Affirmation Letter of the Week: "Where is Your Oxygen Mask?"


Written by Dear Black Woman Elisabeth, Connecticut

Dear Love,

Take the time you need for you. No need to apologize for it.

It’s self-focused, but not selfish. To be selfish you have to lack consideration for others, and chiefly with your own personal profit or pleasure. (Definition copied from Google).

That’s not you, Boo. You’ve considered others and looked out for them, even when they weren’t looking out for themselves. Or the people who SHOULD have been looking out for them weren’t, so you stepped in. The selfishness you fear having is not in your nature to have.

The selfishness you fear having is not your nature to have.

Self-focus, on the other hand, is about identifying what you need in order to achieve your goals, purpose, your dreams, keep moving forward. Self-focus is putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, which provides you the air, strength, and clarity you need to help someone else correctly put on theirs. Think about what happens when our bodies are deprived of oxygen. We can lose consciousness, our brains are susceptible to irreversible damage, and the list goes on. Without this oxygen, you cease to be you.

Sometimes you’ve ignored your need for oxygen (ie: whatever brings you life) because you felt someone else needed it more, or an authority figure was demanding you give them their oxygen...or perhaps you were so focused on the storm raging outside and the turbulence that you didn’t notice the mask dangling right in front of you.

What (and where) is your oxygen mask?

Is it a walk outside? Curling up with a good book? Getting your nails done professionally? Spending $55 for someone else to do your hair instead of doing it yourself? Sleeping in on a Saturday? Dusting off your camera? Travelling to a new city? Eating some good food? Music? Painting? Prayer? Heartwarming time with family or good friends?

Find your oxygen mask. Put on your oxygen mask. Wear it unapologetically. I need you to have what you need to be you. Because your voice, perspective, talents, and gifts make light shine where there is darkness. But in order for that light, that candle, to be lit - there has to be a spark. And that spark can’t occur if there is no oxygen available to fan that spark into flame.

Breathe in.