That’s the catch, right? The Golden Rule sounds great on paper. It’s assumed that we all adore ourselves and like to put ourselves in front of other people, so if we show that same adoration to others, life will be grand, yeah? But what if that’s not what ends up happening? What if we make it look like we love ourselves on the outside, but our inner truth tells a much sadder story? If you loathe yourself, you aren’t going to get good results.
We’ve been taught to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and to “do unto others as we would do unto ourselves.” The idea behind these words of Jesus and other spiritual leaders is that this would cause us to treat others the best. If we love them as ourselves, then we must love them a lot. If we treat them how we treat ourselves, we must treat them well.
But I don’t think we’re doing it right these days.
What if we hate ourselves? What if we are so critical of ourselves that we’re constantly tearing ourselves down and filling ourselves with negative self-talk? Are we still going to be able to love others fully and completely? No, we aren’t. If we don’t like ourselves, we’re going to find the qualities we don’t like about ourselves in others, and we are going to judge them and tear them down based on those qualities. Some psychologists or self-help gurus like to call this “projecting.” We’re projecting our own issues upon others.
Got money problems? You’re gonna criticize other people’s financial decisions.
Hate your body? You’re gonna criticize other’s bodies.
Feeling insecure? You’re gonna hate those who look/feel confident around you.
I want to open up this discussion because I feel we’re dealing with an epidemic of self-hatred in our world these days. Society puts so much pressure on us that it’s no wonder that young people are hurting themselves because they don’t feel they can measure up to certain expectations. I feel the large majority of people would say that deep down, they don’t like themselves very much. If we fully loved ourselves, then we wouldn’t be so critical of ourselves. We wouldn’t be trying to show our value by having the fanciest clothes or car or phone. We wouldn’t be sleeping with people to feel validated or worthy, and we wouldn’t be shoving our faces full of pharmaceuticals to help us get through the day. Whether we’re unhappy with our life situation, our job, our financial situation, etc., I feel many of us have things in our lives we don’t like and things that we judge ourselves for. Decisions we’ve made, things we’ve done or said, etc. We all have our regrets, and sometimes those can eat away at us a cause a deep hatred of self.
True self-love brings freedom. Unconditional love for Self releases the chains of fear and judgement that keep us from being our best selves. When we truly love ourselves, miracles happen. Because with that love come acceptance. If we fully love ourselves, we fully accept ourselves. We aren’t filling our minds with self-deprecating talk that brings about judgement and condemnation. If we truly love ourselves, we don’t feel like we have to compete with others in order to feel worthy. Our worthiness comes from our unwavering love for who we are.
When we know our Divine worth, we’re able to love ourselves right where we’re at with no judgement. Until then, we’ll constantly be critical of others based on what we don’t like within ourselves. If you struggle with self-love but are constantly serving and helping others, try to shift your perspective and view yourself as you view others. Maybe turn the rule around to “Treat yourself as you would treat others.” If we can fully love, forgive, and honor others, we should be able to do the same with ourselves. Once we’re able to love ourselves, then we can fully love others.