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Why do they tell us when riding on planes to put our oxygen mask on first before our own family?

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

I ask myself that question because I am naturally a giver. I love to give, to make people happy and to see them smile. Unfortunately, in the not-so-distant past and at one really tough point in my life, I sacrificed in giving so much even at the sake of myself.

At one time, I gave of myself beyond what was healthy and I overextended myself to the point that I lost so much weight that even I didn't recognize myself and I was smaller in size/weight than I preferred. It was not good. And the weird thing was, I couldn't eat anything much at all during this time. I would even get sick when I thought about eating. How could I let this happen and get this far out of control with my eating where I literally could only eat very small portions, if any, for weeks and months at a time?

How is that possible to get to this point like I did in this situation? Well, when you look outside of yourself for your worth and you don't realize your own value it can happen easily. Its when you look for your happiness from outside circumstances rather than from yourself.

It's looking for others to validate you versus you knowing the beauty you have on the inside. It's not knowing the beauty you have on the inside to the point that you try super hard to please everyone and when you don't please others you beat yourself up even more and do things against your own self and actual survival.

How do I know this? Because I lived and breathed this way for quite a while at one point in my life and really for many years of my life. It’s kind of sad when I think about how many years I lost not understanding my own value. But, I can see that this way of thinking was crucial in my own self-growth to get to the other side of internal joy that could not manifest without the trial and error of figuring my self-worth out step by step.

Why is it so hard to realize that you need to put your oxygen mask on first? Because it means that you would take care of yourself before any human being. It's sounds so cruel when you think about it. But, is it cruel? Or is it very appropriate?

Years ago I would have questioned this and even said well NO-- I will put the oxygen mask on my daughter first, or my husband first, or my parents first, or a close family member first, or my close friends first. And now I say I would have to put it on myself first. Why?

Because if I don't put my oxygen mask on first, I won't be around for anyone else-- it's only in that split second on a plane that you would have to choose life or death. In an instant, an oxygen mask would mean survival or not.

During those moments when I wasn't eating, I was choosing sickness and death. You can only go so long without food. Why would anything cause me not to eat? That's scary to think about, but I realize that it was the reality for me at one point. What's really the point of saying all of this?

Well when I think about how some of us including myself at one point sacrifice ourselves even to the point of our desires, wants, goals, etc. because we say well I can do that later when my child grows up, or I can do that when I get to a certain place with my job, or we say once I meet this financial goal then I will focus on myself. Really?!!

How many dreams, goals, activities, or other important things have we put off for later when it should be now? Where do your dreams and desires live? Are they lost in your mind with a fantasy that will never be fulfilled or will they be tangible goals that you will get to in the near future?

What is holding you back from living the life of your dreams? Is it looking to help everyone else, but yourself? How can we help others if we don’t pour into ourselves? We are the drivers for the things that we care about most.

To live our best lives, I truly believe that we must go after our passions, desires, visions, dreams and goals in a way like our life depended on it. I believe it's just as important as putting on your oxygen mask on a plane. Why?

Because its one of the ways that you can share your gifts is to help someone else. It is also one of the greatest ways to give back sacrificially is to know the worth you have on the inside. This way you realize that because you have such great value it is foundational to your internal gifting. Those beautiful gifts on the inside are treasures for someone else.

What are those areas that matter to you more than you let on, more than you ever even speak about, more than you share with those you care about, more than you allow yourself to even focus on? That thing that you just thought about, that passion or hobby, that dream that makes you smile and would be fulfilling, will you go after that and not sacrifice another moment for anyone not even yourself?

I challenge you to look deep on the inside and see your beauty, know how worthy you are flaws and all, and realize that you matter. Your thoughts matter. Your dreams matter. You matter most of all.

I had to come to this reality of knowing my worth regardless of what anyone else said or thought. It's what I think about my self-worth that truly matters. It has taken me sometime to get here. I fight for me everyday because I am important and valuable and so are you. Will you put your oxygen mask on first? I triple dare you to try it and see what happens.

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