Have you ever put someone else’s needs ahead of your own? We all do it - we’re human, after all. There is a name for this generous tendency. Economists refer to this situation, when one person's well-being cannot be improved without making another person's position worse, as the Pareto efficiency.
One example of the Pareto efficiency is the use of oxygen masks when air pressure drops during an airline flight. If you are traveling with a child, your first instinct is to put their mask on them before fitting your own. However, as every pre-flight safety lecture insists, you must put on your own mask first before helping others. Your first action needs to be to ensure your own health and safety. Sometimes you need to override that generous tendency and think of your own survival first - then you are free to help those around you.
When living with a chronic condition, you could be impacting your overall health if you put the needs of others first. It’s okay to give yourself permission to slow down and reflect before saying ‘yes’ to helping someone else to ensure your needs have been met first. Moreover, give yourself permission to say ‘no’ with kindness. It can be empowering to do so.
Do you find yourself taking care of everyone else before taking care of yourself? Do you try to take measures to think of yourself first before saying yes?
Here are some conversations about this topic from the community:
"Today, I actually took a day off of work for self-care. This doesn't happen often. Feeling extra positive today!"
"Yes, I'm HIV positive undetectable and more healthy than ever. Now I take care of myself more than before."
"Honestly, it's not about living with HIV - I've overcome it for a long time. It's about spending more time with myself and exploring a new me who is coming out, as patience and wisdom are added to the aging process."
Comment below or post on myHIVteam with ways you've had to put yourself first before helping others.