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Being at the top of a mountain can take your breath away – the view, the spectacular panorama, the feeling of literally being on top of the world. The higher you go though, the less oxygen is available as the air gets thinner, and without oxygen we’re in big trouble!
It makes me think of the safety messages on planes. In case of an emergency, passengers are instructed to put their own oxygen masks on first before trying to help others. This is sensible advice. Obviously, if you lose consciousness, you’re pretty useless to anyone else!
The same is true in your everyday life. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else. If you plan to run a marathon, you follow a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and prepare well. I see day to day life in the same way.
If we want to achieve a vision, build a business or start a not for profit organisation, we need to live healthily and give ourselves the best chance of succeeding at our goals.
Some people might think this is selfish but there’s a difference between self-care and self-absorption. I’m uncomfortable with the attitude that taking care of yourself, whether physically, mentally or emotionally is selfish. Surely it’s honouring your life as being precious and important?
Life is better with a higher purpose for sure, a mission or work that is altruistic and focuses your attention outwards. The two goals are not incompatible but reinforce each other. It’s almost impossible to try and help others or serve a higher purpose, if you are not in good shape yourself.
I’ve burnt myself out a few times giving to other people and not taking care of myself. You end up like a flat battery with no more charge! Jumper cables anyone? You can’t achieve anything in this condition. That’s a good lesson to learn once…..or maybe twice.
‘If you are not happy and healthy, you cannot make anyone else happy and healthy.’ (Rajashree Choudhury)
This is not fluffy stuff, it’s basic physiology and psychology. You only have so much energy and it needs to be refreshed regularly. Someone who strives for a healthy balance is living sensibly and this shows good self-esteem.
‘Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.’ (Eleanor Brownn)
Take care and be kind to yourself and each other
P.S. Photo is of a high mountain in NZ during Winter.