There is a very fine line between being good to others and being vulnerable to being used. Good people cross it often if they don’t pay attention to it. But is there a balance between loving others and loving yourself? The answer is yes.
I believe that the key to achieving this balance is to put yourself at the same level as those that you help. Let me explain what I mean. Let’s say for example that you have 3 loaves of bread and 4 people that you need to split the bread for. How do you do it? I bet that the answer will be that you will split those 3 loaves of bread into 4 equal pieces as perfectly as you can. But what will happen if you are one of those 4 people? Most people consider excluding themselves to help others, so all the 3 ones will get one bread each. Yet, we wouldn’t do this or even consider it for someone else.
That’s because kindness can tip in the other extreme and makes ourselves last. In the long term, that is very damaging for us and it also exposes us to people that like to take advantage of others. A generous king that serve his people must also have a very big wall to protect them. We need to protect ourselves as well because if we fall, all the help that we can give to those that deserve it also falls. It means that if we don’t protect our own self by taking care of ourselves as well, all the people that depend on us will suffer. There is nothing noble in sacrificing yourself continuously for the sake of others.
The Bible advises us to love our neighbor just like ourselves, not above us. Loving yourself and taking care of your wellbeing is not selfish. In fact, taking care of yourself means that you take care of the main source of good that you can bring into the world. A plant has to consume and take care of itself first, before being able to bear fruit and feed other life forms. It’s the same things for us. And even more than this, the way we treat ourselves spreads a certain example to be followed by others. You wouldn’t want any of your loved ones to go around neglecting themselves while trying too much to help others.
You must protect yourself from people that like to take advantage of good persons, and also take care of yourself so you have the energy and stamina to accomplish all the things that you want to accomplish. If you want to help others, you must first help yourself. Love yourself just as much as you love those around you. Treat yourself just like you would like to see someone you love treating themselves.
Treat yourself with love, kindness, protection, and patience. Don’t be ashamed to take time to rest properly, to applaud your own success, to spoil yourself from time to time or simply treat yourself like you matter. As long as taking care of yourself doesn’t become a purpose, it’s nothing greedy about it. It’s a necessary part of human success and development. You can’t be productive if you are not happy, well rested and well fed. You can’t bring the best you have if you treat yourself the worst. Taking care of yourself is an investment for you and for those that you love. They need you and your best self, and you can provide to them only by taking care of the source.