The level at which you love others is directly connected to the level at which you love yourself. So learn more about the person in the mirror.
Love Your Neighbor As You Love Yourself
I talk a lot about the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself. While many (including me) would say it’s one of the main tenets of being a Christian, I would argue that it’s one of the most important rules of being a human being altogether.
Disclaimer: the following is for human beings only.
How you treat your neighbor should be exactly the same as you would treat yourself.
This isn’t just “how would I like to be treated?” and then treating another person that way – this is “how do I actually treat myself?” and conducting yourself by the same standards in relation to other people.
Ultimately, it’s about how you love yourself.
The Standard By Which You Treat Yourself
Do you give yourself the benefit of the doubt? “I’m sorry… I could have sworn it was my pickle!”
Are there times that you put more weight on your intent than what you actually say? “I meant the dress was too small, not that you were too big.”
Do you forgive yourself for the stupid mistakes you make? “Ender, you should know better than to speak out loud about the size of anything when you’re talking about dresses.”
Then that is how you must treat your neighbor.
Still, if we are going to follow this standard, the level at which you love others is directly connected to the level at which you love yourself. The more you love who you are, the better you will treat others.
Therefore, you can’t really be expected to treat others well if you don’t treat yourself well, and you certainly can’t really know them at this kind of level if you don’t have a firm grasp on who you actually are.
Look At Yourself From Another Angle
I like to look at it another way: I can’t provide for others if I can’t provide for myself.
Sure, if I had a million dollars I could give that away, and that would be great, but that would be it. I can’t keep providing for those people (or help all new ones) if I’ve put myself in a position where I can’t even help me.
Or, if I give all my food away to someone else, I’ll starve. On one hand, that could be considered a noble sacrifice. On the other, a waste. How can I continue to feed others if I’m weak, ill or dead?
In the same way, if a company goes out of business, it can’t provide for the people who depend on it. Those people could include employees who need to pay their bills, or the customers who need that company’s services.
You might say that perhaps it’s the company’s fault, but that’s exactly my point. The better a company understands its brand, its message, its product, and how it can better serve others, the more successful it is, and therefore the better it becomes at servicing those who need it.
You could also say that the more it understands itself, the more it understands its target demographic, and the better off they both are for it.
Confidence is a good example of this, too. When you’re confident, you radiate. You have to know and love yourself in order to be confident.
It’s Not Selfish To Know And Love Yourself
You have to be comfortable with and accept the negatives – real or perceived – of who you are. Your faults, your hangups, your receding hairline…
You can see where this is going.
I’m not suggesting that you be selfish, or that you hoard all your possessions. I’m also not recommending you preserve your own condition at the expense of others.
Clearly, in the example regarding the collapsed business, I’m talking about something ethical, not corrupt, greedy or egotistical.
What I am suggesting is to simply get to know who you are. The more you get to know and love yourself, the more you understand and are comfortable with who you are, the better you will treat others.
Again – as is nearly everything I talk about – it’s all related to Compassion. If you are compassionate when it comes to you, you are far more likely to be compassionate to others.
This means you need to identify and understand the difference between being selfish and being compassionate toward yourself.
So take today to get to know a little more about you. The clearer you are about what you like, how you view yourself, what you want and how you treat yourself, the easier it will be to understand how others should be treated – as if they were you.
What Are Some Ways To Learn More About Yourself?
Here are some things you can try in order to learn more about the person in the mirror:
- Lists are always helpful. Make a list of simple things like “what TV shows do I watch” and leave some space for each to fill in why you think you like those things. Don’t be afraid to get deep with this – why do you lean a certain way politically, or why do you expect people to appreciate what you like? You can go just about anywhere with a list like this, but no matter how big it gets, always keep it focused to learning more about you.
- Have you ever had an interest in looking into your family tree and history? Explore this idea.
- What are some things you wish you did, or could do? How do you wish you could look? Are you comfortable with your looks? Why or why not?
- What are some improvements you’ve thought about making in your life, and what is keeping you from doing them?
- When does your blood boil? What makes you happy? Why?
This obviously is a very short list, so I’ve included some other articles that I’ve found that may help:
- Blog: Want To Know Yourself Better? Ask Yourself These Questions
- Blog: 5 Ways To Get To Know Yourself Better
- Blog: Get To Know Yourself: 29 Questions To Discover The Real You
What are some creative things you might suggest to help others learn more about themselves? Is there something you’ve tried that worked tremendously? Any you’ve tried that failed miserably? Share below!
Portions of this article were published in Operation Joy: 30 Daily Missions To Inspire Joy In Yourself & Others.