Have you ever found yourself in situations in life where things just don't seem to be going your way? Perhaps you are in a relationship that is more draining than anything. Or, your job could make you feel like a robot who just shows up day after day, not really emotionally or mentally invested. Sometimes we even have friends or acquaintances in our lives that seem to be energy vampires; they are more adept at taking than giving. Why is it that if we have situations like these in our lives we just put up with them? What is it about our conditioning that keeps us from saying "Yes!" to happiness, joy, and thriving? Perhaps we grew up in families, cultures, or societies that value selflessness and putting others first. To be sure, giving and care for others are honorable and valuable qualities in human beings. It is these qualities that allow us to have empathy and connect deeply with others. However, a recent conversation with a client of mine revealed the following wisdom: If we don't take care of ourselves first, and cultivate a healthy and loving relationship with our Self, then we have no Self from which to give and care for others. "In the event that our cabin loses pressure, an oxygen mask will fall down from above you. Secure your mask first and then assist others". So, how can we begin to cultivate this loving relationship with our Selves? How can we shift our paradigm to one that is inclusive and understanding of the importance of taking care of Us? Following are some guidelines that can serve as gentle reminders to move us onto the path of taking care of Self.   

1 - If it feels wrong, don't do it. 
2 - Say "exactly" what you mean.
3 - Don't be a people pleaser.
4 - Trust your instincts.
5 - Never speak badly about yourself.
6 - Never give up on your dreams.
7 - Don't be afraid to say "no".
8 - Don't be afraid to say "yes".
9 - Be kind to yourself.
10 - Let go of what you can't control.
11 - Stay away from drama and negativity.
12 - Love.

These things sound so simple, but you may find that as you go about working on these for yourself, it feels easier and more natural to extend these principles to others. As with many things in life, just keep at it. Practice makes possible.  Sowhat do you think? Ready to put on your oxygen mask?