I'm not the woman who is capable of being selfish. I'm the one who puts others first. I like making people happy. I give people a million chances. I forgive people. And apparently...that's a super bad thing.

I was recently told that I don't love myself very much because I was willing to reach out to someone who means a lot to me who did a mean and hurtful thing to me, but seemed like they wanted to talk and maybe reach out. When do you put yourself first, I was asked. To love oneself means to put yourself first; over your family, your friends, everyone. That's the true measure of self love. Maybe. Or maybe that's why all of our interpersonal relationships are f***ed up. Someone irritates you? Cut them loose! After all, they didn't do it right. Got in a fight? Better break up/disown that family member/end the friendship. Because people who struggle should be abandoned, that's the way to go. Then we wonder why we can't find love/the holidays suck/etc. 

But I'm not here to preach to you on how to do you, that's not me. I can only look at the kind of woman I want to be. And I want to be really freaking nice. 

I want to be the woman who gives chances and helps people grow. I want to build up others and help them feel like they can be their best selves. I want to be a role model to my own children. I want to be someone who forgives and offers the olive branch to the worst offenders. After all, every religion tells us to give the most love to those who deserve it the least. I've gone through some really awful times and not been my best self and I had friends that bailed because they had to think about themselves and friends (like my best friend and my Texan best friend) who sat in the trenches with me, called me on my crap and helped me elevate myself into the best kind of woman I could be. Part of the evolution of man is to find the person that you were meant to be. And I realized that I want to be a good writer, a good person, a good mother, and someone who wants to see the best in people, even when they show me the worst of them. I want to be the woman who still finds a reason to love people, even when they suck giant ass. I don't see this as a flaw; I see this as a strength. I see being strong enough to look past people when they do bad things and see the goodness that they are capable of as the greatest strength of all. It's easy to walk away; it takes true strength to see people through their bad behaviour, just like I would want someone to do for me if I was being a miserable bitch or irrational or stupid. 

I don't think it makes me weak or that I somehow have forgotten to love myself. I am proud of the woman I see when I look in the mirror. I work on my physical and mental health. I pride myself on my work ethic. I have accomplished great things. I fought so hard to become the woman I have built myself into and I love her so much. However, I realized long ago that my self love would be false if I didn't extend that love to others, so that they may find their own self love and value. And besides, wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone tried building each other up instead of treating each other like crap and constantly putting our own needs ahead of everyone else? 

Obviously, I don't mean people who are cruel, or abusive. I'm talking about showing empathy to misguided souls who mean well, but struggle in their journey. I will always try to build those people up so that when they look in the mirror, they can love themselves too because that makes me happy and makes me feel whole, because that is the type of woman that I want to be.

Published by Mary-Helen Clark