Loving and treating myself better like I do others is going to take work

The bible speaks of treating others the way you want to be treated. It also speaks of loving others as you love yourself. These two suggestions or commandments are so simple to read yet so hard to do for many.

I follow these two commandments with a breeze. In fact, I follow them so much that I'm left feeling depleted emotionally, financially, and physically. I'm sure that's not what God intended.

I have always put others before me but never knew why. I often wonder if it had something to do with being the middle child of my family.

There are three older and three younger but my giving gravitated toward the younger. The older got their share of the pie as I got older.

I was never told to give; it was just in me to do, and I'm grateful for it. This trait of mine has worsened as I've gotten older. I now have children of my own and trust me, they are definitely my first and foremost priority. Still, somehow, that little seed in me feels the need to help my family.

I realize in my heart of hearts that I need to tone down my generosity in a humongous way. I forgot to mention that the giving of my time at everyone's beck and call has totally gotten out of hand, and has done so for many years.

I can beat myself up and say that this is my fault because I let this happen and a part of it is true, so I own it. What I don't own is, now that I'm older and had time to think about it, the other reason why I've allowed myself to treat others better than myself, is guilt.

Yes--guilt. Guilt is a terrible manipulation tactic. It's especially terrible when you do it to your children. It was done to me all of my life but I didn't realize it. I didn't realize I was "guilt-tripped" by some of my immediate family members until I was in my 20s and was totally sucked into it.

I discovered that my mom was never interested in anything I did or any accomplishments I made. It still bothers me when I think about why she never came to school to pick up my report cards. Don't get me wrong--she is totally there when I am sick and has been there for my children during my lupus illness and my flares and I am greatly appreciative of that.

It's just those little things that hurt that she didn't think was important. I find myself to this date "buying her attention" with things she like. I also overheard her mention to someone that she "likes to make her children feel guilty" when she don't get her way. Whether she was joking or not, that was not cool.

My dad, who I thought was a good listener all of these years, only listened to me in order to ask me for what he wanted after the conversation was over. It wasn't like that before but now all I've become is a cash cow of sorts. Half of the time I don't answer the phone when he call because I know what he wants. He has his way of making me feel guilty because I didn't answer. Bummer.

It seems like I've wasted a lot of years pleasing others instead of pleasing myself because I never knew how. I love what Michelle Obama said: "Whenever you don't make yourself a priority, you place yourself further down the list!" She is absolutely correct! I wasn't even on the list!

Thankfully, I'm only 51 years old and have some years left in me to start anew. It's going to take some work and I'll start with Dr. Phil McGraw's quote, which I think is very doable: "When you start to feel that you deserve better, you'll start creating an environment that shows it."

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Filed under: Health and Wellness

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