wife holding husband's hand, making him a priority in her life

Be a Priority Not an Option - Learn How to Turn the Tables

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding why you feel like an option rather than a priority can empower you to improve your self-worth and relationship dynamics.
  • Identifying signs of being a backup plan helps in making informed decisions to enhance your relationship status and personal growth.
  • Implementing steps such as recognizing your worth, setting boundaries, and investing in self-improvement can shift your role from an option to a priority.

Have you ever felt like you're always the backup plan, never the first choice? This feeling is a sign that it's time to reassess your self-worth and the value others place on your time and energy. Being a priority is not just about demanding attention; it's about recognizing your inherent worth and ensuring that others see it too. Whether in friendships, romantic relationships, or even professional settings, the shift from being an option to a priority can dramatically change your life's trajectory.

The Psychology Behind Feeling Like an Option

Ever wonder why being someone's option, rather than their priority, can leave you feeling so down? It's not purely an emotional response; there's a solid psychological reason behind it. When we constantly find ourselves as the backup plan, it subtly tells us that we're not quite important enough to be someone's first choice. This can be a tough pill to swallow, impacting our self-esteem and happiness in profound ways.

  • The Science of Rejection: According to social psychology, rejection activates the same pathways in the brain as physical pain. This means that not being prioritized by someone can literally hurt, echoing feelings of sadness and exclusion.
  • Self-Worth and Validation: Humans have an innate need for belonging and affirmation. When our value is constantly placed on the back burner, it challenges our self-worth and can make us question our importance in someone else's life. It revolves around feeling worthwhile and knowing that we matter.
  • Dependency Dynamics: Often, finding ourselves constantly as the option and not the priority points toward unbalanced dependency dynamics. This unequal give-and-take can lead to feelings of helplessness, reinforcing feelings of being secondary and not valued enough to merit priority status.

Understanding the psychology behind feeling like an option rather than a priority can be empowering. It allows us to address the underlying issues affecting our relationships and take proactive steps toward ensuring we feel valued, respected, and, most importantly, prioritized.

Signs You're Not a Priority But an Option

Feeling like you're just an option rather than a priority can be subtle at first, but certain signs make it unmistakably clear. Recognizing these signs not only helps you understand your current position in someone's life but can also guide you toward making decisions that align more closely with your worth.

  • Always Taking the Backseat: If your needs and preferences are consistently overlooked in favor of someone else's, it's a classic sign you're not at the top of the priority list. Imagine planning your entire weekend around someone, only for them to cancel last minute because something 'better' came up. Ouch!
  • Communication Feels One-Sided: You're always the one initiating contact and responses, if they come, are sluggish and unenthusiastic. If you find yourself constantly checking your phone, hoping for a reply that rarely comes, it might be time to reassess your position.
  • You're the Fallback Plan, Not the First Choice: If you usually get invited out only after other plans fall through, it's not by coincidence. Feeling like someone's Plan B can really sting, especially if you’re treating them as your Plan A.
  • Lack of Commitment to Plans: Ever notice how your plans together are always vague? "Let's hang out soon" never materializes into a concrete time or date because you're being kept as an option if nothing more interesting comes up.

Identifying these signs is the first step. It's about recognizing where you stand and making informed decisions on how you want to proceed in relationships. Remember, your time, energy, and feelings are valuable. Don't settle for being someone's backup plan when you deserve to be their highlight.

A man feeling important and valued amongst his friends, shifting from an option to being a priority

How to Shift from Being an Option to a Priority

Realizing you're more of an option than a priority can be a tough pill to swallow. But, it's not the end of the story. With intentional actions and a shift in mindset, you can move from being someone's backup plan to their main agenda. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Recognize Your Worth: Start by knowing your value. You are not a convenience; you're an asset. Remind yourself daily of your qualities, talents, and what you bring to the table. This isn't about arrogance; it's about self-respect. You deserve to be treated with importance.
  2. Set Clear Boundaries: Boundaries communicate to others how you want to be treated. They are a sign of self-respect. If you're unaccustomed to setting them, start small. For example, if late-night calls are eating into your sleep, let it be known that you're not available after a certain hour. Boundaries help deter those who only see you as an option.
  3. Pursue Self-Improvement: Invest in yourself. Whether that means picking up a new skill, reading personal development books, or working with an online life coach, improvement makes you feel good about yourself and signals to others that you are a priority in your own life. This energy attracts more meaningful and respectful interactions.
  4. Communicate Your Feelings: If you feel undervalued, express it—calmly and clearly. Often, people aren't aware of the impact of their actions. Conversation can enlighten them about how you wish to be treated. Remember, communication is key in any healthy relationship.
  5. Re-evaluate Your Relationships: Sometimes, no matter how much you bend and stretch, some people will never see you as a priority. That's more about them than it is about you. It's crucial to know when to step back and possibly walk away from relationships that don't serve your highest good.

To shift from being seen as an option to a priority, action is required. It begins with how you see yourself and is maintained by the boundaries you set and enforce. Be consistent, value yourself highly, and watch how the dynamics in your relationships change. Always keep in mind that anyone worth your time will recognize your worth and treat you not as an option but as a first choice!

Techniques to Help You Feel Special and Important

Feeling special and important isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity for a healthy, fulfilling life. Yet, so often, we look for validation from external sources, forgetting that the most profound sense of importance comes from within. Here are some powerful techniques to cultivate your sense of self-worth and remind yourself that you are invaluable.

  • Practice Affirmation: Start your day with positive affirmations. Look yourself in the mirror and affirm your worth, strength, and potential. It might feel odd at first, but these words can rewire how you perceive yourself. “I am worthy of respect and love,” is not just a sentence; it's a powerful declaration of your inherent value.
  • Invest in Personal Growth: When you dedicate time to your development, it sends a message—to yourself and others—that you view yourself as valuable. Learn a new language, refine a skill, and join courses that align with your interests. Growth-oriented activities bolster your self-esteem by reinforcing your capabilities and achievements.
  • Create a Gratitude Journal: Acknowledge the small victories and blessings in your life through a gratitude journal. Writing down what you're thankful for cultivates a positive mindset and helps in recognizing your worth. This habit can significantly shift your perspective, highlighting your special place in the world.
Man sitting in the balcony spending quality time with himself alone
  • Set Aside ‘Me Time’: Regularly dedicate time exclusively for yourself. Engage in activities that make you happy and relaxed, whether it’s reading, hiking, or meditating. ‘Me time’ is essential in appreciating your own company and reinforcing the idea that you deserve moments of joy and relaxation.
  • Cultivate Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that mistakes are part of growth and not indicators of failure. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a dear friend. This practice builds resilience and a healthy sense of self-importance.
  • Surround Yourself with Positivity: Choose to spend time with people who uplift you and recognize your worth. Ditch the naysayers or anyone who makes you feel less than. Positive social interactions reinforce feelings of specialness and importance, providing an external resonance to your internal beliefs.
  • Master the Art of Saying No: Saying no to requests that drain your energy or infringe upon your boundaries is empowering. It’s an assertion of your priorities and a testament to recognizing your value. Each no can help solidify your understanding of what matters most to you.
  • Reflect on Your Achievements: Keep a record of your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. Reflecting on what you’ve achieved fosters a deep sense of pride and reaffirms your significance. Knowing you can accomplish goals proves your ability and importance.

    Applying these techniques can greatly affect how you see yourself and how others perceive you. They are tools to remind you of your uniqueness and importance in a world that often tries to make you forget. Integral to feeling special is the understanding that you don't need to be an option in someone’s life; you are already a priority on your own!

    Husband and wife spending quality time at home, prioritizing themselves and their relationship

    Famous Quotes to Inspire Your Journey

    • “You always have time for the things you put first.” - Anonymous
    • “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
    • “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey
    • “Priority is a function of context.” – Stephen R. Covey
    • “If it’s a priority you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn
    • “Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.” – Mark Twain
    • “Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Gandhi
    • “Sometimes things in life happen that allow us to understand our priorities very clearly. Ultimately you can see those as gifts.” – Mariska Hargitay
    • “When you know what’s most important to you, making a decision is quite simple.” – Anthony Robbins
    • “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    Final Thoughts

    Making the shift from being an option to becoming a priority is more than just a change in treatment; it's a way to recognize your own worth. It requires a mix of self-reflection, assertiveness, and sometimes, the courage to walk away from situations that don't serve your best interests. Remember, being a priority starts with treating yourself as one. You are the author of your life's story. Make sure you're not just a footnote in someone else's.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How does feeling like an option affect my mental health?

    Feeling consistently undervalued, like being someone's option rather than their priority, can significantly impact your mental health, leading to decreased self-esteem and increased feelings of rejection.

    What are practical steps to become a priority in someone's life?

    To become a priority, start by valuing yourself, setting clear boundaries, communicating effectively, reassessing unbalanced relationships, and consistently investing in your personal growth.

    How can setting boundaries improve my relationships?

    Setting boundaries helps communicate your needs and expectations to others, ensuring that relationships are mutually respectful and supportive, which can prevent feelings of being taken for granted.

    What role does self-improvement play in being seen as a priority?

    Investing in self-improvement not only boosts your self-esteem but also shows others that you value yourself, which encourages them to treat you with the same level of respect and importance.

    Why is it important to reassess relationships where I feel like an option?

    Reassessing such relationships allows you to determine whether they are beneficial to your well-being and growth, or if they perpetuate feelings of being undervalued, enabling you to make decisions that prioritize your mental health and happiness.