Just as when we sit on an airplane, during the instructions from the stewards about safety, we hear, “If you are with a child or someone needing help, fix your own oxygen mask first, then help them with theirs.” It becomes apparent you cannot help someone if you are lacking oxygen. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
It does, unless we’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family, one who practices codependency. It’s not unusual for the adults to bluster, fluster, and scatter about, with high anxiety, and craziness everywhere, re-enacting “Who’s on First?” I’m glad to see almost every bit of self-care writing begins with taking care of you first.
It’s neurotic and just impractical to care to the health, welfare, and happiness of everyone else first. A natural answer to the question, “What can I do to others,” is not do for others so they don’t have to do for themselves. Enabling is just that – doing so they don’t have to for themselves. They will learn nothing if you do it for them, except to learn how to manipulate others into enabling them.
Certitude is the absolute conviction that something is true. Once we make others understand we are all here to take care of ourselves, we will have the confidence to set boundaries and enforce them. We will also be able to walk the walk and talk the talk. Not many of us can do both at once. It’s a difference in our lives we can be proud to model to others.
As we practice self-care and boundaries, we see the value in others doing for themselves. There is no contest for self-sacrifice, especially when it’s destructive to us and others. Having strong convictions about these things is what makes us good examples, citizens, and friends. Try establishing this as a habit for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
As we get closer to Thanksgiving, it’s easy to feel alone and out of it. We may need to work at remembering how we are blessed instead of what we are lacking. Take extra time to be grateful and you will soon be changing your outlook. It is so very worth it. I remember years when the most I was grateful for was that the car started. Or it was paid for. And no one was ill or arrested or hungry. Look deep, you’ll be surprised what you realize.
Have a good rest of the evening, and we’ll see each other again tomorrow. Be safe out there.
One thought on “Help Yourself First”
I’ve always loved this saying: “You have to light your own candle before you light others’.”
It’s not selfish to care for ourselves first, because the value we can offer the world depends on how strong we are ourselves. Can’t give a thing if we don’t have anything ourselves. Anyway, thanks for this post!
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