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Love your Neighbor AS Yourself

Mark 12:31 states clearly: “Love your neighbor as yourself.

Note that it does not say before yourself, or instead of yourself, or NOT yourself!

It has been known for thousands of years the simple truth that: “Love begins with YOU!” Self Love is perhaps the hardest to master.

Most people are harder on themselves than they are with anyone else in their lives: bosses, friends, lovers, mates, children, acquaintances. We become our own worst enemy. Why is that?

I personally believe it is because we are so focused on OUT THERE realities from the second we wake up until we fall exhausted into bed at night. Then it doesn’t end. Look at all the different sleep medications out there that are for sale. There must be a reason. My guess is that our dear mind is keeping us awake, thinking of things we could have done better or differently, stress, nerves, world news, fears for money, jobs, and the pandemic of COVID19. My list could go on quite a while. So we beat ourselves up endlessly for so many reasons.

Does that sound like Self Love to you?

Also, how about FORGIVENESS? Can you forgive yourself for your shortcomings, no matter how small, big, or in between they are? Can you forgive others for past instances where they fell short in your eyes?

To me, Self Love includes not only Forgiveness, but also Gratitude. Are you truly grateful for all the blessings (big and small) you have in your life at this moment? I could start with allowing myself a deep breath, releasing stressful thoughts and condemnations, and just being glad I am alive in this moment. I am grateful for everything from a roof over my head, food to eat, a car to drive when I need it, bills are paid, good medical care as I age, this computer to use to communicate with my world at large, smart phone and tv, my Keurig that gives me a hot cup of coffee, etc. I also know how to handle all the aches and pains, injuries, etc., as I age because I have been careful to learn yoga, exercise, and physical therapy to strengthen whichever body part needs it at the moment. I include deep breathing as I start my day and as the day proceeds. Beauty is part of my world, which includes beautiful flowers, watching birds and observing my garden grow – providing us with squash, eggplants, and tomatoes to eat and to share. I could go on, but you get the idea.

The difference in my life is which thoughts and emotions I choose to entertain myself with. I, too, have strong emotions/thoughts that carry me away quickly. Prayer helps a lot with that. Meditation is necessary as a tool to calm down and love myself anyway. That to me is a key.

You, too, have the possibility of using your own keys to LOVE YOURSELF ANYWAY! After all, perfection is merely a goal, not a commandment.

We are lectured when we are young about our many faults. We take that inside of us and use it well, much to our own dismay. Sometimes it is so strong that we treat all of that as REQUIRED PERFECTION, from which we will ALWAYS fall short, requiring us to reprimand ourselves for every transgression. Isn’t that a sad thought? Because we do it at such a deep level and so naturally that it is difficult to change. However, we can choose to change. We truly can get off of our own backs and stop beating ourselves up!

You are in charge of your own mind. Are you willing to let what is really not working very well continue? Or do you want to begin to LOVE YOURSELF TRULY?

One of the yoga breaths is called the CARING BREATH: You reach both hands/arms out in front of you, take your right hand/arm and touch your left shoulder as you bow your head in that direction and you say, “I accept myself fully, with all my faults and shortcomings.” Then you reach out with your right hand/arm and say, “I am willing to serve, love, and care for others.” Then you repeat this with the left hand/arm. I find this so peaceful and life-changing.

Many motivational speakers tell us to look in the mirror every morning and say to ourselves, “I love you just as you are. You are enough. Go forth with joy in your being!”

Are you willing to try to love yourself? It is all up to you, after all.

God’s blessings on your journey!

 

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