The Problem With Putting Yourself Last

Shani Silver
2 min readJan 9

For those who learned people-pleasing really early.

Photo by Shani Silver

This is for anyone raised to believe that putting yourself last was commendable. Those groomed to play small, to make life easier for others. We were praised for needing nothing, for forgoing what we really wanted in favor of what others wanted to give, and we were also rewarded for being “okay with” the least-good version of literally anything, because how convenient was that? If someone has ever called you “too much” and your head whipped around in a speedy and confused “what the actual fuck?!” you get it, and you’re who I’m talking to. I call us the Corner Pieces.

The Corner Piece is the best piece. Of the brownie, the lasagna, the cake, whatever — it’s the prize, the best possible outcome, and we’ve been letting other people have it our entire lives. When you grow up learning that giving the best to others while never having the best yourself is not only the correct way to live, but maybe the only way to live that will earn you the love and safety of others, you can go a lifetime without a corner piece of anything. Whatever’s left is always “good enough” for you. You can learn, and later reinforce for yourself, that good things are only for other people — they don’t belong to someone like you. And then when nothing good ever comes our way, we wonder why.

This is an excerpt from 1982, a newsletter by Shani Silver. You can read the whole thing here.

Shani Silver

Author, podcaster. shanisilver@gmail