by Angie Harvey

Long before this pandemic we should have all been used to putting our masks on … first.  You know the drill.  If you’ve ever flown on a plane you’ve heard the spiel from a nice flight attendant or some person on a video screen.  They start with if this happens blah, blah, blah, …and no matter who you’re sitting next to they instruct you to put your mask on first and then assist others with theirs.  It took me 35 years to understand and appreciate this concept. Initially, like most people I thought that would be just rude, selfish, and contrary to what I was taught.  Well I’m here to tell you that the airlines taught me the most valuable and useful lesson of my life; putting my mask on first is required for me to assist others … well.

Contrary to what you were told, lead to believe and/or brainwashed to accept it IS all about you.  Think about it!  If you don’t put your mask on first (practicing self care), aren’t breathing correctly or  at all; what can you do for someone else?  That’s right, we go out of our way for our partners, find ourselves loyal to companies that employ us, work tirelessly in our communities and for various causes, and are at the beck and call to most of our immediate family members.  Yet, we struggle to adequately take care of ourselves.  Don’t worry it isn’t your fault; however, it is your responsibility.  From this moment forward you have the responsibility of providing adequate love, understanding, and acceptance to take care of your needs, desires and yes, even your wants.  And be clear that your unwillingness or inability to do so at this stage in life is your fault. 

 When I suggest that people practice self-care there are many who don’t truly understand what that means.  They seem confused and question how to do “it.”  They search and seek for some proverbial “tools” to assist with them with providing simple care for themselves.  Let’s be clear, there is no wrench!!    

Putting your mask on first and practicing self-care requires you to:

1) believe that you are worthy of such care; which usually means unlearning the people pleasing skills you’ve perfected

2) create a working definition of self care; yes, you get to say what it is and what you want it to feel like 

3) know and understand the benefits of providing it; doing so will usually provide you with superhuman powers to save the world

4) be able to say no to others with the understanding that you’re actually saying yes to yourself

5) know your worth and operate in that knowing appropriately and consistently

No, it’s not selfish or self-centered.  It’s called self-care. Care for yourself like you ARE the most important person in the world.  Care for yourself the way you want others to care for you.  I’m simply suggesting you to fasten your seat belt and BEFORE your cabin loses pressure you unapologetically put your mask on first.

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