Dealing With a Dilemna

The Aircraft Dilemna

I was cruising around the other night on Spaces, just checking out (at random) new people’s blogs using the Updated Spaces window you can find on some people’s blogs. I always read a few entries and leave comments. I am obsessed with commenting (They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step).

I came upon a young man’s blog. He was quite young. Fifteen, I think. His life was full of problems, and he wrote about them with unabashed honestly. The thing that struck me about this fellow is that he seemed to be more concerned about his best friend.

I wont get into specifics, but an analogy will bring light to my point. Imagine a person has been poisoned, and they have a limited amount of time to live. They are running to the hospital, but yet they stop to help another person pick up a bag of groceries they just dropped. It’s rare to find that kind of fearless selflessness these days, especially in the young.

I left a small comment that I hope he will take to heart: It is important to help yourself before you can help another.

It’s important to remember that if we are not in the right frame of mind (or body), it’s tough to help someone else. Certainly it can be inspiring, and probably perceived as a bit selfless as well. However, the less we take care of our own needs the less time we will be able to help others. It’s a simple fact. Perhaps an analogy is in order…

If you have ever flown on a large aircraft, you will probably remember the safety presentation at the beginning involving decreased cabin pressure. Oxygen masks are supposed to drop from the ceiling for your use. If you have children they tell you to put your own oxygen mask on yourself first, and then put one on your child.

I remember the first time I saw this. It was counterintuitive to me. Upon deeper inspection, though, it made a lot of sense. That few extra seconds that you spend on helping yourself may cause your child to lose consciousness, but then they’ll have the mask and all will be fine.

The alternative is that you put the mask on your child, and then you lose consciousness. If your child doesn’t know how to help you, you are out of luck. Your child will be robbed of a parent.

This simple logic applies to everyday life.

It’s good to help others, but make sure you are in a position to do so. Helping yourself will make you strong enough to help out others in a more effective manner. It’s not selfish. Nor is it wrong.

Take care.

14 Responses

  1. …and sometimes helping somewhen else out is just the self-help we need. Too few people take the time to see anyone else’s plight, let alone DO something to assist. I don’t think our society at it’s most selfish is in any position to critique the very aspect we lack most: selflessness. I do, see your point. I do, however believe that perspective is key, here. Carmen

  2. It’s true. Perspective is the key to this. Another point is that people delay helping themselves by helping others. A dreadful form of procrastination. My “advice” is merely one perspective. I do like the fact that you used “selfishness” because that’s what it is. Too many il connotations have saturated that word with negativity.


  3. i totally agree. i see the same thing with marriage, in a way. like you really don’t have much to offer your mate if you are a wreck. it seems that people have such healthier relationships if they are healthy as individuals. they have more to offer. stronger support. etc. good post, jorge. patresa

  4. Admittedly I agree with the generalization of it all. I’m a parent. We’re always familiar with that analogy ‘the empty warehouse with little to offer can do nothing but poor business”. At the same time, I have to admire someone (particularly at age 15!) who stops to smell the roses. It’s rare and something I myself am no exception to. Cheers to the repartee…Lightened up an otherwise drab day…:) C

  5. yes. yes. I, too, was first thrown by the “me” then “you” on a plane… and I enjoyed reading your post… the comments you’ve made… while looking for ways to be selfless, we might as well be a little selfish about trying to not be a wreck…

  6. Wow, great post. Its amazing, when you really stop and look, you really do see those selfless acts, the kinds of acts that give you the encouragement that the human spirit is still alive and well.

  7. Hi Jorge, Great post I couldn’t agree more! How nice you were able to be so helpful , but then that’s you:):) Hope you have a GREAT Day! Cheers Barb

  8. Sooo true. That is so very very true. A very touching entry. Do you still have the link to that person’s blog? I’d really like to read it, please. –Belly

  9. Of course, if your plane is going down, you’re all gonna die anyway.

  10. Hi Jorge, Thank you very much for stopping by my space, and I appreciate your kind words. *Smile* If you would like to have your space listed among other grown up bloggers here on msn spaces, please feel free to email me or stop by Past Puberty Connections at You have a great week! *smile*

  11. Isn’t that the hardest lesson that anyone ever learns “It’s important to help/love yourself before you can help/love another”? I’m still struggling with this concept myself and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get it down path. (trying though!) I’ve come across alot of blogs that make me want to reach out to these people and just give them a huge hug. It truly bothers me that all we can do is leave a comment in the hopes that it lifts someone’s spirits. I know… What else could we do (or can we do rather)? But it’s just so sorrowful to read… Sob… Damn… Another topic… I left you fourteen Hai-Kuuls… 🙂 Have fun with that! Cheers, Drea

  12. Great post, Jorge. You always have such an insightful way of putting things. I too was confused by the mask thing the first time i heard it. Of course, it makes total sense. Of course…it is just like you to go around leaving encouraging comments on people’s blogs. 🙂 *Hugs*

  13. Great post Jorge… What you say is very true and so is what brekkababy said… I guess some people need to be reminded to help out, and others to help… in? Balance. Well, your post came at a timely point in my life and it was good to read and think about. (I read it a couple days ago, and came back to comment now- I just wasn’t really ready before…) Thanks dear. Have a good one.

  14. Awesome post, its always good to be reminded of these types of things. Often we forget 🙂 Have a great day Jorge

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