The Oxygen Mask Priority

Put Yours On First... So You Can Help Others

The OXYGEN MASK Priority - Put Yours On First - by Dennis LoweryAt the front of the aircraft, an attendant stands drawing your attention to the safety instructions for your flight. They gesture and point to the exits for the plane in the event of an emergency and then describe what will happen if the aircraft cabin should become depressurized.

“Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically drop down in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask first, and then assist the other person. Keep your mask on until a uniformed crew member advises you to remove it.”

If you frequently fly possibly, you don’t pay a lot of attention to the announcement. But within it are two statements that are of particular importance when it comes to you and your life:

Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored” and “secure your mask first, and then assist the other person.”

The first statement cites the important fact that two crucial things are being watched. From a personal standpoint—how it’s important to us—I take monitoring to mean awareness. And true self-awareness requires total honesty. Honesty about who we are inside and what we want.

The second statement is clear. The most important thing to do first is to take care of you.

This is critical and absolutely essential to success and happiness in life.

If you do not take care of yourself—if you do not focus on yourself first (knowing who you are, having confidence in your own capabilities and appreciating your self-worth) —then it is impossible for you to be of value to anyone else.

That’s not being selfish… that’s being realistic. For people to appreciate us we must first appreciate ourselves (yes, with all our flaws and blemishes both figuratively and literally we must feel good deep inside about ourselves). And that practical viewpoint does not mean respecting yourself requires demeaning or devaluing others.

The world doesn’t need martyrs or those who always see themselves as a victim (you don’t have to live that kind of life), and I’d certainly bet that your friends and your family (the people who care most about you) don’t need you to be either one. And if they do, then they fall under the category of a type of person(s) that you need to separate yourself from. Because if anything or anyone in life requires you to be a martyr or victim, you must question their level of respect or love for you and its validity.

I believe that God, in all names and manifestations, wants us to be happy and happiness starts with having self-respect.

So, put your oxygen mask on first.


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–Dennis