Tag Archives: Asia

Put on your own mask first…before assisting others

19 Sep

I am fortunate this week to have the company of my daughter who is down from NYC for a bit of time before she moves overseas to teach English in Asia.  She is one of the most caring and generous people I know and often espouses wisdom beyond her years.

Either yesterday or the day before (my memory is just not as sharp as it used to be), we were talking about the support she constantly provides to others, and how, at critical times of stress, one cannot lend support to others when it is most needed within.  I hope that she won’t mind me paraphrasing her words – but they were along the lines of

“Put on your own mask first… before assisting others.”

As women, I believe that most of us were raised to help others before thinking of ourselves — and, as a result, we support everyone around us, before tending to our own needs.  Often, when we need support, we find that we stand alone.  And, I might add, it is our own fault – we have a flawed belief system!  What gives us the right to expect support from others just because we give it?

Life is not fair (we know this by now) and there is no guarantee of reciprocity!  (I’ve said it before that The Golden Rule is a good theory for teaching children to share, but it seldom works in adult life!)

I’ve talked to several confident and successful women friends who were raised similarly (gosh, one of the Girl Guide sayings when I grew up in Canada was:  “A Brownie is cheerful and obedient – a Brownie always thinks of others before herself” – sheesh !!!!) — and share a diminished sense of self-worth!  When one gives away something that which is still needed (support), it is folly to expect survival.  After years of giving to others, we end up feeling resentful that no one is nurturing us.  The answer is that we need to nurture our own needs first!  This means giving ourselves ample support –be it financial, emotional, cheerleading, physical rest, happy thoughts, encouragement, empathy, unconditional love, etc. — BEFORE supporting others.   (A novel thought indeed!)

I believe that this “oxygen mask philosophy” should be taught to children (and adults who never learned it) everywhere:  Take care to support and love yourself (put on your own mask first); then – and only then – can we effectively help others.

To my lovely daughter – I wish for you all the wonders and love that the world can possibly give you – you deserve it.  I love you and I hope that somehow, someday, you’ll see my love as support and wisdom back to you.  Thank you for YOUR wisdom…

Have a great week!


Can I borrow some sanity this week…?

5 Jul

Help!  I feel stuck this week!

One of my favorite quotes (anonymous) is:

There comes a point in your life when you realize:  Who matters, Who never did, Who won’t anymore… And who always will. So, don’t worry about people from your past, there’s a reason why they didn’t make it into your future.

I have reached that point, and I’ve decided that I no longer want to live in the past or mourn the loss of so many of my years in a relationship that was toxic to me.  Yet, I feel really challenged to stay up, stay focused on the future, and not have the pain of the past interfere with my present and future.

I can recite positive affirmations, ignore the (doom-and-gloom) news reports, bolster my spirits by feeding my mind with positive self-talk, and override my inner critic with optimism about the future… but somehow this week it’s just not enough.

Can I ask you for help?  I don’t ask often, but this week I really need some outside encouragement.

Let me give you a bit of insight of what’s happening this week:

1. First, let me share with you the positive visions I have:

Along, the lines of Positive Thinking (Dr. Norman Vincent Peale), Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill), The Secret (Rhonda Byrne) and others, I envision and fully embrace a not-too-distant future that I can taste, feel, smell, imagine, see, hear, all bursting alive with:

  • “Feng shui”- happy living arrangements in a great neighborhood;
  • Financial prosperity;
  • Lots of healthy, mutually beneficial relationships and friends;
  • New career adventures (involving international travel);
  • Exciting contracts (at fair market value for my services);
  • Great speaking opportunities (where I can continue to make a difference to my audiences);
  • Forgiveness (of myself and others) that opens the pathway to true love;
  • Wondrous happiness for my grown children;
  • Ongoing great health and vitality;
  • Optimism to face whatever crosses my path without fear!

2. Now, allow me to share with you my challenges: 

  • My house is selling in a short-sale situation (due to a bad divorce arrangement) and the fallout of this will likely ruin my credit and result in a hefty IRS bill for the shortfall (taxed);
  • I have a houseful of items that even EBay professional buyers won’t take (they say that NOTHING is selling today) that I have to get rid of (much of which was never mine).   I can donate items to get rid of them or have a charity come and pick them up – but it is an overwhelming situation now.
  • Voices from my past that tell me that I am not lovable, not deserving, crazy, and my perceptions are wrong are so pervasive in my head that even though the physical people have been gone for 5 years – it is tough to override years of the treatment.
  • Some well-meaning friends tell me not to put any stake in any potential romantic relationships because they know better than I what will or won’t work out. (Yes, I am learning to ignore them!)
  • Despite a resume that impresses even the most seasoned professionals, I’m constantly seeking work where I can help organizations in software metrics and project management… and everyone tells me that it’s the economy.
  • I want to work and live in Europe or Asia and I don’t know how to make it happen!

I’m thinking that the process of culling, consolidating, discarding and sifting through all the “stuff” in my house and facing what others left for me to clean up, is a process.  I’m looking forward to being in a new place of my own that is free from the ghosts of the past.  New space, new energy – it’s bound to be better than the energy of the past.

So, will you lend me some sanity this week?  What words of wisdom can you give me to boost my spirits?

(I promise to return the favor!)

Wishing you a happy, healthy, positive week!




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