Put Myself First?
"Self-Love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting."
Though William Shakespeare said it more poetically, there is a modern version we've all encountered:
"Adjust your own oxygen mask before assisting others."
Isn't that selfish? even cruel?—Really?—Let's play out the scenario:
There's a reason that oxygen masks drop down from the overhead compartment on a plane. There's a lack of air at that moment—a vital component of consciousness—and—always a good thing to access. At a very basic level, if there isn't enough air to breathe, we'll pass out and literally become dead weight—not to mention being of no use to those who might really need our assistance.
And how is this helpful ???
The moments it takes to don and adjust your "mask" (prioritizing your needs) are negligible compared to the thought of "time wasted" helping Your Self before others.
Let me repeat myself—The moments it takes to don and adjust your "mask" (prioritizing your needs) are negligible compared to the thought of "time wasted" helping Your Self before others.
This goes against what many of us were taught, and continue to practice, doesn't it?
So how do we break the habit /pattern? Let me offer a different practice. Go back to three basic steps:
STOP—Dare to do nothing.
BREATHE—Draw in oxygen
ASSESS—The right action.The next time you feel the need to help, fix, or rearrange someone else's "mask" (your perception of their distress), ask Your Self this simple question:
"Is my own oxygen mask already in place?"
Be honest. Don't dismiss the question with excuses like:
"I don't need one" / "they" need my help" / "it's just natural for me to care for others" / "I'll get to myself later" and so on ......
Tend to Your Self first—then others.
Ultimately, it will help them even more in the long run.