Share The Love (Even With Yourself)

I spend a lot of time worrying if I’m kind enough. I always want to be the person who responds to a situation with compassion and empathy. And sometimes that backfires. Sometimes people take advantage of that empathy and compassion.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is to share that empathy and compassion with myself. It’s so easy to blame myself when people do things that hurt me. I desperately want to believe that we all get what we deserve, and that my actions towards others are always fair and reasonable, but that’s rarely how it works. Our decisions and perceptions are often colored by the various experiences we’ve had with our lives. Those of us who experience mental illness or trauma may see attacks where there aren’t any, or try desperately to help people whose actions intentionally or unintentionally hurt us, with no regard to our own mental health.

When people are hurting us, it’s okay to say no and to walk away. It doesn’t mean we’ve failed. It means that we’re not the best person to help them right now. It means that as much as we love the other person, we also love ourselves, and we deserve to be treated with kindness.

I can’t fix people. I can lead them to resources to help them help themselves, but I can’t do the work for them. I have a responsibility to myself to treat me with the love and kindness I want to give other people. That’s easy to forget sometimes.