Be True to Yourself Probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do was to love myself. Nobody is, or ever has been harder on me than I am on myself. I push myself in everything I do, second guess every word I say and question every action I take. When I make mistakes, forgiving myself is extremely difficult. There was a time in my life when I was always conscious of what other people thought; their perceptions of me. I was concerned with how I dressed, the kind of car I drove and how much money I had. All my values were wrapped up in competing with the status quo. I survived two failed marriages, eighteen months of unemployment and years of under employment. My parents were always hard on me too, pushing me to be something I never really wanted to be. As I tried harder to fit into their expectations I consistently felt unworthy and that I wasn’t good enough to be their beloved son. I Can’t Walk On Water Most of my life I’ve never had self-confidence. I always put in extra hours, practiced more and studied harder to make up for what I felt I was missing in ability. But as I’ve learned to love myself more, forgive myself for my mistakes and see myself as a winner, I’ve conquered a new found spirit that I never knew I had. The turning point for me came when I realized that there is only one person I need to please. There is only one person I’m responsible for in my life and only one person I need to make sure is happy. That person is myself. I realized that all the chasing of things and the pursuit of perfection wasn’t serving me at all. It was in fact stealing my joy and happiness and I knew it had to change. Once I gave up on meeting the standards of others I found myself free to be confident in the things I did, the things I pursued. I stopped trying to compete with others who wanted to be the most handsome, most physically fit or the smartest or brightest in the class. I began to see myself grow. I could see that over time, with hard work and determination, that I had skills and experience that many others did not. I came to a place where the time I spent doing things I like to do was more rewarding than doing things that people expected me to do or that I was doing to simply please them. Don’t get this confused with not caring for others. I have kids and a wonderful wife that all deserve my time and attention. I have to devote time to doing what they enjoy and not be selfish in that regard. But rather than doing those things so that it would please them, I found ways to make it rewarding for me. The other side of this coin is selfishness. Some people only do what makes them happy with no regard for how it hurts others or robs other people of their joy. That isn’t a healthy lifestyle to pursue either. Those people ultimately find themselves very alone because nobody wants to be with someone who is selfish and self centered. So it’s important that we don’t get too full of ourselves. Low self-esteem can lead us down a path to ruin. We end up in toxic relationships, using drugs and alcohol and torturing ourselves over things that are ultimately not so important. A swollen self-esteem can make us haughty and selfish and often lead to a great deal of loneliness and isolation because nobody else can live up to our standards. Finding the perfect balance for yourself can be as simple as making a list of things that make you a happier and a more productive person. Take time for yourself and work hard at what you do, but don’t forget that reflecting outwards will also make life more rewarding. Find ways to enrich the lives of others, of those you love and be involved in their lives. Put a value on relationships above things. Strive to achieve your goals but remember to take time to play.