And He Saved Himself

He never understood why on airplanes they tell you to secure your life mask before attempting to secure someone else’s, but maybe that was just him. Yet, to know that, you’d need to know him.

On a warm day in July, on a day where you could taste the humidity, he was pulled into life. Violent and against his will, he came into this world ignorant, fearful, and for reasons the world could not yet understand, shivering in the heat. This was his first glimpse into a life where everyone would expect him to do one thing and he would do the other.

Nevertheless, in his early years, he was loved, nurtured, and rarely rejected. He can remember being told that we would be the one to save this world. His battles back then were only with himself. His only desire was simply to be good.

But as he sprouted, he became more and more different. He soon realized that the seeds planted for him were contrasted slightly with the thing he was blooming into and he cried, and he prayed, and he begged for people to tell him that he was the thing they wanted him to be. And sometimes they did, and for a moment, he had peace. But when they didn’t, it sent on a spiral of pain and abuse, unpredictability and risky behavior. But to him, it was good because someone else said it was.

And then, after years and years, of his identity being tied to the beliefs of others, he was born again. And he saw himself ever so briefly for not who they said he was but as he was, and it was good. And in the instance, not that it matters, everyone took note. Some rejoiced with him, but some rejected him.

“It hurts me to see you this way, save me from this pain,” they cried. And for a moment, he was back to that kid, trying to be good. And he considered saving them from the pain of seeing himself live life not as the seed they planted, but as a beautiful work of art, crafted deliberately to be all that he is.

And instead of saving them from their false pain of him walking in his destiny, he saved himself and he prayed that they too would do the same.

I never understood why on airplanes they tell you to secure your life mask before attempting to secure someone else’s, but if you can’t save yourself, how the hell can you save someone else?

DJ Jeffries Subscriber

DJ Jeffries is a self-proclaimed “intrapreneur” and entrepreneur with an obsession for challenging the status quo. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he’s been awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Fellowship, the University Innovation Fellowship (through Stanford University) and the Richard B. Fisher Fellowship (Morgan Stanley). He is the founder and editor of , an online motivation publication, the host of the Hacking Happiness podcast, and is currently an HR Innovation Analyst at Morgan Stanley.

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