I am on my way to Mexico for a little rejuvenation and a lot of fun. I remember the first time I heard the flight attendant say, “put on your own oxygen mask first and then help others”. I thought to myself, “what is she crazy?” Normally I would be traveling with both of my kids and my first instinct would be to protect them and then worry about myself. The older I get, I realize how important that tiny instruction really is.
Have you ever felt drained because you are constantly catering to everyone around you? You give and you give until one day, you’ve got nothing left. Your tank is empty from everyone slowly sucking the life out of you and it doesn’t take long until you start to resent them. You get frustrated over the endless amount of give, give, give while all they do is they take, take, take. The worst part is you took the pin and stuck it in your own balloon and now you wonder why you feel so deflated? You have to know when to say no to everyone else and yes to yourself. What we forget is that people can’t take advantage of us unless we allow them too. You decide what to give. The point is, there has to be balance. You have to fill your own tank so it never empties out. It’s only when your tank is full that you can really love and provide for others. So put on your own oxygen mask first, so you can be there the way everyone needs you to be.
And just like that, I discovered all I really needed to know.
I was leafing through Timehop yesterday afternoon and I stumbled across a post I had written a year ago. It was about being a mom and having enough courage and accountability to consider all children mine. I really believed that if everyone took on the responsibility to save all children, our world and theirs would be a better place.
Here I am a year later feeling run down from the overwhelming responsibility I feel all the time. Everywhere I go is an opportunity to teach someone to be more together. Just last night I showed up at Olive Garden for my daughters birthday dinner and yet another fiasco. The day before I had called to make reservations and when I arrived, they told me they don’t make reservations for Saturday evenings. Okay, great, but someone did. This kind of thing happens all the time. No wonder I am feeling drained and overwhelmed. I take extra time to over prepare and everything still gets screwed up on the account of others. Its a daily thing.
I know now that I cannot save the world and when the plane is going down I must reach for my oxygen mask first. Even though those instructions never sat right with something inside of me, I get it now. I can only save myself or sacrifice myself. As much as I want to blame others, ultimately it comes down to my choice. I am my sole responsibility. I shudder as I type those words.
The truth is this, we kill our own spirit sometimes trying to be successful. We drain our own energy supply by feeling overly responsible for everyone and everything around us which takes us away from the most important feeling of all, being happy. At the end of the day, what could matter more than that?