Who hasn’t heard, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” ? But if we stopped and thought about it, how many of us really love ourselves well? Perhaps, the truly radical suggestion, the one that would actually pull us out of this struggle, is to love OURSELVES as we love our neighbors/ friends/ children/ partners/ teachers/pets.
Isn’t it easy for us to recognize a friend’s or a child’s strengths and goodness, but ignore and downplay our own? Often, we are willing to go the extra mile for everyone around us, including strangers. But, when it comes to giving generously to ourselves, we turn into stingy misers.
We don’t shower ourselves with affection or love or compassion. Turning a blind eye to our exhaustion, we push it into overdrive. We can often be found beating ourselves up in the name of “self-improvement”. We put ourselves down, we put ourselves last, we put ourselves on hold. I liken our mind to a tough neighborhood where we can get jumped at a moment’s notice.
I wonder what will it take to look in that mirror and instead of seeing what needs to be improved or corrected, we see the vibrant, magnificent being shining back at us? What is required for us to confidently, with no excuses, say “No, I can’t” when someone pulls at us again to do one more thing? And with a full and happy heart to say “Yes!” when we genuinely mean it.
I challenge you to get curious about loving yourself as you love other humans or animals. Developing a more loving and honest relationship with ourselves, one that actually gives us some breathing room to just be—well, I can tell you from personal experience—it’s not easy. But, what a beautiful way to go through life, to treat yourself like your own best friend. And it just might radiate out to others to help those around us love themselves more deeply.
Let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear!! Namaste.