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First, Care for Yourself

While it may sound noble to say, ‘I always put others first,’ I don’t think it’s as praiseworthy as we’d like to believe.

Toy flight attendant pushing cart.
Image by Sandra Tropp from Pixabay

During the pre-flight safety demonstration on commercial flights, instructions are given on what to do if the cabin loses oxygen pressure. If this occurs, passengers are instructed to first put on their own oxygen mask before trying to assist others and yes, this includes others that are loved ones. We can’t live very long without oxygen and if our oxygen supply is limited, our ability to make clear decisions and to perform simple tasks also quickly diminishes.

I think similar instructions about putting on our own oxygen mask first should also be given about putting ourselves first in our relationships. Putting ourselves first isn’t selfish or selfless. Instead, I think it’s about making sure we’re well so that we can help the people we love be well too. Our ability and resolve to properly care for others are weakened when have not taken care of ourselves first. This is why caregivers of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses are advised to first, care for yourself. A caregiver who has not taken care of themself risks harming themselves and the person(s) they are caring for. Although perhaps in a less serious context, mature adults are caregivers in some regard so shouldn’t we follow this same advice?

Some may argue that their life status — parent, partner, spouse, etc. — doesn’t allow them to put themselves first. My response is that our children, partners and spouses want and need us to put ourselves first; I believe that they understand our ability to care for them well is partial to how well we take care ourselves. We can first care for our ourselves AND care for the people we love too.

When we first, care for ourselves, we’re practicing, what I believe, is the most form of self-care. First, care for yourself. Put yourself first.



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Percevial L. Murphy

Percevial L. Murphy


Writing is a practice of sharing self. I want my words to heal and and help others and me too.