After you get on the plane, click on your seatbelt and before you pop in your headphones, you know that this phrase is always going to be repeated. You must put your oxygen mask on first before putting it on anyone else, including your own children. As a parent, you think how ludicrous that is. Of course, you’d die for your children. Without question. But you only see the sacrifice. You never think of the fallout: your children growing up without you, remembering memories of you instead of making them with you. The idea of sacrifice is romanticized and encouraged today. Putting yourself first, loving yourself, is a great idea but a myth, perpetuated by the idea that doing so is selfish. In fact, it is the greatest legacy you could ever leave.
You deserve to love and be loved, wholly, completely and unconditionally. But people will treat you however you allow them to treat you — and they will treat you based on what they learn about how you treat yourself. A willingness to sacrifice oneself can be an attractive attribute…to the wrong person. If they see you will put something or someone else in front of yourself, they will expect you to do this same, at the expense of your own self. You have to realize that you came into this world alone, and alone you will leave. You don’t need anyone to complete you and only you can complete yourself. Stop waiting for someone to save you and save yourself.
Put on the mask. Take a deep breath. Inhale love. Exhale everything else.
You are no good to anyone else if you aren’t good to yourself. If you’re a parent, your child looks to you as the example and gold standard of how to live their best life. You want them to see someone who isn’t perfect, but is persistent in the effort of making the best life possible. Pushing through is fine, but so is taking the time you need for you. Find your peace and hold on to it tighter than a tourniquet. Be still — ask yourself what it is that you need. Listen to the ache in your soul. The sound of your bones. Let your inner self tell your outer self, for once, what you will and will not do. Picture the life you want to live and know that the only way that it can’t happen is if you give up. Or if you wait for someone else to come and do it for you. They won’t — they will be focusing on their own oxygen masks, which they must put on before they can save anyone else — including you. That doesn’t mean they don’t love you but it does mean they can’t love you FOR you.
Put on the mask. Then save only those should be saved.
You’ve completed yourself. You have the mask on and you’re breathing. Now you can look at saving vs sacrificing. But it is not your job to save everyone. They must also save themselves, if they want to be saved. You are under no obligation to hold on to anyone who is toxic — not even if they’re your mother or father. Thou shalt honor thy mother and thy father is just that — they must be a mother and a father in every sense of the word, not just at conception. Toxicity is a dangerous and disgusting thing. And it doesn’t matter WHO that person is. It means nothing. Their presence in your life must be EARNED. And you can only save those who wish to be saved in the first place. Remember — your life is worth it. And depends on it.