Love Your Neighbor As Yourself?

When you hear the command love your neighbor as yourself, what happens? Is the emphasis on the love of others more than the “as yourself” part? 

Many of us love our neighbor better than ourselves, and we treat ourselves in ways we would never treat another. On top of that, this kind of behavior is praised as selfless! What a trap!
Selflessness without consciousness can be very harmful. Growing your awareness around this can be very healing.

If you are often ignoring and minimizing how you actually feel, what you need or what you prefer, then this can create problems inside and out. 
Here are some common patterns to look for: 

  • Continuously foregoing your own needs for the sake of pleasing others or earning the approval of others.
  • Ignoring how your body feels when making decisions to do for others.
  • Quickly minimizing what your desire is because the discomfort of disappointing someone else is overwhelming. 
  • Having trouble saying “no”.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these patterns? 

If so, please watch any inner criticism that might pop up. How you treat yourself as you evolve is a foundational piece of self-care and of loving your neighbor as yourself.

This means you don’t criticize yourself if breaking patterns like these is hard for you. You don’t compare yourself to others who seem to do this easily. You don’t say things like “why is this so hard for me?” unless you are really asking with curiosity and love. 

If old stories come up around this, you don’t tell yourself, “You should be over this by now”. That is unhelpful criticism.

Instead, you might ask yourself, “what new learning or deeper healing might be here for me to discover?”

You might say, “It is okay that this is hard for me. This doesn’t make me flawed or less than or unhealed.” 

You could also say, “yep, that’s how patterns go. This shit can be tricky. I am learning. That’s a win.” And if you can laugh at yourself even better! If catching yourself repeating olds patterns is a measurement for hilarity, then I am f*cking hilarious!

Practice being gentle with yourself and encouraging. The healing is in the care and compassion you extend to yourself. 

And when you start to love yourself in this deep way, loving your neighbor will be more real and often less depleting.

I hope this writing was useful to you. 

For Your Reflection: What stood out to you the most in this writing?
Is there anything you are still struggling with about this?

Practice: Trying closing your eyes, breath in and then ask: how can I love myself right now in this moment? Pause and listen for a response. The simplest thing is great! 

I love hearing from you, so please keep sending your responses and your questions. I truly value learning about you. 

Yours truly,