Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First: The Wisdom of Being Selfish


“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from the ceiling above you.  Please secure your own mask before attempting to assist other passengers.”


We have been taught that it is wrong to be selfish, that we should put the needs of others before our own.  And while we have been given, and absorbed, these lessons in varying degrees (e.g., girls are more actively conditioned to be selfless than boys; empaths take this teaching in more deeply than narcissists), we celebrate individuals who risk themselves in service of others.  Selfish is a dirty word.

But what if in order to be truly be of service, in order to actually help others wisely and well, we must first consider our own needs?  The person who takes the time for self-care, who secures her own oxygen mask, creates the strength and abundance that are necessary to be able to give.  When we give at our own expense, we deplete our reserves and the giving is short-lived.  But when we take the time to fill our own cup, and keep filling it, our offerings come from the overflowing, rather from the scarcity.

♥ ♥ ♥

Rafia Rebeck, MEd, MA, LPC, is trained in the Hakomi Method of Psychotherapy. She offers a warm, sincere, and safe approach for those who seek personal transformation through mindfulness. Please feel welcome to get in touch by contacting  If this blog postcard was meaningful for you, please feel free to share it with others who may benefit.