When we love ourselves, we have the natural capacity to love others
This New Year I resolve that I will be kinder to myself. At first that sounds somewhat odd, doesn’t it? A bit selfish? And, why is that? In our culture, and in most religions including the Judeo-Christian tradition, we are taught to “put others first,” and “it is better to give than receive.” The principle in theory is supposed to apply to everyone, but the way it works out in practical daily life, it is especially true if you are a woman. We are taught from childhood to put everyone else’s needs before our own. We want to be a good daughter, sister, mother, girlfriend, or wife. We take care of everybody, don’t we? And sometimes we even feel guilty if we take a few moments for ourselves. So we give, and give, and give, until we are empty. Also, if you’re like me, (and I know many of my clients share this characteristic!), you tend to be much more critical of yourself than you are of others.
But, although religion teaches us to be kind to others, if we neglect ourselves we are missing one very important point. The Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Would you demand that others neglect themselves on your behalf? Or to put it even more simply, Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
As yourself! How can we love our neighbor if we don’t love ourselves? If we do not make time for ourselves to be nurtured and have our own needs met, if we just give and give and never allow ourselves to receive, then ultimately we will become exhausted and have nothing more to give. Then we will be of no use to anyone, and subsequently criticize ourselves for being useless.
So let’s try this: Can I be as kind to myself as I am to others?
This is a lesson that I am in the process of learning, too. Let's do it together!
by Clare x8152