The Other Half of the Golden Rule

“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.” That was indeed a great benefit; such a person can never be alone. You may be sure that such a man is a friend to all mankind.

Seneca Lt 6

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Matthew 22.39

You have likely heard many times that you should love others just as much as you love yourself, otherwise know as ”The Golden Rule.” 99% of the time this phrase is used to teach how to treat other people. The quote presumes that we love ourselves in the first place. This means you have to love who you are if you want to effectively love anyone else.

This phrase could actually be terrible advice if we were to treat someone the way many of us treat ourselves. Many of us cast shame and guilt upon ourselves for the smallest of things. Hopefully, you do not do that to those around you. Many of the Biblical authors’ goals were to teach us how to love ourselves well and how to let go of what pulls us down. In order to love our neighbor we must also have grace for ourselves, love ourselves, and trust in ourselves.

As Seneca quotes Hecato above, gaining the ability to enjoy who you are is a great accomplishment in and of itself. In doing so you will be able to live outside of your head and more fully engage with others. Go into today without beating yourself up. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy who you are. Then, out of this grace filled disposition, pass along some kindness to those around you.

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