I admit I didn’t know what that line from that famous song meant. Experience became my teacher. I didn’t know I already had it within me.
I was a fool who rushed where angels feared to tread, giving everything I could, sparing none for myself. Faith, principles, family, friendship, independence, financial well-being, health – name it, I sacrificed it on the altar of foolishness that was love. This sounds incredibly cheesy, but that’s the cheesy reality. Moral lesson: listen to the advice – leave something for yourself.
After some time, I started to wonder why the person for whom I sacrificed everything didn’t seem to appreciate my efforts and sacrifices. Everyone has his/her own bad side, but if you love someone, I believe you learn to accept that side. He seemed to focus on what he didn’t like about me. He was blind to the good that I did and the good intentions I had that drove my words, actions and decisions. It was painful to finally accept that he didn’t love me like he should.
A man who loves you wouldn’t two time you when you’re pregnant. He wouldn’t go home in the wee hours of the morning, without caring if you stayed up waiting for him. He wouldn’t spout a tangle of lies. He wouldn’t argue with you and make you cry because he would be concerned both for you and baby since you’re carrying his child. To top it off, he wouldn’t be professing his love to his married officemate on the first death anniversary of your son.
You come to the point when all you have left is your self-respect. He filed his supposed paternity leave to help me take care of baby since I could barely move after the emergency caesarean operation. But at around 6pm (after official office hours), he’d go to his office and stay until midnight to hook up with his paramour. So with my forbearance that’s been depleted, I tried to confront him. But he turns the tables on me and is angrier.
He casts me as the villainess because I sent him packing when I had enough. It was the one thing he hates the most – being thrown out. Regardless if he did the one thing I hate the most – being unfaithful to me. Didn’t he ask for it? Our baby was just a week old.
Even with my flaws, whether real or conjured, I didn’t deserve what he did. And I say no one deserves to be treated the way I was treated. What is left when you have given your all? A sense of self-preservation. The knowledge that, as a child of God, as a human being, I do not deserve to be treated that way. I deserved respect. And, I had too much self-respect.
Now I understand firsthand, learning to love yourself is indeed the greatest love of all.
“Don’t wait until everything is right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger.” – Mark Victor Hansen