You’re no good to them dead.
A great relationship with yourself is critical to be effective at forming long-lasting bonds with other people. I equate it to the oxygen mask on an airplane.
Picture yourself and someone important to you mid-flight, prepped for spring break after that hours-long layover in Minneapolis on your way to Miami, when the plane jolts and suddenly the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling. At this moment, you have a choice to make. Help yourself or help your sleeping compadre.
Your impulse might be, especially if traveling with a young one, to leap into action and preserve their life at the expense of your own. However, what you should do — and it’s not just my opinion, ask the FAA — is put your own mask on, then assist those around you.
You’re no good to them dead
There are two aspects of this metaphor that I think are worth unpacking.
First, if you are a decent human, your initial impulse will almost always be to help your fellow man, woman, or child before you help yourself — for good or for bad. That isn’t an issue per sé. In fact, those kinds of impulses make you just the kind of person I’m glad to share a planet with. However, when it comes to relationships, we should push back against that kind of instinctual reaction, which leads me to my second point.
You are actually of greater service to others by ensuring your own safety first because simply put, you’re no good to them dead. And that is the point of relationships, right? To show up? To be of service? To improve the existence of those you engage with? Well, it damn sure ought to be.
The moral of the story
As illustrated by the above, the moral of the story is that first, we are all — well, most of us anyway — inherently able to and actually interested in caring for other people. We have in our deep subconscious the desire to serve. And second, our ability to take care of ourselves has a direct correlation to the amount of good we can do for others.
Each a topic for another piece, the following are some of the many aspects of self-relationship worthy of learning more about and working to improve:
- Practice an attitude of gratitude. Be thankful for what you have, who you are, and what others contribute to your existence.
- Be kind to yourself. Keep a leash on that critical inner voice and be nice. Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say (to yourself), then don’t say anything at all.
- Recognize perfection is a myth. Give yourself a little room to move. As discussed above, embrace fluidity, be aware of and comfortable with change, and just know that every so-called FAIL is just a First Step In Learning.
- Stop being so damn judgy. If we are hard on others, we’re probably worse to ourselves. In the short term, we feel “better” when we avoid our inner feelings by being critical of others. This is not an effective long-term strategy, however. Get good with yourself and watch how quickly you stop concerning yourself with what others are up to.
How do you get good with you?
How do you cope with the ups and downs? How do you overcome your critical inner voice? What are you doing in your work, or your life, that is contributing positively to the relationships you make? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below, find me on LinkedIn, tag @ryanroghaar, or use the hashtag #TeammateApart on the socials and lend your support to the broader remote work community.
As part of the Teammate Apart Podcast Mental Health series — a series of podcasts with a specific focus on mental health issues found in remote working populations — I had the opportunity to interview mindfulness, and self-care expert Zoe Gillis, LMFT. We covered many of the topics discussed in this piece in greater detail, all from Zoe’s unique perspective. You can take a listen to the interview in its entirety here: https://tmapart.com/zoe-gillis
I am an entrepreneur, creative director, podcaster, remote work advocate, consultant, author, and speaker committed to building authentic end-to-end relationships for my clients — from top management to top consumer. My unique philosophy puts specific importance on human relationships and their inherent value in both business and in life. As a society, I believe we are reaching a kind of technological saturation point, which leaves consumers anxious and yearning for tactile human experiences. It is that core ethic that fuels my purpose — to bring people together.
From my office in Salt Lake City, Utah, or occasionally from my office-away-from-home in Barcelona, Spain, I will offer enlightening insights on a vast range of topics. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share my insights and experiences to help others explore fresh perspectives on business, lifestyle, and new ways of working.