After each assembly, a school prefect has the opportunity to speak about an issue or idea that has been in their mind. This week, Amber Chang shares hers.
Quite a few of you have probably been on a plane before and so you’ve heard the safety instructions video say, “Please put on your own oxygen mask before helping others”. Now, normally this would most likely just go in one ear and out the other, but today, I want to focus on that quote.
The message is simple and clear: take care of yourself before helping others. After all, how can you give something you don’t have? When I say ‘take care of yourself’, I don’t mean the “Oh look, I just bought a new pair of shoes and watched 5 episodes of my favourite TV show today!” kind of self-care (though there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s your choice). What I’m talking about is more of the looking after your ‘inner self’ so to speak. Eating healthy, getting exercise… that’s all part of it, but so is listening to your own emotional needs. You know, that little voice in your head that tells you it’s tired and wants to go to bed or is perhaps worried that you might not be good enough. The thing is, you’re the only person who lives with yourself every day from the moment you’re born to the moment you die. So start, or continue, to be comfortable with who you are. If you didn’t get, say, the role of a prefect today, that doesn’t mean you’re not good enough or that you’re any less of a leader than they are. You define your own worth. If you don’t know where to begin, just take a few moments each day to reflect on how you’re feeling and what you’ve done. Because, it is only when you begin to know and embrace yourself, that your ability to reach out to others becomes greater.
In saying all this, it might seem like I’m completely comfortable with who I am, but I’m not. I’m still learning, just as you are. And one of the things I have learnt is to not try and control everything around you, because you can’t. Going back to the gas masks, if you were a passenger on that plane where the masks have suddenly dropped down, you’re not going to run to the cockpit and tell them where to fly and what buttons to press because that’s unrealistic. But what you do have control over is yourself and the choices you make – which I should hope would be to “put on your gas mask before helping others”. In a more everyday situation, instead of wasting time and effort in a one-sided friendship, surround yourself with people that do care for you and reciprocate your feelings things. Because although knowing that you can’t control how others act or what they think might be daunting or frustrating at first, you soon realize that it also gives you the freedom to concentrate on things that are under your control.
Just remember that this is your life. Not your parents, not your friends, but yours. So make the choices that will enable you to become a better, more whole version of yourself. And while you’re at it, why not help someone else along their journey too?
By Amber Chang.