Most of us have heard the following dozens, if not hundreds of times: “Place the mask firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask first, and then assist the other person.”
I even heard one Southwest flight attendant add: “If you are traveling with more than one child, start with the one with the most potential, and work your way down.” I guess that’s Transfarency?
I want to highlight one part of the above, however: “Secure your own mask first, and then assist the other person.” I think it brings out a brilliant point, worth consideration. There’s an old saying from ancient Rome with a similar idea: “Nemo dat quod non habet,” or “No one can give what they don’t have.”
You can’t give what you don’t have. If you’re asphyxiating without oxygen, how can you help someone else out with their oxygen mask? There are all sorts of applications for this. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. Parents know this. It doesn’t mean we do it, but at least we know it’s true.
Jordan Peterson addressed this very point in his book 12 Rules for Life:
“Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping” – Jordan Peterson
I think this is something deeply related to the idea of forming ourselves as people, as the basis for more complete personal development. We have to take care of ourselves, to be able to take care of others.
So I’m renewing my determination to take care of myself, be patient with myself, and build myself up. Not FOR myself; that’s where it flips on its head. For those around me. For my wife, my kids, my friends, the people I meet everyday.
That’s what I want to do. I encourage you to do the same.