The Complexity of Choosing “You”
Growing up many of us are taught the Golden Rule to treats others as we would like to be treated. In a Christian home, this correlates with the scripture of Matthew 22:39. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” This commandment is said to be the second greatest commandment in scripture, but I think it is one of the most misunderstood commandments in the scripture. A wise woman put this scripture into perspective for me when she said to me “God commands that you love your neighbor as yourself, not love your neighbor more than yourself.” That statement caused a light to come on for me. The complexity of loving thy neighbor as thyself is that we associate love with sacrifice, patience, and forgiveness all of which require some level of selflessness… but how much is simply too much? This is where choosing you becomes a significant part of your mental, emotional, and spiritual journey. Yes, we love the people in our lives, but when they require things of us that disrupt our peace and sanity, it’s the perfect time to choose yourself.
There were times in my life where I’ve given my last to help those in need who never thought twice about my sacrifice in the future. There were times when I supported those who wouldn’t even grace me with a thank you. There were times when I rushed to the aid of those who wouldn’t dare do the same for me. I counted all this to the commandment of loving others as I loved myself. But every time I thought about how I sacrificed beyond what I could afford and had nothing to show for it and no sign of reciprocation, that did something to my mental state of being. It fed my feelings of low self-worth, insignificance, and loneliness. I was not loving myself or choosing myself by allowing others to take advantage of my kindness. I learned to say “no” when it was necessary. I learned to sacrifice and support others within reason. And I finally chose my holistic wellness over that of others. When doing so, some may call you selfish, inconsiderate, and even rude. But when you’ve sacrificed more than you can and you end up in a crisis situation may it be eviction or on the verge of a mental breakdown, trust those same people will talk about that too. Simply put, love yourself enough to choose you when it matters the most, and only give to others what you can bear to sacrifice in love.
The heart of a lover of others and thyself!
PS: To the wise woman, Ms. Gloria, you changed my life more than you’ll ever know and understand.