Every single flight announcement goes through the same drill:
1. Wear your seat belts
2. Your nearest emergency exit maybe behind you
3. Put on your oxygen mask before assisting others
Number three, the instruction about oxygen masks, is what generous people are likely to forget. Altruism hints at caring for the person next to you more than you care for yourself.
But that notion is counter-productive. When you’ve helped yourself, you are more capable of help another person. Several things work this way: kindness, compassion and acceptance for instance. Once we are kind to our own selves, we can offer kindness from a state of abundance rather than scarcity.
In order to care for the rest of the world, we should start with the person that we spend every single minute of our lives with. Trying to help other people with their oxygen masks before we wear our own turns us into a liability.