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  • Suzannah M. Barrie

You First, Then Others


This picture was taken on Mother's Day 2017. It still pains me to look at it. How smiles can lie and hurt can be hidden. I was putting on a brave face this sunny day on the trampoline with my sons determined to be the finest mother and role model. On this day my mother died and I was told I had breast cancer. Diabolical. This is where my world changed and my beliefs shifted, where I learned some very valuable lessons.


The Number 1 regret of those dying is that they didn't live a life true to their heart. Documented by numerous hospice workers and palliative care nurses, there's actually a list of the five biggest regrets of the dying such as not pursuing their own dreams and aspirations, wishing they didn't work so hard, having the courage to express their own feelings, staying in touch with friends and family, and letting themselves be happier.


You can take it from me, it's the truth. In the last two years, I've incorporated a new concept in my life which is putting myself first. You're familiar with the idea. You've probably heard phrases such as "you can't pour from an empty cup", to put your own air mask on before your children, that you're no good to others when you've depleted yourself, and so on.


When presented with my own health crisis, the first thing that popped in my head was "but what about what I want". You don't get a karmic pass because you're helped and taken care of everyone else. It no longer mattered that I put my career first, my family, my children, my dying mother, my animals, my farm. What mattered most in that moment of facing my own mortality is what I still wanted and knowing full well it could be taken away without my consent.

What matters most is that my body comes first, always. My needs must be met so that I can give freely and wholly. It's self-preservation.


Putting yourself first isn't selfish, it's essential. Not taking good care of ourselves leads to stress that weakens our immune system and leaves us vulnerable. From that moment on, I changed, I decided I would give myself everything that I wanted and it's unconditional. I'm living my life on my terms on each beautiful morning I still take breath and I will have no regrets. The only person that is going to save me is ME.


I did save myself. Through self-preservation, I have become a survivor and replenished my cup and now the cup overflows with all that I can give.

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