Why You Must Obey Yourself and Your Own Needs

Always put yourself first. Obey your personal needs, desires, and “musts” in life before trying to help others:

Street photography collage by ANNETTE KIM

We all have inner-desires and “musts”. Yet, we often ignore our own personal needs in order to “put others above ourselves”.

Street photography collage by ANNETTE KIM

However, if you ignore your own personal needs what will happen is:

  1. You will build resentment towards the people you are trying to help
  2. You will become disempowered, and physiological symptoms of depression (lack of motivation) will start to sink in.
  3. You will become weaker, which will prevent you from having the strength to help yourself and others.

Why do we ignore our own personal needs?

This is my theory: Christian morality teaches us to do anything “selfish” for ourselves is evil. Thus, the only “good” actions we can do are for others, never for ourselves.

I want to challenge and overthrow this notion.

First of all if your goal is to help others, how do you expect to help others if you’re weak and disempowered? If you’re lacking motivation to help yourself, how do you expect to have the motivation to help others?


I prefer the idea that you’re giving to others and helping others as a consequence of your own personal superabundance. This way, you’re never going to give to others and expect something in return. You’re giving for the sake of giving, without need for the gratitude of the other.

This means build your own personal strength to the maximum. Then, when you’ve reached level 100, then of course you can help “carry” others who are weaker than you.

First focus on your physical health

I believe that focusing on your physical health is more important than focusing on your mental health. Why? If your physical health is strong, most likely your mental health will also be strong.

Why do we have a brain? We need a brain in order to provide for our body (movement, acquiring food and water, heat, shelter, avoidance of getting killed by predators).

If we no longer need our bodies to do active movement and physical actions, we don’t need a brain anymore! Thus, it only seems to make sense that the root of many mental disorders are rooted in the physiological (inside the body, muscles, bones, tissues, blood).

How to prioritize your bodily needs

Simple things:

  1. Sleep enough every evening that you can wake up feeling refreshed, without feeling “sleep deprived”. Ideally to sleep enough to wake up without an alarm clock.
  2. Physical exertion: Everyday lift something heavy at least once (deadlift, squat, dumbell press) or at least stress your muscles and bones (bodyweight exercises, yoga, etc).
  3. Walking: If you don’t need to walk anymore, why do you need two legs? The purpose of human hand eye coordination, our two legs, is in order to walk and move! Thus walking and moving on a daily basis is probably as (or more important) than eating and drinking water everyday.
  4. Prioritize movement: It isn’t a luxury, it is a bodily need. Would you go a day without eating food? Of course not. Would you go a day without walking or moving?

Focus on your mental exercise

Exercise both your body and mind. Some good mental exercises:

  1. Reading books which interest you, which challenge your beliefs and thinking.
  2. Verbal debates: Practice debating your own opinion with others, in order to practice your logic-reasoning, and your ability to build arguments and think critically.
  3. Blog: Use your own blog as a way to distill your thinking and ideas. When I’m blogging, I’m actively using my mind. Use your mind to select photographs, to write, and to flesh out your thoughts.

Why photography is so great

Photography is BOTH a physical activity AND a mental activity, and it is fun, and you make artwork.

Thus I guess the conclusion is this:

Never ignore your need and desire to photograph, make art, or create things!

Prioritize this above all!


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