Loving others best by loving yourself
By Scott Morgan
“In the event of a change in cabin pressure, the oxygen mask will drop from the overhead compartment. To start the flow of air…” I always stare wide-eyed at the flight attendant when she gets to that part of the safety speech. In my head I’m begging for her to amend the presentation with the statement, “Now after you’ve had your panic attack or meltdown, reach up to your mask.” Feels more accurate.
The objective is that they want you to get the mask going on yourself before helping your kids or anyone else. Why? Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, then you can’t be of help to others around you.
This is a life principal, by the way. We get so wrapped up in the busy, in the stress and in the routines of kids, family, work, and other commitments that we forget to take a moment or two for ourselves. Think of a bucket full of water…that bucket is your capacity and the water is the attention you give others. As you tend to everyone and everything else, you’re scooping out water. Sometimes it’s a little, yet other times it’s a lot. With every scoop, the water level diminishes…until finally you’re empty. When you’re empty, you’re done. Not a great way to be.
You can’t tend to others if you don’t tend to yourself. Replenishing your bucket is an absolute necessity. Give yourself permission to refill it daily. It doesn’t necessarily take much or long (though a trip to the Keys every so often wouldn’t be so bad), just do something. Daily prayer and reading, maybe some journaling. Could be some yoga or a walk. Hitting up your favorite coffee shop. There are numerous options. Pick something and make it happen.
Jesus spoke of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. Part of loving ourselves means giving ourselves permission to refill our buckets, so we can continue to love on the world around us. It’s the most selfless thing we can do for ourselves.