Saturday, December 21, 2013
Anyone who has flown in an airplane has heard the flight attendant explain that in the case of an emergency, place your oxygen mask on first, then help those around you. I understand why they say to do this. What good are you to those around you if you are dead? But do ya know what? I always heard it, understood why but processed it as "Yeah. Unless there are children or people who need help more than me. They come first."
I find that I've kind of taken this general approach to life. In my circle of friends and family, I have no problem trying to save them and help them. Actually I like doing it. I love the feeling of helping and making a difference in the lives of those around me. There's nothing wrong with that, right? Makes me a good, caring person, doesn't it?
This morning I had one of those "God Breezes" where things came to mind in an almost "slap yourself upside the head" kind of way. First, who asked me to help or save them? In almost all cases, no one did. When my Dad was dealing with his high blood sugar and losing weight, I sent him recipes, bought him a fitbit and cheered him on. When my husband was down and battling weight issues, I bought healthy food, a punching bag, new shoes, a fitbit and so on. I put my time and energy into other people and felt like I failed them when they stumbled. I put their success on me. Today it hit me that their journey is their journey. I can be supportive and if asked, offer help. However it's not my responsibility to save them.
This thinking led to the next obvious conclusion, it is my job to save myself first. Instead of looking for answers or expected reciprocated support in others, I have to do this for me. I need to put the time and energy I'm putting into others into myself. Because just like the flight attendant says "Put your mask on first so that you can help others".
I'm not sure why this is so difficult or why I throw so much of myself into others but I need to focus on me. It's my job to be there for them when they need me. Encourage them. Not save them. Not pour all my energy into them. It is my job to save myself so that I can be a role model for them. So that I can be my best self and be there when they do need me.