How much do you put yourself first?

When you do something, how much do you care for yourself and how much do you care for others?

Out of a scale of 10.

Do you care for yourself 5 and for others 5?

Or do you care for yourself 3 and for others 7?

Or do you care for yourself 6 and for others 4?

True respect for ourselves means that we care for ourselves 10, care for others 0.


It appears completely against the social and Buddhist value! What about compassion for others???

I heard this concept of 10-0 from experienced psychotherapy colleagues, Mr and Mrs Obo, in Japan. They also practice Buddhism.

Today I was talking to a close Buddhist friend of mine about my seminar.

It’s always so useful to hear feedback because every feedback identifies blind spots. 

Our discussion was around what it really looks like to “trust” and “respect” ourselves.

I shared with her a story that I heard from Mia.

Mia had a client, Amy, in her 50’s, who suffered from depression.

Amy was so responsible for her family and doing everything possible for them.

But her husband was often absent from home for work and golf over the weekends. Her son was swearing at her whenever he saw her.

When Mia asked Amy about the same question, she answered that she cared for herself 0, and others 10. She always put others first.

So Mia encouraged her to think “From now, let’s do 10-0. You give 10 to yourself.”

Amy found it really difficult to put her first, but kept telling herself “10-0, 10-0” on her way home.

She then realised that she had never cooked meals that she wanted to eat since she got married over 20 years ago. She always thought about what her family wanted to eat.

So she decided to cook what she wanted to eat that day as the first step towards 10-0.

A week later, Amy came back to the clinic and said to Mia,

“Strange things are happening at home…”

“These days my husband lets me know what time he comes back home so he has dinner at home tonight or he eats out. He has never done that before.”

“My son, too, has started telling me ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ these days.”

Amy had been doing good things for her family, but it was on the sacrifice of herself. It resulted in depression.

When we are able to truly respect ourselves, it positively influences our relationships with others. 

“True 10” – this is the most genuine way to be ourselves for our own sake, and to be in relationship with others. 

Putting ourselves first means to stand our own ground of worthiness. It is not at the expense of either ourselves or others.

If what we do truly benefits ourselves, it will naturally benefit others.

Even if we do good things for others but on the sacrifice of ourselves, this will cause us to suffer.

When we suppress ourselves and are unable to speak our truths, it will reinforce our frustration at others. That will affect our relationships with them.

Living true to our own life will naturally lead to living our life for the sake of others as well.

All we need is to seek to live a life in a way that is most natural and true for us.

Both my friend and I thought how simple is that 🙂

(I know easier said than done!)