Thursday, January 12, 2012

Save Yourself First

I know it may seem like a weird statement but it's true. The old saying "In an emergency put your own oxygen mask on first" holds all the truth. If you are to busy trying to rescue someone who is drowning but forget to put on your own life jacket you too may perish in the ocean.
I never really understood those statements until lately.

The theory behind it is quite self-explanatory but when helping someone do you ever really think about it. I know in certain situations like an actual emergency we often do not think about it and take the risk. But how would you handle a situation that is not such an "life-threatening emergency" but just a hole that someone has got themselves into and while helping them you step back and realize that helping this person is putting yourself in the hole as well, whether it be physically, emotionally, timewise, or financially. Before going above and beyond for someone you need to take stock.

1) Are you in a position to actually help this person.
2) is the person willing to accept this help
3) Is the person willing to do what it takes to help themselves as well
4) Is helping this person going to hinder you.

A little explanation of 3 and 4 maiy be in order to get the right context.

3) When helping someone you need to make sure that they are also willing to help themselves as well. Because it they are not you will end up carrying the full load and it will become an obligation that you will have to fullfill all the time and you will soon be finding yourself taken advantage of.

4) When helping someone you need to make sure that helping them will not either put you behind the 8-ball so to speak. If helping someone emotionally is on the list and you are already emotionally unwell you may find you run into emotional exhaustion. Same when dealing with someone financially. Unless you are completely financially fit and sercure helping someone may put you into either debt or make it alot more difficult to do and pay for the bills that you need to be paying so that you are not in a financial emergency.

Now don't get me wrong I think that helping people is one of the greatest gifts we can give of ourselves as well as to someone else. I just think that sometimes we need to be smarter when it comes to helping people. In other words it comes back to "If you are helping a drowning person but forget to put on your own life jacket first, you too may perish in the ocean"

What do you do to make sure that you are safe when helping someone?