What an Airplane Safety Instruction Taught me about Self-Love

Jessica Ufuoma

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In my lifetime, I sure have listened to one too many safety instructions done by these airlines. At first, I’ll sit up to truly listen but the more flights you catch, the more cliché they all start to sound, don’t they? (Don't be like me, though, listen.)

Airline Safety Instructions

However, things were different on a flight to New York recently. I had a terrible experience on the previous connecting flight and I decided to pay more attention to flight safety instructions. The terrible experience made me reminisce about the Chapecoense sports team and how a man survived the crash because he was aware of the safety rules. I decided to sit back and actually listen. I heard the flight attendant say, "In the case of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear before you. If you are traveling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person."

This statement stirred me up a bit. I imagine how difficult it will be for a mother to experience an emergency situation like this. As mothers, the first instinct is to protect the child first. A lioness protecting her cub.

Before I started to rile up about how insensitive I thought the instruction was, I gave it a second thought and it made perfect sense. Boy, those Seat A cloud views during a red-eye flight can really get you in a mood of reflection, can’t they? Some soul-searching really does go on in those moments.

Think about it. If there was an issue with the flight and the air masks really did drop, it makes sense to help yourself first before helping your minor. If you helped your minor first, he still wouldn't know what to do next and you too will be left stranded because ta-da, you cannot breathe and that leaves the both of you in a very bad situation. However, if you helped yourself first and then, helped your minor, you both can leave the place as survivors, as the chances will be much higher. Simply put, it is safer to put your own mask first.

Beyond the airplanes, we can see this reflected in our everyday life, can't we? We render so much love and care to others while neglecting our very own needs. We put others first but forget to take care of ourselves, our health, our life. Self-love is like a foundation, if not properly addressed, the entire building will come crashing down. We must love and care for ourselves first so we can be empowered to do the same for others.

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

In the past, I have been in relationships and friendships where I was the one doing all the carrying, the one doing all the tending to, the one trying to fix things, and truthfully, that is just plain exhausting. It’s only a matter of time before an inevitable burnout occurs. We need to constantly evaluate and ask ourselves, “How full is my cup right now”. If you find that you are running on reserves, then it is very well time to catch a break. I know how tempting it is to be the hero, to want to seize every opportunity to help someone but it is important to realize that we need to be at our best to be able to do that and that might sometimes mean taking a break, saying no to unsolicited invites, disappointing people and just, resting. How full is your cup right now?

How I practice self-love and how you can too!

  • Self-acceptance: Truly coming to terms with myself, flaws, and all. Reminding myself that I am enough. Knowing that I am unique in the world and there is no one quite like me, ever! (Good luck searching.)
  • Positive affirmations: Telling myself I am capable and I can do all things as long as I set myself to it. Also reminding myself that I am beautiful even on those occasions when my eyeliner isn't winged enough.
  • Self-reward and appreciation: Rewarding myself for everything, including the small victories. Sometimes we focus too much on things we haven't achieved and forget to celebrate the ones we do achieve.
  • Giving out: You know what they say about feeling the happiest when you spread love or care for someone else. Self-love is not narcissistic or selfish. Giving and caring for others after finding peace within helps to steer the love even more. Maximizing my gifts and talents and paying it forward. What do people benefit from simply by knowing you? Are there any perks attached to your association?

Looks like I can now look forward to flying and listening to safety instructions and that will serve as a constant reminder to love myself and then, love others. See, there's the positive!

Notes on self-love

I know self-love is a buzzword right now and sometimes the question is, "what does self-love look like?" Is it just shimmering oils, massages, and spa dates? Absolutely not just that. Self-love is also self-discipline. Self-love is also putting yourself first. Staying true to your identity. Striving to be better even if that means more hard work. Self-love means doing what is needed to be the better version of yourself.

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I write about lifestyle and travel experiences in the United States. I'm also passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and that reflects in some of the pieces I write. My topics range from culture, travel, uplifting marginalized voices and much more. If you're interested in these topics, feel free to hit the subscribe button.

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