On the cusp of February, it’s the month of love and you’ve most likely thought about at least one person in your life who means a lot to you. Maybe you’re thinking of ways to make that person feel special and really know how much you love them.
What if you could love that person (or people) even better than you do right now?
I’m about to flip the script and share a tip that has put me in more than one disbelieving conversation.
When traveling on an airplane I’m one of those people who tries to act like I’m too cool for the flight attendant’s safety instructions, but I am making mental notes and hanging on to every word he says. You just never know.
Access my seat cushion as a flotation device. Check.
Note where all the exits are. Probably behind me. Check.
Put on my oxygen mask before helping anyone else. Check, check.
There is a reason you are instructed to ensure you have oxygen before you continue panicking and try to keep your seat mate calm. If you can’t breathe and you pass out, you are no good to anyone else around you, regardless of your intentions and the crazy amount of adrenaline you have racing through your body. You will become more of a burden if you don’t care for yourself first.
Relationships require the same prioritization. Each person is responsible to bring the best version of themself in order to create the healthiest environment possible. Only a healthy person can offer a solid contribution to the mutual exchange of living in relationship.
Here is a myth debunked for you:
It is NOT selfish to prioritize your mental, emotional, and
physical health when the goal is to offer
your best self to people around you.
At the core, the motivation should be to serve others with whom you are in relationship, in addition to honoring your body and the incredible gift it is to you.
You deserve to be loved by yourself. You are an amazing creation, placed on earth for a very real purpose. You have the same potential and worth as everyone around you who receives so much attention from you.
Save a little energy and direct some attention inward. No one knows you the way you do, making you the expert on your self care. Recognize your limits emotionally and physically, then build in margin to restore and build up all aspects of your life.
Grab your oxygen mask and breathe in a little love for yourself. I’m giving you permission.
Choose to be the best version of yourself by staying healthy in every area.
Physical - eat well, get outside, find some type of exercise or activity you enjoy, visit the doctor regularly.
Mental - challenge yourself, make time for meditation or reflection, take regular breaks and vacations even if you never leave your city, go to therapy, hire a life coach, try something.
Emotional - go to therapy (yes, I added it twice), find a creative outlet, share what’s in your heart, don’t hold things in.
Spiritual - meditate and listen to the voice inside you, spend time in nature, pray, allow God to speak to you and bring you the peace only He can bring.
My own lack of “oxygen” becomes apparent when I don’t eat well. I know there are foods that trigger my emotions and if I’m not careful, I can feel a physical and emotional change. As the Jekyll and Hyde routine starts coming out it typically manifests first in the way I treat people around me. It seems surprising that food can cause me to be frustrated, angry, and short-fused, so I’ve had to learn to pause, assess the situation, and revise my lifestyle in small tweaks.
Take some time to assess your areas of weakness. Find one or two small improvements you can make this week to love yourself a little more. Write it down in a place you will see it and tell someone what you are working on - the accountability will help keep you focused.
Implement a new habit or resurrect an old one to care for you. Make today better than yesterday.
Make a note of the difference you feel when you prioritize yourself. Pay attention to how that impacts the way you approach all the wonderful people in your life.
Life is all about loving and serving others. Do it like a rockstar.