spirit, as well.

4) Practice making decisions just for yourself. If you’re doing something and it no longer feels good then change it. You have the power to make yourself happy or miserable.

5) Surround yourself with positive people and don’t be afraid to let a few go. It’s better to be completely alone then to be surrounded by people who are negative or are not supportive of this new you. So if it means meeting a completely new group of people, then so be it!

6) Don’t wait! Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” This means that if you’ve always wanted to try something new then why wait?!

Remember that it’s always okay to ask for help, especially when you’re just getting started. Also remember that while this gets easier over time, it also takes quite a bit of practice, so don’t expect anything to happen over night. Soon, you’ll find it easier to make decisions and you’ll be surrounding yourself with people who support your journey and that have similar goals as yours.

Good Luck. Love yourself!

Anastasia Strgar, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon with a B.A  in journalism, has been writing about love and relationships for several years. She has written short stories and romance novels, penned the love and sex column  in the  school newspaper and wrote several blogs. As the eldest of founder Wendy Strgar’s four children, she has been inspired by watching her parents’ marriage and strives to put those lessons to use in her own relationship. She believes that teaching her peers early on about how to maintain healthy relationships  is essential to creating a future generation of loving partnerships. She currently works as the Director of Public Relations and Magazine Editor at Good Clean Love.