Help Yourself Before You Help Others

When you fly, they tell you that, in case of a pressure change in the cabin, you must put on your own mask before you can help others in putting on their own masks. Typically, the scenario given is of an adult and a child, which I would assume is a parent-child situation in traveling circumstances. This has always seemed mind-boggling to me. It seems selfish and unnatural to put your own mask on first, leaving the child there for a few minutes while you effectively "save yourself."

But they tell you to do that for a reason. If you were to fix the other person's mask first, you might pass out before you're able to or be too flustered that it takes too long. By not helping yourself first, you both suffer.

Right now, I am sitting in a coffee shop blogging. Behind me, a couple is discussing their relationship issues. The guy is relaying a story about the mother of his child. He was trying to repair their relationship and went over to her house for dinner. After dinner, she takes a shower and puts on heels. She says she has to go to the gas station, which he knows isn't true. She tells him that she needs to "think about" them. She's going to meet another man and lying about it. And he knows it. She's pushing him away. And he knows it. When a woman wants to break it off with a man, she does what she can to give him reasons to leave, he says.

He finds pictures on her phone that she's sent to other men. He confronts her. She gets mad at him and says that she can sleep with whoever she wants. She's single.

As I'm listening to this story, all i can think is "well, gosh darn it, I'm that woman."

She wants him to love her. She wants him to know she has options. She wants him to see her getting attention from other men. She wants to hurt him. She hurts him, because she hurts. She pushes him away, because she's afraid of letting him in. She doesn't believe him when he says he cares. She doesn't trust him when he says he wants to be with her. She wants him to pay for all the shit the men before him tried to pull. And so she sabotages herself. She doesn't realize it yet, but that's exactly what she's doing.

I've written this blog for four years talking about dating and relationships. Part of the reason I do it is just to help myself make sense of my thoughts. Put together some sort of map to lead me through my confusion. If I look hard enough, I can usually find some type of answer.

I want to help the men I'm with when I pick up on some emotional issue or difficulty achieving a goal. I want to be that partner that makes them stronger and better. I want to help my friends when they come to me with relationship issues. I want to help other people find the thing that I want most. I want to help the internet by offering some thoughts in this blog.

But the truth is that I can be a really crazy bitch sometimes. My fear of commitment, my complete distrust of trust, the memory of "what happened last time" can trip me up in a major way. I will do something completely and totally nuts to push a man away. If he leaves now, and it's something I did on purpose, I don't have to worry about him leaving me later when I want him to stay.

I'm forgetting to put my own mask on, guys.

I can't help someone walk, if both legs are broken. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of others. In addition to that, no one else can fix you, but you. If that's true for you, that's true for everyone else too.

Look for your answers everywhere. Listen to others when they tell their stories. Take in all the information that you can. But, most of all, listen to the answer you tell yourself.

If I want to live in a world where we help each other, I've got to be willing to help. Starting with myself.

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