Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First – Part I

Put on YOUR OWN oxygen mask first. My good friend Marva coined this phrase in response to our tendency to not take care of ourselves first before we reach out and help others. I believe this behavior of denying ourselves comes from a number of habits that don’t serve our highest good and stop us from reaching our greatest potential. In this series, I will be giving a few simple suggestions that have the potential to help us develop more positive habits to completely love and take care of ourselves first.

Know you are the most important person in your life.

You are the most important person in your life. Your parents, siblings, friends, spouse, and children should, must and have to play second fiddle to the needs, wants and desires in your life. This does not mean that you ignore your responsibilities; this means you stop sacrificing your happiness, joy and needs for those of others. If you aren’t happy and whole you will not attract people who are happy and whole. If you aren’t demanding joy and love in all aspects of your life you cannot be a positive example to your children about how to attract love and joyfully embrace life. If you feel you are not worthy of greatness, the universe will answer you in like kind and no one will feel you are either.

“Caroline” is a client of mine who owns a successful small health food and vitamin store. She works seven days a week, thirty days a month, and 364 days a year (she takes Christmas off). She does not buy herself anything new, travel, go to nice restaurants, go on walks to enjoy nature, and enjoy the city she lives in.  On a positive note Caroline is in a relationship she describes as satisfying. The only problem is that he works longer hours than she does!

Caroline’s adult children receive the benefits of her success. She believes she must take care of them, make sure they are happy and have opportunities she didn’t have while growing up in a communist country. She sends them money every month and pays for all of their expenses. She buys herself one pair of shoes a year in order to save money, while she allows her daughter to buy ten pairs of shoes if she wants to do so.

Her beliefs extend to others in her life. Caroline gives to those she feels are in need and denies herself. She said verbatim that she is afraid of spending money on herself. She believes she isn’t worthy of having nice things and everyone else in her life is worth spending money on. Caroline recently attracted an opportunity to expand her business and is excited. However, when she thinks about the money needed to complete the deal, she goes into fear mode: Does she deserve to spend money on her business? Is she neglecting her children? Will she make enough money to recoup the money she will spend on her business?

Caroline is a world class worrier. She is always stressed and refuses to take time off to take care of herself. Unfortunately, because she does not put herself first, Caroline has developed some health issues. She feels her heart palpitating abnormally throughout the day; heart issues are an indication of not accepting love from ourselves and others. She is also having pain and discomfort in her uterus; sexual organ issues indicate blocks to creating what we want and denial of self.

With an accumulation of stress, worry, health challenges, and disappointments around some aspects of her life, Caroline is now being forced by the universe and her Higher Self to stop and put on her own oxygen mask. She is not doing what the airline personnel tell us when we watch those little videos before we take off on our trip, “in the case of low oxygen pressure in the cabin, put on YOUR oxygen mask, before you put on your child’s oxygen mask.” In other words, you cannot help someone if you are struggling for air. You cannot help someone else unless you take care of yourself on an emotional, physical, mental, or spiritual level first.

When I mentioned to Caroline that she is the most important person in her life and she is being “told” to take care of herself, she pooh-poohed me and shook her head. When I suggested she take one day off a week just to give her time to rest, meditate, read, or anything that will calm her mind down so she can relax she struggled with the idea. I then suggested she change her relationship with money. She was more receptive to this shift. Why? Because I believe on some level of her consciousness she knows that money has a direct relationship to how much we love ourselves. If we think we don’t have enough money, use money to “buy” love and attention, or horde it, we lack an authentic expression of love in our lives.

The opposite of love is fear. Love allows us to conquer the world. Fear makes us shrink from it. Caroline’s fear around money is showing her she is afraid of love. After our session, Caroline noticed she had no more fear around money. I asked her the first word that came to her mind when she thought about herself. She said “to live.” She laughed for the first time during our session. That’s a good sign!

I am putting out there into the cosmos that Caroline will make additional changes in her beliefs and habits, learns to take care of herself and embraces all of the wonderful possibilities she will create when she finally knows that she is the most important person in her life. Maybe she will celebrate by buying herself something wonderful, fun and decadent, like two pairs of red shoes!

Copyright © 2009 by Shirlyn Wright