One of the most important commandments is: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This suggests that if I love others as I love myself, the world would be a much better place. But the question I’m asking is: Do I really love myself enough so that I could then equally love others? What if I do not love myself so much? How would I behave toward my neighbor then? An interesting question, isn’t it?
Have you ever paused to ask yourself: “Am I really a good friend of myself?”
Would I allow another to tell me: “You’re an idiot” or “What you did was a terrible mistake,” or “How could you make such a stupid mistake?” Or “It’s all your fault and you should be ashamed of yourself!” Of course you would not have permitted anyone to do that to you.
Then how come you “beat” yourself when you make a mistake? How many times have you told yourself, “What an idiot I was that I did not do such and such.” “What a fool I was not to listen to myself; how stupid I was to agree to go out with this guy when I knew something was wrong with him.”
How often do we blame ourselves, and intolerantly point an accusative finger towards ourselves? How often do we get into regretting our actions, getting mad at ourselves and even feeling disgusted by our misdeeds?
How come we do this sort of thing to ourselves when in most cases we would not allow another to treat us the way we treat ourselves?
Would you let someone get away with telling somebody you care about: “You’re an idiot? Or “You’re a lousy cook”?
When we dare to look deeper into this issue, we will see that in fact we are our own worst enemies; we are intolerant, critical, constantly blaming, tough and unforgiving toward ourselves.
A good friend accepts his friends as they are; the good and the bad alike, forgives his errors lovingly, encourages him and validates his positive and successful actions, comforts him and tells him that “Tomorrow will be a better day,” and that there is always a way to improve and make things better. To blame is like sticking a knife in a dead body — a waste of energy and does not really help anyone and certainly does not help make us feel better in any way!
If you are not a good friend to yourself how could you be a good friend to another? If you are not your own best friend, it means you do not really love yourself and if that’s the case then how are you going to follow the most important commandment: “Love thy neighbor as yourself”?
Perhaps the commandment that should precede the all important one above should be: “Be a good friend to yourself”; love thyself first so that you will be able to really love thy neighbor.
What you think or feel about others is a reflection of what you think or feel about yourself. Therefore, if you want to follow the commandment: “Love thy neighbor as yourself” then take care of yourself first; start with yourself and then expand outwards to your fellow man and apply the commandment.
Bring light to your home — tolerance, understanding, compassion, laughter, love, forgiveness.
You messed up, you goofed, and you failed? Accept it and indulgently, move on. Do not look back with regret. Lot’s wife taught us long ago that looking back could turn one into a pillar of salt.
Ruti Yudovich recently released her first novel, I Hate to Say Goodbye, based on her early years in Israel. She is also the author of a two-part, self-teaching educational book: The Joy of Hebrew. She is a mentor and a Life coach.