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Put your mask on first

lindsay rider Jun 26, 2018

I'll level with you.  It was just this past year that I was most recently scolded by my mother.  Folks, I'm in my 30's.  Tough love.  Sometimes though, we just need a reminder from those who know and love us.  

You may be asking: 'And what the heck did you do?!'  Well.  I'll tell you.

I'm the kind of person who wants to help in any way I can, every way I can.  I say 'yes' too much (though I'm getting way better at that), and believe in the benefit of the doubt, and want to embrace second chances.  This particular time though, I said 'yes' without fully considering the consequences I would take on.  

Now sure, sometimes you do a thing just for the simple reason of being self-less, and it's important to be of service.  But this wasn't that - this was me putting myself in an unhealthy situation for the benefit of the "what if".  I did it because I was curious; because I wanted to believe things could be different this time.  But I knew the answer already and knew in my gut that sometimes, as Maya Angelou says, you must believe who people show you they are, the first time.

You know when you're in an airplane and the safety video comes on before takeoff, and most everyone ignores it.  Well, the other day I was remembering how frustrated Mom had been with me when I was on a plane, and I was reminded of some crucial safety measures in that video that are perfectly aligned with the life lesson I needed to be reminded of:  Put your mask on first.

The idea is: How are you supposed to reasonably help anyone else if you don't first take care of yourself.  


This is easily applicable in some areas - like, it's probably not the best idea to lend out money that you don't have.  Or, it's not sustainable to double book your time or over commit.  

In this case though, my lesson was to make sure that I wasn't entering into agreements and partnerships that were one-sided.  The kind of relationships that are just death-eaters for the soul, and don't offer anything of value in return.  All take, no give.  

To put your foot down and put yourself first isn't always easy, especially for a "helper" like me.  But this time, a switch went off, and I realized that this relationship wasn't getting me any closer to my goals and was more taking me off track, and sucking away my joy and energy to put towards my very important goals.  

Just as importantly, I had to remind myself:  In order to help others, you've got to make sure you are OK too.  If you're not, you do a disservice to those you want to serve.

I'm happy to say that this 'gentle' reminder was what I needed to re-mind myself of this lesson.  Being back on track feels soooooo good, I gotta tell you.  Like the difference between a screen door that is moving perfectly, and one whose track is a little off and takes too much effort to get moving.

Now, I'm zipping along once more.

Thanks, Mom! 


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