I think that a lot of things in life are a fine line. Recently I had a fight with my best friend, a really big fight, and I don't know if we will come back from it. I am really sad. I am so sad, in fact, that I spent most of two days in bed and I almost called off of work last night. My heart is broken and I said some things I certainly didn't mean. (I think I screamed at her voicemail that she is a bad friend, which is not true and I don't even know why I was shrieking) My point is that there is a fine line when you love hard. Loving hard means that you feel everything deeply, including sadness, disappointment, and anger.
When I was an active member of Alcoholics Anonymous, my sponsor had me reading "Codependent No More" and I related to it almost as heavily as I relate to the AA Big Book. I absolutely tie my own opinion of myself into my relationships with others. Sometimes, I take care of people who neither want nor need it and sometimes I allow myself to feel defeated when they don't return the feelings that I think that they should. I think that these things are a fine line because I will never stop helping and taking care of my friends, I will always love them fiercely and I will always put them first. I am a human being and I will sometimes get my feelings hurt when my friends let me down. I need to find the side of the line where I am not giving time, effort, and emotion that I don't have to give.
The flip side of that is that sometimes I become to proficient at "self-care" that I become selfish. I start putting my own needs ahead of the needs of everyone else and in the end I am so well cared-for that I am emotionally unavailable and impossible to be around. Like I said, it is definitely a fine line. I don't have a solution. I don't have a grand idea on how to find the balance I so desperately seek. What I do have is a specific priority set: my health, my kids, my girlfriends, my happiness, and my job are my top 5. I do my best to juggle these things and to be honest with myself when I need a break or a rest. I do my best to be honest with my friends and to communicate with my kids about what I can and cannot do. When I can't do something, I try and give honest reasons. I am not perfect at this, sometimes I fall short. Some days, I want to lay in my bed, eating trail mix, and check out from the world. Sometimes I get my feelings hurt and end up screaming at the voicemail of someone who I love deeply.
At the end of the day, I think that we are all trying to find balance in one way or another. We need to acknowledge that balance is an illusion. It doesn't exist because life will always be busy and overwhelming and we will always be letting something go by the wayside. We all should just do more, try harder, and keep setting goals and being the best we can. In the immortal words of Slug,
"In the days of Kings and Queens I was a jester
Treat me like a God, or they treat me like a leper
You see me move back and forth between both
I'm trying to find a balance
I'm trying to build a balance"