Love for others has been, always, a lot easier for me over the years than having compassion for myself. I have been so goal-oriented since childhood. Probably because I wanted to improve my circumstances in life and have a good future. I knew I was the only one who could make that happen. Accomplishments gave me something positive to focus on and it distracted me from painful memories from the past. I enjoyed the challenges that came my way.
I was interested in improving myself as a person so I did a lot of reading and had some therapy which was very beneficial for my growth as a professional, my skills as a parent, and it helped me understand others I came in contact with. I learned more effective communication skills, problem solving skills, conflict resolution skills, and assertiveness skills. But it really wasn’t until I became ill and had to face learning to accept the loss of my physical strength and energy levels, and had to face my own limitations, that I saw I had work to do. I had to face the realization I was sorely in need of guidance and work on self-esteem issues, my self-respect, and that I had to learn to develop more compassion for me. My job was no longer there to distract me or serve as a resource for self-validation. I no longer had the physical attributes that once gave me self-confidence and pride. My family had moved on because of job opportunities. I no longer had youth as a resource.
It’s been difficult learning how to make myself a priority. I struggle with it. I’m still learning a lot about self-love. It’s not as easy to do for some of us who grew up putting others as number one in our priority list. I want to share with you a poem by an Unknown Author that has been one of my favorite poems.
I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know;
I don’t want to stand, with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I’ve done.
I want to go out with my head erect;
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and self
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know
That I’m bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can foul myself, and so
Whatever happens I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.