A New Principle To Live By?
We’ve all heard the guiding principle that doctors live by, “First, do no harm”. This simply means that whatever you do in your attempt to help or treat a patient, the patient’s safety is still the primary consideration.
Now, I have taken that phrase and changed it to, “First, do yourself no harm” to describe another principle that I have just come to understand and would like to introduce to you all, and it has nothing to do with medicine or doctor-patient relationship. By this statement, I simply wish to describe the principle of taking care of yourself and your needs first, before trying to meet the needs of others.
Whoa! Hold on… I can almost hear some of you rising up in protest, LOL! Sounds so selfish and ego-centric you say? I understand perfectly why you would react that way. We were brought up in the mentality that putting others before our own selves is the righteous and Godly way of living…in fact, that is exactly what God commanded us to do, right? That being willing to sacrifice your own needs and happiness for the sake of others is not only heroic but that it is what genuine love is all about. Before anybody here starts sending me hate mails (kidding!), let me explain what I mean by this.
First, let me assure you all that I am not here to promote selfishness or self-centeredness. NOT at all. I am a firm believer of the Biblical command to love God above all else as being the number one rule we should follow in life, and that next to it is to love your neighbors as you love yourself. Believe it or not, it is on that last phrase, “as you love yourself” that the principle of “First, do yourself no harm” was built.
Again, the idea is not trying to teach you to put yourself first in a self-absorbed way. On the contrary, it follows the second command from the Bible that I mentioned earlier in that it is motivated by your love for others – your family, your friends, and everyone else who look to you. To use the same illustration by Michael Hyatt in his eBook “Creating Your Personal Life Plan“, if you have ever traveled by plane, then you are most likely familiar with the emergency procedure of making sure you’ve got your oxygen mask on first before you assist anybody else in case of an emergency. This is because you are no good to anybody else if you, yourself, are gagging for air!
So what does this look like when it comes to life application?
- Start your day by making sure YOU are right with God FIRST before you even leave your bedroom and interact with anybody in the house. Commit your thoughts, your plans, your struggles, your desires, your needs to God, as well as the challenges you are likely to encounter that day so that you may have the grace to handle and overcome whatever comes your way that day. Just as you would check your car to make sure it’s working perfectly fine and is safe to drive before you hit the road, you would likewise want to make sure that you won’t be a potential danger, disappointment, discouragement or destruction to anybody you encounter.
- Make sure that you prioritize YOUR relationship with God because nothing you do will really flourish if you do not seek Him first in your life. Focus on your own spiritual growth and credibility, guarding your heart and your thoughts so that YOU do not become a stumbling block to the people around you. That way you will be able to minister more effectively to their spiritual needs.
- You obviously need to take care of your health. Make sure you’re eating right, you’re getting enough exercise and sleep, and you are taking your vitamins regularly. Just like in Michael Hyatt’s airplane illustration earlier, you are no good to your family if you’re sick, or worse, dead. You need to be physically strong and fit in order to engage in various family activities.
- Whether you are a professional or still in school, aim to excel in whatever you believe you’re good at. You will be in a much better position to help and inspire others to strive for excellence and succeed if you are also successful in your field.
- Constantly surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you – people who just have a way of stretching your patience just a little bit more for you when life gets a little too tough; people who inspire you to keep running the race, people who constantly remind you that you are a blessing in their lives. Stay away from destructive, hateful, jealous and deceitful people. Unless you feel confident enough that you are capable of influencing them to turn away from their destructive behavior, it’s best to avoid such people, for even the Bible says that “bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Are You Up For It?
So, does this principle still sound ego-centric to you? By now, I’m sure you understand exactly what I mean when I said that this principle is in fact motivated by love for others and the desire to be a blessing, to be a miracle, to be an inspiration to others. So the next time the command to love others as you love yourself comes to mind, remember that to be capable of doing this, you must see to it that first, you do yourself no harm.
Note: By the way, Michael Hyatt’s Creating Your Life Plan is a brilliant, easy-to-read E-Book… and it costs absolutely nothing to download! Click here to download your copy.
What about you? Do you agree to this principle? Do you see yourself applying it in your life? What are your thoughts on this? Please do share them with me.
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