We all have certain responsibilities and obligations in this life: to our families, our jobs, our society and our world. Yet have we thought about what we owe ourselves in this life? We are in relationship to ourselves as well as to others. How much care and compassion, how much gentleness and kindness, do we extend towards ourselves? Many of us are much too hard on ourselves; just like when we are courteous, kind and generous to relative strangers but hard on the people closest to us, so too we tend to be more forgiving and tolerant toward others than we are towards ourselves. As Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th century existential philosopher, said, the Bible admonition to love our neighbor as ourselves implies that we first must love ourselves. This doesn't mean that we are egotistical, narcissistic or self-centered; it just means that we have enough self-respect and self-esteem that we treat ourselves in a kind and gentle way just as we would anyone we really care for. So why not care for ourselves, too? Let's be gentle with ourselves.