There’s this beautiful golden rule that we’ve all heard and hope to goodness that we can get right each day: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It’s a beautiful rule, guys. There is power and significance to these particular words, no matter which religion you choose to subscribe (or not subscribe) to. Not to mention, the 10 Commandments are probably some of the most quoted literature of all time. So there’s that.
But would it be sacrilegious of me to say that there is one particular commandment that I wish could be added to the 10 originals?
(Yeah, probably someone somewhere is calling me a heretic. It’s fine. For those of you that aren’t offended yet, stay with me.)
Now that we know that we have to “love ourselves” in order to love others, how do we go about doing it?
How does one “love” oneself? Isn’t that creepy? Or selfish?
Does this involve masturbation? Does “loving myself” involve becoming full of myself and losing all of my friends because I’ve turned into an asshole?
What is this business of “loving yourself” and how the hell do I do it well?
This is where I think that particular extra commandment would come in handy:
THOU SHALT KNOW THYSELF.
Before we learn to love ourselves, we must get to know ourselves… intimately.
We can learn to love ourselves similarly to how we learn to love our romantic partner, or our besties. You fall in love with a person as you get to know them. And you don’t just get to know them on a surface level. You don’t want to stop at
“What’s your favorite color?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What are your pet peeves?”
You want to get to know them on a deep level. You learn them like you would learn your favorite novel or film: by heart.
You get to know their childhoods,
what makes them cry,
what makes them come alive,
what their dreams are for their lives.
You learn their secrets and their dark places, and you love them like crazy anyways.
Why can’t we treat ourselves the same way?
The answer is: we can.
We can begin the process of falling in love with who WE are as humans. We can take ourselves out on coffee dates and ask ourselves questions. We can get to know ourselves intimately so we can learn to love ourselves like those who know us intimately.
Have you ever noticed that the people that know you most intimately are able to forgive you the fastest? It’s because they know you, your past, your heart, and your intentions. They are convinced that you are beautiful and, in their minds, nothing will ever change that.
Get to know yourself, your past, your light, your darkness, and you will find it is easier to forgive yourself for the stupid shit you have done or sometimes find yourself still doing.
We are not intimidated or disgusted by the darkness of those we love intimately, but why are we intimidated and disgusted by our own darkness? Is your darkness really worse than your best friend’s? No. It’s just yours.
Learn to love yourself like you would love your bestie.
BE YOUR OWN BESTIE FOR A WHILE.
Practical ways to be your own bestie:
Take yourself out to a movie or sit at home with yourself and watch Cosmos.
Buy yourself a beautiful journal.
Write a letter to yourself apologizing for how you’ve treated yourself in the past.
Make-up with yourself in the places where you have broken-up with yourself.
Get honest and vulnerable about your own darkness.
Let the light that resides in you give your darkness a hug and politely tell it to go sit down in its corner where it belongs.
Learn to say “NO” to the things and people that suck the life out of you.
Learn to say “YES” to the things and people that make you feel alive.
Look yourself in the mirror and say things like:
“I am changing.
I am learning myself.
I am learning to love who I discover myself to be.
I am a beautiful human.”
Sooner or later, you will begin to believe it.
THOU SHALT KNOW THYSELF
(before thou can love thyself before thou can love others as thyself.)
P.S. I don’t think God would be mad at you for learning to love who you were created to be. I’ve been told that God is a fan of love in general.