University is a time of growth, and I’m not only talking about things such as academic achievements or learning how to live on your own. What I would like to talk about today is learning how to prioritise yourself. This topic lies close to my heart as I wouldn’t have come to Aberdeen if I hadn’t dared to prioritise my own goals and needs. Leaving everyone you love for some vague dream of always having wanted to move abroad is hard, but I knew that not coming here would be something that I’d regret forever. I saw no other choice than to choose myself. Something which I think summarises this quite nicely is the song “Budapest” by George Ezra:
Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away
My friends and family
They, don't understand
They fear they'd lose so much
If you take my hand
But, for you
I'd lose it all
When I hear these words, I picture myself taking my own hand. Because the way I see it, everything is worth losing for oneself. When I say this, I don’t mean that we shouldn’t appreciate those around us. It’s an incredible thing to have friends who support you and who help lift you up when you fall. But although you may not always have to pick yourself up, it is ultimately you who need to put yourself back together. The fact that you have the ability to heal a broken heart or to decide that you are enough shows how important it is for you to keep choosing yourself.
No matter how cliché this sounds, self-prioritisation isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. You’d think that prioritising yourself enough to move to a country in which you don’t know anyone would strengthen your ability to put yourself first, but I constantly forget to do so. And that’s problematic, because choosing to prioritise yourself isn’t just something that you should do when faced with big decisions. It’s something that you should strive to do everyday. George Ezra says to give him one good reason as to why he should never make a change. I try to think of one good reason as to why I shouldn’t choose to prioritise myself in any given situation. As my brother told me when I was hesitant about moving here: “The best investment you can make is in yourself”. I try to carry those words with me wherever I go and I think that you should too.
So how does one prioritise oneself then? The key is to do something that you want to do simply because you want to do it. This includes life-changing decisions as well as seemingly insignificant choices. It applies to moving countries, but also to choosing to leave the library when you really cannot be bothered and you know that your deadlines can wait, or choosing to stay at home when your friends are all going out. This may sound an awful lot like procrastination or just pure laziness, but it’s really just knowing what you need and can afford, and acting upon it. You’ll gain more than you can imagine when you learn how to listen to yourself and your body.