I was raised in a construction family. Mom spoiled my brother and I and we turned out to be brats in many ways. I always had champagne taste on a beer budget. Our step-dad should have put the hammer down, but Mom would have no part of it.
We reached adulthood not understanding much about integrity, loyalty or honesty. Please understand that our parents possessed all three in abundance. They did the very best they could, but after doing without before and during WW II, our parents wanted us to have everything they were unable to possess.
I wanted to be one of the popular boys in school and I envied the jocks and their cheerleader girlfriends. Let’s face it; I did not fit in with the high society group no matter how hard I tried. Money bought a smile, but smiles were offset with snickers and condemnation behind my back. When I finally learned that the ‘in crowd’ was laughing behind my back, my self-esteem hit rock bottom.
As a young adult I became a loner and burnt bridges faster than they could be built. Alcohol and drugs became more important than relationships and stability. I lived for today without regard for tomorrow and I was always one step ahead of bill collectors and sometimes the law. Being a speedboat without a rudder can be exciting, but sooner or later a crash is inevitable.
50 years of my life were spent in the fast lane. After many failed relationships and children left fatherless – one day I looked into a mirror and the reflection was hideous. Suddenly the realization that this reflection was what everyone saw during my life explained why I didn’t fit in. How could I? I was spoiled, arrogant and selfish. Most important – I hated myself for what I had become.
1990 was a year of discovery for me. I discovered that if I genuinely cared more for others, I could start caring about myself. If I genuinely became friends with others, I could finally be friends with myself. If I could learn to love myself, I could finally truly love someone else. All the money in the world cannot buy true love or friends. Only after you learn to be your own best friend can you truly have friends that really matter.
I have no problem looking into the mirror now. What I see is my best friend and I treat this best friend like all my friends…with respect, love and admiration. While this concept may seem strange at first, after a while it will seem natural as rain and the process will cleanse your soul and set free your heart to love all mankind.