If you have ever flown on an airplane, you will be well aware of this.
Prior to departure the flight attendants always give out the same instructions.
They show passengers how to fasten their seat belts, they point out the nearest emergency exits and then they explain to you what will happen in case there is a dip in oxygen pressure inside the cabin.
They tell you that the masks will automatically drop down. And then they ask you to put on your mask on first before helping others.
Only when your mask is put on firmly, should you assist others. Whether they are your children, the love of your life, or your neighbour.
You put on your mask FIRST.
Because otherwise, you will run out of air too.
Yet in life we always take a different approach.
We put others and their needs first
We say yes to things we don’t want to do, to avoid disappointing a friend, we take up jobs we don’t want to do just to keep our parents proud and happy, we spend money on useless things just to impress people we don’t even like.
We forget to put on our own mask first
So what is the secret to positive energy?
It’s very simple. Be very clear about your selfishness
When you are working out at the gym, the instructor often tells you to lift, rest and recover. You have to follow life’s instructions in much the same way.
You have to take care of yourself every single day otherwise You won’t have the energy to take care of others.
Spreading happiness can only come from the initial place of happiness. Selflessness can only come from selfishness.
It may sound mean, but ironically being selfish is the only kind thing you can do, if you want to help others.
There is a difference between being self centered and being “selfish” in the traditional sense of the word. The word “selfish” almost always has a negative connotation (like caring only about you while disregarding others) but it’s time to re-brand the word in order to highlight how healthy and productive selfishness can be.
The “good” side of selfishness is that you take care of yourself enough to be in top form for doing whatever you want to spend energy on — taking care of your kids, excelling at your job, and maintaining great relationships.
In fact, even staying alive requires a certain amount of “selfishness.” You have to eat. You have to sleep. You have to rest. These are examples of a necessary and healthy selfishness. So why shouldn’t you ditch the guilt and feel good about putting yourself first?
Remember to investing in yourself as much as you invest in others.
The happier, healthier, and more self-fulfilled you are, the more you’ll have to give to people who matter most to you. You’ll have more time for the things you love. When you make a specific effort to put yourself first on your list of priorities, you necessarily live a more mindful life. You learn to be your own advocate. So “fill your own cup first”.
Like being on that airplane, focus on putting on your mask first.
Say no to that pointless meeting and enjoy your lunch break.
Say no to that college major and focus on studying what you really enjoy.
Make your passion your job, and not the other way around.
Take a break, listen to the sound of your mind and your body, to avoid burning out.
And when you have figured that out you will bring happiness not only to yourself but to everyone around you.