Lesson From a Lifeguard
When life feels heavy, I find comfort and a healthy means of escape by getting lost in a good book. The ever-present trauma of racial injustice that came to a boil and spilled throughout the world last week left me emotionally exhausted. Feeling drained of all motivation and inspiration, I couldn’t think of anything that would be more soothing to my soul than retreating to reading. There were many lessons that resonated with me in Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s new release, Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter, but one, in particular, stood out above the rest.
In relation to the ongoing conversation on self-care, we often hear people using the oxygen mask analogy. I refrain from repeating it because I feel that it is overused, and since I fly a lot, I don’t want to think about oxygen masks dropping. So, when the author used a different analogy that got at the same point, I found myself intrigued. He talked about the process by which a lifeguard saves someone who is drowning. I had always noticed that lifeguards carried those red floats, but I thought they were just for extra support as they carried someone to shore or to toss out to someone in need of help. Now I understand the true purpose. Lifeguards are trained to put something in between themselves and the person that they are saving, otherwise, that person, in their flailing state of panic and struggle for survival, will take the lifeguard down too, and they will both drown.
This is much like life. There is so much joy and meaning to be found in helping others, but if we don’t put the necessary boundaries in place, we will both end up sinking.
Here are a few simple ways to put that float, board, or other lifesaving devices between yourself and others when you are in the role of lifeguard.
Hours of Operation. Similar to a business, there must be times when you close your doors. This gives you figurative time to clean, restock, and prepare your spiritual “store” for another day of service. Set the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your phone, shut your laptop and put it in a different room from the one in which you take rest. Give yourself space and time to show up better the next day.
Referrals and Resources. There are many people and places that are professionally equipped to save others. We can do just as much service to those we seek to save by pointing them to professionals and other resources that have the capacity to help them far more effectively than we ever could.
Literal Life Jackets. If you jump into a body of water with a life jacket on, it lifts you up. Identify and engage in the practices, with the people, and in environments that lift you up and keep you light.
As events and realities in our world get increasingly agonizing, I challenge you to think about how you can help others, while preserving yourself. If you are not safely above water, there will be no one left to save them.
I am light.
I am protected.
I am of highest and best service to others when I preserve myself.
Master Your Mindset to Manifest a Life You Love. Most Sincerely, Monica Marie Jones Your Soul Journey Guide