I had also always loved my friends and family members “as myself.”

It wasn’t my fault that most of my relationships were so fragile that the slightest draft could disembowel them.

I secretly knew that most of my friends were only true friends when it was convenient or when they needed help with something. I was able to see the ways in which they would use me for my time, my success, my house, or my money. I could easily see the friends that were threats to my wife’s devotion and faithfulness to me. I had lots of fun with them all, sure, but when they weren’t in my presence, I knew that many of them gossiped or talked about me just the same as I was doing to them.

Surer than firewater, I knew I was the detrimental and unhealthy friend to all of them. I knew they were always talking about it when we weren’t together, always thinking about it when we were. I was the fat one. I was the guy who slowed everybody else down or ruined what could have been way more incredible and more fun because I was too big a fat ass to make my way up a cliff face, too fearful to take my shirt off at the lake, or too insecure to extend our social ring to include outsiders.

When it came to my family, I knew that most of my family members only loved me if I lived exactly how they wanted me to live. I knew that they were constantly judging me. I knew that they were all only happy on the surface. I knew that they were insincere in their statements of love for me, no matter what they said or how often they said it.

My relationships with family members were rarely strong.

And, sadly, I’ve had far too many friendships disappear over the years.

And get this… throughout it all, I thought I was the friend who was always there. I actually believed I was the friend who held all the other friends together. I just knew I was the friend who would always take the high road. I was the friend who would always have great advice. I was the example. I was the rock.

I was the family member who did the most. I was the family member who was always there for his siblings. I was the son who was strong in the church and who never needed help. I was the dependable one. The trustworthy one. The unstoppable one. The honest one. The dependent one. I was the rock.

No, my weak family relationships weren’t my fault.

My friendships that ended weren’t my fault either.

I would have sworn it on my sister’s grave, that’s how sincerely I believed it.

And work?

I loved my colleagues, employees, and superiors “as myself,” too.

I looked for their dishonesty. I looked for their laziness. I looked for ways that they were surely skirting their duty or taking indolent shortcuts.

I knew that everybody was loving and kind on the outside yet odious and backbiting when I wasn’t there. I knew that people were slandering me behind closed doors, discrediting all my successes to one another, and belittling all of my many talents. I knew that there wasn’t a single person there who believed I had earned what I had, that I was worthy to have what I had, and who actually respected and loved me as a professional or as a friend.

I lost some good employees over the years. I fired some good employees over the years. Some of them shouldn’t have been fired. Few of them should have been lost.

And get this… through it all, I was certain that I was the employee, the boss, and the colleague who was always so dependable, always had the best ideas, and always was the most beloved of anybody. I knew what everybody else needed. I was adamant about what would bring success to every person that surrounded me. And I always made it happen.

I was the rock.

All the problems I had at work over the years… not one of them was ever my fault. All of the bad relationships with those who surrounded me, it was because of their insecurities, their resentment, and their crappy attitudes. Their weaknesses. Their life problems. Never mine.

It was never me. It was always them. No matter what was happening in my life, it was always somebody else.

And at the age of 30, this incredible, awesome, talented, perfect human being found himself sitting. Crying. Sobbing in a dark corner one day, alone. Completely, horribly, devastatingly alone.

Wanting to disappear.

Wanting to die.

Wanting to give up on everybody and everything.

And all because, over the progression of a lifetime… I had chosen to love others “as myself.

Just like I had been commanded to do.

Love others as yourself…

Everything I was looking for and seeing in my first wife, it was all me. It was all what I saw in myself. It was the way I loved and felt about myself. Deep down, I can’t deny that anymore.

I knew I had so much fault, so I looked for fault in her. I knew I was sometimes sneaky and ambiguous. So I looked for the same in her. I knew I was often insincere. I knew I was sometimes deceitful. I knew I was at times malicious and purposefully, passively hurtful, so I looked for it coming from her.

I knew I didn’t love her the way I should, had never loved her the way I should, and probably never would love her the way I should. So I assumed the same from her.

I loathed her because I loathed myself. I grew tired of our marriage because I grew tired of having such an ugly mirror being held up to me. I wanted it to end. And so, one day, it did.

My second wife got the second dollop of the love that I had for myself. I was inconsistent in my reactions and feelings for her. I felt weak and inept in my role in our relationship. I regretted our marriage and resented myself for not dating her longer. It was I who was mourning the loss of my life without her. Not the other way around.

I knew I didn’t love her the way I should, had never loved her the way I should, and probably never would love her the way I should. So I assumed the same from her.

I loathed her because I loathed myself. I grew weary of our marriage because I grew weary of having such an ugly mirror being held up to me. I wanted it to end. And so, one day, it did.

Continued on next page.

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!