The safety instructions on planes always used to puzzle me.
“Put your own oxygen mask on first.”
I always wondered about the young children, and the elderly, shouldn’t we help them first?
Being told you’re selfish might be the most shameful thing ever
You’ve been conditioned to put on everyone else’s oxygen masks before you dare put on your own. Even after all that time healing, and the realization you need to take better care of yourself, you still put everyone else’s expectations first.
You slotted back into your old routine, and back to the stressful job you used to love with its long hours. You’re happy you can leave the house and contribute financially to your family again, but it’s taking it’s toll.
At the end of the day, you’d like to feel that there was more to health than this. There has to be more than what everyone else expects of you, indeed there has to be more than what you’ve been taught to expect of yourself.
You can’t give what you don’t have
You can’t help your husband, your kids, your employer or anyone or anything else you care about if you’re not in a position to do so. Putting your own oxygen mask first is an essential part of maintaining your health, and finding your way:
- Don’t lean on other’s opinions of what you should do, and trust what feels right to YOU. You need to be prepared to disagree with people to protect your own self interests.
- Think about what you really want, those things that are most important to you, and put that at the top of your list. If that’s health, happiness and balance for example, a demanding and stressful job is going to compromise that regardless of the money your earn.
- Create your own definition of success. Society tells you that’s a nice house, a mortgage, a car, and forever chasing the next pay raise and promotion. But does that fit YOUR definition of success? You get to decide this.
- Learn how to say NO, to things that don’t light you up. NO is an empowering word, try using it more often.
- Schedule your self care routines as a matter of priority. Put them in your calendar if you have to!
Here’s one extra, because putting yourself first is THAT important
What’s more important to you, money or time? Money we can always make more of, but we can’t make more time. Give yourself the time you need to figure all these things out.
If you don’t honour how illness has changed you, if you force fit yourself into your life as if nothing happened, you will eventually run out of steam. If anything is truly considered selfish, it’s to burn yourself out and deprive your loved ones of the vibrant person you really are.