By Natalie Rivera
You know when you’re in an airplane and the steward does the demonstration and tells you “in the case of an emergency and a drop in cabin pressure, put your own oxygen mast on first before assisting other passengers.” It’s cliché but most people miss the point. Have you ever stopped to consider WHY? Because if you don’t put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and you lose consciousness, you are unable to help anyone else. In the worst case scenario, both you and the person (such as your child or a partner or a stranger) that you are trying to save will die. It is the same in life. You must honor yourself, care for your own needs, and do what you know in your heart is right for you. If you don’t, both you and those you love suffer. I know it can be hard to give yourself permission to be selfish. Self-sacrifice is a habit with a lot of momentum.
Most of us are taught that selfishness is bad. It’s not true. Being willing to be selfish—and take care of yourself so you are at your best and, therefore, are able to bring your best self to the world and those you love—is the most selfless thing you can do.
If you look back at your life you’ll see that there are times when you made decisions that truly honored YOU. Times when you did what you loved even if it was unpopular. Times you chose not to participate in something you knew wasn’t right for you. Times you gave yourself a reward or took a much needed break. And because you made those decisions, you improved your psychological and emotional state. You became stronger. Your cup became full. And you were better able to care for yourself and others.
What decisions have you made in the past that honored you? How did they turn out?
In what ways are you not honoring yourself or taking care of yourself?
Are there situations in which you are self-sacrificing (or have) to the point of self-harm or no longer being able to help those you are sacrificing for?
What changes could you make that would help you put on your own oxygen mask on first, so that you’re better able to assist others?
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