Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Golden Rule, Part II

As mentioned in “Part I”, my original intent was to write something entirely different than what I did. I apparently needed to get the content of the previous post out of my system.

My original intent was to write about the “Golden Rule” as it pertains to one’s self. That is, instead of looking at it as treating others as you would want to be treated, what about “treating yourself as you would want to be treated”.

On the surface this looks like the  antithesis of the rule proper. Ambiguity can arise from the concept of “treating”. Here I mean it in the exact same way as the law of reciprocation. The Golden Rule suggests treating people with respect, decency, compassion and love. What I am getting at is how often do we offer ourselves those virtues.

I’m not meaning like cessation of a child with candy, nor giving into carnal desires, but taking the realization that our most tragic flaw is that we are indeed human. Subject to our own weaknesses/defects of character. We don scars of past hurts and insecurities of other’s judgement. There’s shame, there’s sin, there’s self hate. We struggle to find our place in this world and to live up to our own expectations. We are often trying to live up to the expectations, either real but most likely perceived, others have for us. We also find, in many of our minds, that we fall short. The voice of disapproval can be deafening.

With all that noise, often called negative self talk, it’s sometimes a wonder we function at all.
I believe the Golden Rule needs to apply to how we treat ourselves as much as we treat others. Take in the realization that we are not perfect and that we don’t need to be. We do the best that we can, given our situation. We forgive ourselves when we realize we do wrong or that things don’t work out a certain way for us. The struggle is part of the journey of life and it’s okay to have a moment of weakness, but to keep fighting for what we might perceive as good or right.

I have to be kind to myself to survive my arduous schedule of work and activities with the kids. Perhaps I allow myself the kindness that my laundry can go an extra day or seven without being folded. Or that I may grumble about someone on Facebook or my neighbor. After all “to err is human”. We should still strive to let go and to love, but realize that our own person will make mistakes.

We can also be too hard on our self image. “I’m too out of shape” or “I’m not as smart as the other people in the room” often cross my mind. When I’m kind to myself I realize that this is just my negative self talk and is not necessarily reality. If I’m really feeling fat it usually means I’m due to go to the gym for some endorphins. If I’m feeling not so smart I just need to focus a little more.

Realizing my own inner cruelty as though there were another observer allows me to realize kindness towards myself. In a state of self kindness I am able to better project kindness to others as I become a true sympathizer for other’s struggles. I can love them as I would love myself.

Thus, love yourself in a kind and understanding way. It will help you see the world differently and make the journey of life more enjoyable.

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