Place your own oxygen mask on first…
Here’s a simple question for you: “How much of your day do you spend doing what is best for you, as opposed to doing what other people want you to do or think you should do?” Put another way, “How closely do you follow your inner voice?”
If your answer is anything like, “Not enough,” then read on.
It’s amazing how conditioned we can become to living our lives according to the plans, ideas, expectations and unwritten rules of others. Many of these externally-established messages are well-intended, positive and helpful. But sometimes the script that others would have us follow in life isn’t exactly what’s best for us.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that as parents, leaders, coaches or caretakers we should abandon the needs of those for whom we are responsible. In these roles, we’re obliged to consider and focus on the well-being of others. But there simply must be room in each dayto tune in to our own needs. Our own voices.
We’ve all heard the familiar mantra of the airline flight attendants during their pre-flight instructions, “…make sure to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to help someone else put on theirs.” If you’re traveling with a child or elderly person, you naturally may want to ensure their safety first, before helping yourself. But the idea is that if you ignore your own need for oxygen, you may be unable to help your loved one and, if that happens, you may put both yourself and your loved one in danger of serious injury or worse. The moral of this message is, “If you don’t take care of yourself first, you’ll be unable to care for your loved ones in their time of need.”
So, what is one thing you could focus on for yourself that would build up your own “oxygen” and allow you to better attend to the needs of others?
Thanks to my classmate, Valarie Irons-Poppiti for inspring me with her Haters photo post.