‘In case of emergency, put your own mask first before helping others’. We’re all too familiar with the over-scripted airline instruction, the ubiquitous mantra of distant travel.
Sometimes interpreted as a much deeper life lesson, you can easily understand how this advice can lend a better you, a you that can help more by just helping yourself first. But is helping others always the goal? I would argue that in most normal situations it is not. Personal goals are first and foremost self-serving and only after, altruistic. No matter how you look at it, there is a certain amount of egoism in this lesson even though at first thought, you may be tempted to think differently.
Not everyone is made to help others yet all of us are made wanting to live our best lives. The one exception is motherhood. When that occurs, instincts jolt your being into an altruism that you had not thought possible before. Yet as surprising as it may be, both, ubiquitous egotism and the motherhood effect are extremely similar. When babies come, for a mother, they are ‘her’. They are a more vulnerable ‘her’ thus in need of more care and attention. She does not really realize that her baby is a different person until much, much later.
And when a baby comes and the nuclear, or any other kind of family develops, the need for shelter transforms itself into a need of cocooning. Homes play an increasingly important role. In the eyes of Faith Popcorn and George Will, they represent the “shell of safety” that severs you from the “harassments of the daily life”. In late 80’s they both studied how home-focused behaviour intensified and generated a whole industry of coziness from plush furniture to wearables. It is now so ingrained on our lives that, despite Popcorn’s prediction of a countercurrent, they are as permanent as the need for meals and sleep.
And at the end of the day, you can almost read how a person is satisfied with themselves by walking through their home. It is not a question of budget. Serenity, relaxation, happiness, they all live in the still objects around you. In the choice you make with everything from decor to colours, to the furnished layout of your rooms.
Style has its own stereotypes and as far as cocooning goes, nothing spells it better than plush, soft textiles and warm light. As days dwindle from one to the next, the prospect of relaxation and recharge that allows us to continue is much more enhanced by a conducive environment.
The more attention you pay to yourself, the more attention you should pay to your home.
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