You know how, on an airplane, you’re supposed to put your own air mask on before assisting a child? There’s a good reason for that and it isn’t selfish: you aren’t going help anyone if you’re unconscious. You: do you.
In the wild, mothers will sacrifice a child readily if it means she will live. Selfish? No. If she dies, all the children (including the potential for future children) will die with her. Real selfishness is actually altruistic—in order to truly serve anyone else, you must serve yourself first. Making yourself the best possible version of yourself is the highest and best way to give the absolute most back.
Serving Yourself to Serve Others: My Story
I left a promising career as an academic to … blog. I let down many mentors and lost friends. I had no idea why, or how, but some insight told me I needed to step away from the motions of everyone else and put my own life mask on. I had to do me. And in doing so, I took my research, mo work, out of the ivory towers of peer-reviewed publications and into the hands of the public.
When I put myself first, I learned exactly how I could uniquely help others. It felt completely self-absorbed, but… What I was doing wasn’t selfish. When people would jeer, I’d tell them “I’m only doing one thing here, and it’s the only thing I’m concerned with doing”. You are only doing one thing here: you’re here to do you.
For me, there didn’t seem to be any other option, so other people’s opinions had to be put completely aside. Thank goodness for some successful entrepreneurial friends who egged me on, assuring me that by doing me I was doing the right thing, because they were the only ones who could see that by doing my thing I was about to give the best me I possibly could to the whole world. People who weren’t on my side, were quickly moved to the side. Anyone who doesn’t want you to put your own life mask on first isn’t your friend—caring deeply for your own wellbeing isn’t selfish.
The truth is: my actions have been self-centred. I did put every single that wasn’t my own self-development way back on my priorities list. I focussed wholly on what I had in mind and what I wanted to do. I created a product, from a theory I’ve worked my entire life on, and I’ve worked mind-blowingly hard to put the gears to the theory by testing every aspect out pragmatically applying it to my own life. It was hard. It was long. It was lonely. And it was all about me. Or was it…?
Being the Best You is how to Give the Best of You: My Outcome
When I’d grown into myself through doing me — my life started looking like my own. I was beginning to be able to show up for others in a way I could never have offered before. What I’d done not only benefitted me. It helped everyone who is or ever will be touched by my life! I started getting teary when the implications of this program were glaring me in the face—I was going to change people’s lives for the better… because I’d put everyone else aside. And now I realize too, that the focus was always to free myself so I could give back.
I just had to serve myself first. To give back.
Being a Jerk isn’t Self-Serving: A Word of Clarification
It’s important to note that putting yourself first should not then come at the cost of others. Other people shouldn’t ever be our stepping stools and their energy isn’t ours to harvest for our own goals. What we often call selfishness is actually stupidity. Putting yourself first at the cost of others will put you at a deficit. Short-term gain at others’ expense is a sure-fire way to put yourself far back in the running longterm. It isn’t selfish at all to do this, it’s unsustainable and wreaks of an inability to plan for the future. Putting yourself first simply means doing what you need to do before serving anyone else. Being a truly self-serving human would be to foster helping, healing, community & relationships. Because none of us is in this alone.
Only You can Do You
Sometimes we have to take a step back to see the bigger picture; we need to be encouraged to focus on what we are bringing to the table of our communities. It’s only then that we are truly capable to serve. Putting yourself first isn’t easy, but it is the only way to bring ease to life. We have to do the hard thing now, so life gets easy. And when we do, we find ourselves surrounded by those who are bringing their whole selves to the gathering also; we find ourselves surrounded with people who are fully capable (with their own air masks on) to give us a hand, to lend their highest offering of support, and enter the best kinds of relationships.
*Update: I met the man of my dreams literally weeks after writing this. He had taken years off himself, to work on his self. We are currently very happy and living on a tropical island designing unique programs that heal, strengthen & grow other people’s personal powers!
Taking Time Out to Make the Most of Your Time Here
What you bring to the communicable table, no one else can. We are all connected and you have a job to do for us that no one else can. It’s imperative you bring what is unique about you to light, and get confident, comfortable & connected with what it is that you truly are.
I’ve developed programs which use a theory I’ve researched and tested using multiple disciplines, in numerous countries and with information spanning the recorded ages, employing my experience as an athlete & academic to package it as a practical guide to effortless fitness. (I say effortless because it’s easier than staying in a struggle with yourself now. You still have to commit, you still have to take that first step and decide to put yourself first.) But it’s unlike anything else out there & most importantly—it truly works.
Peace & so much LL