“Me first” is usually associated with selfishness, but I ran into this one very obvious exception the last time I flew.
As the flight attendant was showing the few passengers who were watching (yes, I was taking notes..) how the yellow cup with the oxygen bag attached would fall in front of your face should the cabin lose pressure, the pre-recorded announcer said the following words: “adults should put their masks on first and then assist their children.”
“How counter-intuitive is that?” I thought. I cannot imagine a parent out there who wouldn’t have to fight their basic instinct, which would be to help their child first. But there it was, loud and clear: Put your own mask on first.
What hit me right between the eyes when I heard that directive is how pivotal it is to living a happy, balanced and productive life. Whether you are dealing with a house full of little kids, a stressful job, caring for an aging relative, trying to help others financially or just having a busy week, if you don’t take care of your own basic needs first.. irritability, fatigue and resentment will surely start to build.
We are no good to anyone if there’s nothing in the tank. Taking time to exercise, watch a movie, meditate and pray, get a manicure, take a bubble bath or go to the mall may feel selfish when there’s chaos swirling around you, but it’s critical if we want to reach out from a place of strength and wellness to build loving, positive, healthy relationships and minister to those in need. We can serve others better.. the better we take care of ourselves.
So when life starts getting a little crazy, always remember…put your own “mask” on first.