If there’s an emergency on a plane, you are told to pull down the oxygen mask to save yourself first. Saving yourself first results in you have a greater chance of helping your family, friends, or the other passengers survive; but if you help someone else first, you have a higher chance suffocate before even getting the mask on them.
For some of us, helping others before ourselves comes naturally, but the damage this does to our own personal growth is actually severe. Dealing with everyone else’s problems, and not your own, on a regular basis gets in the way of personal growth. As human beings, we all have dreams and plans for success, and the time to succeed at these dreams is limited if we are constantly relied on by others. We must take care of ourselves first before we can take care of others.
Though many of us would rather deal with everyone else’s problems rather than our own, stand-up comedian Joe Rogan explains it best, “When you find someone whose problems are greater than your own, it lets you concentrate on things other than your problems, which you are not fixing because you are a lazy fuck. So you procrastinate. And people find really strange ways to procrastinate. One of the ways they find to procrastinate is create other problems in their life that take precedent over the problem they’re avoiding.” So, we may chase promotions, help a friend with their paper, or give a sibling relationship advice all as means of distraction from helping ourselves with the personal problems we are too afraid to face. It is not wrong to help others, but at what cost to you? It’s important that the people around you also learn to grow and take responsibility for their actions.
Whitney Cummings, a well-known producer and comedian, once said, “I understand on a soul level that I can’t give what I don’t have.” It’s easier to spread joy, enthusiasm, and inspiration to your friends when you truly have and feel it. So take the time to recharge yourself.