From an early age, I learned that it was my responsibility to take care of others. I’ve been the one assigned to look after my older sister since the age of four, and I’m still doing that. Only now, I do so because we went through a war together as children. We survived. As I grew older, I possessed a reservoir of compassion inside me that led to me taking responsibility for those I came in contact with. I felt a lot of joy in being able to help over the years. It gave me purpose, but I also learned how to love others more than myself. When my son was born, I learned a deeper, more powerful way to give love. I learned to love with everything within me and when the time came to release him into the world to make his own way, I was able to do that successfully. I learned to let go so he could fly. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but necessary if you want your child to become a man. I’ve had friendships over the years that have really mattered to me. I was happy to take on the responsibility of seeing to some of their needs. It was never a burden to do so, because I loved them. I have spent a great part of my life giving to others except one person. That person was me.
Learning to love myself has been my greatest weakness. I haven’t been successful doing that. I hold myself to such high standards. When I don’t meet my expectations, I analyze myself to see why, and I push myself even more than I did before. I am relentless at times.
Now, I stand at a crossroad. Do I choose to love myself more than someone else? Should my needs be more important? Why, in order to love yourself, do you have to lose someone who means so much to you? For the first time in my life I am choosing to put my needs first. I don’t know why. Maybe that is learning to love yourself. If so, the cost is enormous to the human heart.