Put Your Mask on First


With as many planes as I’m on, I should have it memorized. It goes something like this: “In the event of emergency, oxygen masks will come down in front of you. Put your mask on first before assisting those around you…” 

On its own, this statement sounds selfish. Take care of yourself before messing with the helpless children and elderly around you.

If this was a ship going down, it seems like the equivalent would be, “Get on the lifeboat first before letting anyone else on the lifeboat. 

Not quite.

Evidently if an airplane cabin loses pressure, you have about 15 seconds of consciousness before you become useless. Another way to give the instruction: “Take care of yourself first so you actually can help the people around you.”

There it is. Life principle. Wisdom. Truth.

If we don’t take care of ourselves, we will not be very helpful to the people around us. You might be in the work of helping others—perhaps social services, non-profit, church, or the service industry—that is good and noble. But if you don’t take time to take care of yourself, you will be worthless to those you are trying to help. You will snap, respond in anger, judge too quickly, lean too much on truth when a bit more love is needed.

Put your mask on first. Make sure you’re leading from a place of health and wholeness.

Schedule a massage. Go to counseling. Take a vacation. Read a book. Sit in a hot tub. Go for a walk in the woods. Binge on Netflix. Eat a bag of M&M’s. Go to the gym. Walk on the beach. Snuggle with your dog.

When you are running on empty, do whatever it is that makes you healthy and whole again.

 Put your mask on first. 

Tim Stevens1 Comment