I Hope You Give Yourself the Same Opportunities You Give Others
No one expects you to be able to handle everything alone. It's okay to take a moment to look after yourself for a change. Remember, you need you too.
You’re always willing to offer a helping hand to anyone who needs it. Always happy to listen to anyone who needs a sympathetic ear or offer a comforting shoulder to cry on. Unwaveringly kind, helpful, and thoughtful, and always ready with a friendly smile, an understanding look, and an open heart.
It doesn’t even matter if they let you down or treat you badly. There you are once again, giving them new chances and new opportunities to change their life. You help show them new paths, understand different points of view, heal wounds, assuage doubts, and conquer fears. Because at the end of the day, you know that people are just trying to do the best they can, even if the rest of us can’t see it.
You’re a source of support for those who stumble, the motor driving them onward, and the flame that lights up the darkness. You’re always there, always. Kindness is your signature and your most powerful weapon. But with so much compassion and understanding for others, why are you so hard on yourself? Why do you turn your back on yourself and ignore your own needs, to the point where you become invisible, even to your own eyes? Why don’t you give yourself the same opportunities you give others?
Consider the following:
“The unwavering friend smells of unconditional love and acceptance. They smell of affection, and those long hugs where you close your eyes and feel your face break into a warm smile. These people smell of love, friendship, and the family you choose. They smell like, “I’ll always be here for you, no matter what”. They trust you, even when you’ve stopped trusting yourself. And while they can’t stop you from falling, they speak the words that only someone who has spent a lifetime stitching up their own wounds would know you needed to hear.”
-Pablo Arribas, Reparando Alas Rotas (In English: Repairing Broken Wings)-
Sometimes, even you need a little time to yourself. A brief moment of silence and peace in a world of chaos. Although helping others might be high on your priority list, there comes a time when you have to ask the question, “What about me?”
It’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out or to have days where you feel like you just can’t handle what’s going on around you. It’s okay, believe me. You have the right to fall apart, get knocked down, and lose your way. You’ve spent your life finding strength when you have none left to give and putting on a brave face so that no one will notice how much you’re struggling.
This habit becomes more dangerous when you constantly expect too much of yourself, when you beat yourself up and put yourself down, criticizing and blaming yourself for every little mistake. It’s as if you have no compassion for yourself, or at least not in the same way that you do for others. When you let your mistakes weigh you down, you carry them with you wherever you go.
So I hope you know that you’re perfect, just the way you are, imperfections and all. After all, it’s your flaws that make you who you are: a living being with countless strengths and hundreds of scars. Believe me when I say that all that pain, all that suffering, all those worries and fears, you have to let them go. If you don’t, it won’t be long before you drown in them. Only you can set yourself free.
Learning to love yourself
Take the time to find yourself again and remember to love yourself for who you are. There’s no better medicine than the warmth that comes from knowing we’re loved.
I hope you give yourself the same opportunities you give to others. I hope you learn to be as kind, patient, and understanding with yourself as you are with those around you. You don’t always have to be perfect, and you’re allowed to have a bad day now and again. It’s okay not to be okay, and you don’t have to put on a front for the benefit of others.
Don’t forget to set boundaries, both for yourself and for the people around you. Sometimes, you need to know when to say no. Because as good and kind as you are, your needs have to be respected.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Just as you forgive others, I hope you forgive yourself. Whatever happened, or whatever you did, forgive yourself. Both for the times you tried and failed, and the times when you didn’t even know where to start. Have the courage to give yourself a second chance, start over, and discover new points of view.
Because if you can forgive others, why can’t you forgive yourself? Stop expecting so much from yourself, and let go of the idea that you’ll ever be perfect. The fact is, it’s simply not possible. And rather than helping you, this unrealistic goal will only torment you. If you find it difficult to forgive yourself, try this simple exercise: imagine that what happened to you happened to one of your friends. How would you react?
We all feel a little broken now and again, and that’s okay. More than that, it’s actually an essential part of the road toward personal growth and development. Forgive yourself, and treat yourself with love and affection – just as you always do with others.
Little by little, I hope you’ll realize that it’s okay to say no and to take a little time for yourself. Sometimes, a little “me” time is essential. These quiet moments of self-reflection will allow you to explore how you’re really feeling and work out where you’re going in life. They give you a chance to recharge your batteries so that you can continue to be there for those who need you.
“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”