Walking the fine line between doing what we know makes others happy and what is best for ourselves is never an easy task. There are times that the line diverges so drastically that it becomes a choice of “me or them?”. The more we love, the more we sacrifice the me in that equation. In an ideal world the give and take balances out, but life and people aren’t ideal. There are no happy-ever-afters; merely happy or even joyful moments on the roller coaster called life.
A counselor told me once, “I want you to hear and remember that you don’t have to have all the right answers. You won’t make the right choices every time. If you make a good choice 51% of the time, you are doing well. That’s okay.”
Raise your hand if that rubs you the wrong way even just a tiny bit. (My hand is raised.) Intellectually I know I won’t always have the answers, but I am a seeker of truth and knowledge. I may not know now, but I sure as heck will try to find it eventually. I also admit that I may not make the right choice every time, but damn if I’m going to barely beat the odds of a coin toss. His message wasn’t really to take that percent literally. He simply wanted me to realize that I should cut myself some slack. Our own worst critics are typically ourselves.
The hardest tasks in my life are not being a mother, or getting good grades, or juggling the gazillion balls involved with being a divorced mom of three. The hardest tasks are those where I must step back and do what I need, knowing that in doing so a loved one will be hurt emotionally. Perhaps their hurt or anger is foolish in my opinion, but emotions don’t have brains. I read people well, and can guess with rather fair accuracy how they will react. I feel other’s pain with an acuity that rivals the one feeling the emotion. It is a strength, in that it guides me into making kind and selfless decisions. People seek my counsel because I care and I can often help them wade through their sea of troubles or at the very least give them a brief respite in which they do not feel so alone. That aspect of my personality is also one of my greatest faults. It’s far too easy to give so much of yourself that you are left with very little. I’m readjusting that line which I walk, and it’s not a simple undertaking.
There’s a line in the Bible that I feel describes what we as human being should ascribe to (I’m not a Bible quoter in general. I know this is from a Gospel, but which one, I do not recall) : “Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself.” For someone like me, it is ironic that the first and second come easier than the bit about loving yourself. So remember, in order to give of yourself, you must tend your body, mind, and spirit with the same care as you would your dearest love.