The Oxygen Mask of Life

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Help yourself before helping others. This will allow you to offer the greatest level of help which is you at your best.

I often hear from people who are unhappy with their current state of being, be it weight or other health issues, that they don’t have time to care for themselves because they have to care for their families or loved ones. Maybe a trip to the gym is replaced with helping your child do homework or a run is missed due to caring for an ill family member. I recently had one of these conversations with a woman dealing with weight issues. While listening to the multitude of reasons behind her recent weight gain I couldn’t help but get this image out of my mind.

 Oxygen Mask

When you get on a airplane there are certain constants that we all take for granted but when they were first introduced they created debate and people of the time questioned their rationale. We have heard a thousand times and will hear it a thousand times more. “In case of an EMERGENCY, an oxygen mask will drop from the compartment above. Place the mask over your mouth and nose and breathe normally. If you are with a child or someone unable to help themselves, place the mask on YOURSELF BEFORE HELPING OTHERS.” Basically, if you can’t take care of yourself you will be no help to the people in your care. Lets write that the other way and then apply it to the woman earlier in the story. “In case of EMERGENCY, place the mask on everyone around you that can’t or chooses not to care for themselves. Then and only then (if you are still strong enough with your oxygen deprived body) place it on your OWN nose and mouth and try to suck the last ounce of oxygen left in the tank. If you feel like passing out, smile at your loved ones who are now worried about your health and look helplessly at your decline, and know that you did all you could for everyone but yourself” The later is not a safety instruction I want to hear from my stewardess.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It is the exact opposite. You can only love if you love yourself, you can only give strength to others if you have strength in yourself and you can only take care of your loved ones if you decide that you are as worthy of the same care that they are.

Breathe deep and pass it to those in need. Coach Glass

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