Chris Cooper PhD

If Cabin Pressure Drops an Oxygen Mask Will be Deployed…

I love what I call folk wisdom… Or sometimes I call it wisdom from simple places. This is one of my favorites. The Wisdom of the Flight Attendant. If you’ve ever flown in a commercial airplane you’ve heard this one. So many of us… Not just clients or patients… I’m talking about you. And your brother. And me. And my best friend. Most of us are in on this one. We push ourselves and take care of business, whether that is work or school or family. We say we can’t sleep in or take a walk or do those other things that we might do to take care of ourselves because something or someone else needs us. We need to listen to the wisdom of the airline attendant.
The words that are spoken at the beginning of flight after flight:

“Put your oxygen mask on first and then help the child or other person near you.”

The truth is – and those of us in the helping professions need to hear this especially well… The truth is that we can’t help anyone else if we ourselves are having difficulty functioning. We can’t help anyone else unless we have taken care of ourselves first. So many of us have somewhere been trained to think that it is selfish or bad to take care of ourselves or our needs. But if we do so, we will then come from a position of strength to help those around us. Simple wisdom brought to us by the airline industry which, in this case, knows what works best.

Copyright 2009 Chris D. Cooper