We all remember that one, right? “Love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” We’ve heard it all of our lives. But what does that really mean?
I was struck today by the thought, can we really love our “neighbors” if we truly don’t love ourselves? Wow! Great question, I thought. Is there something to this? So, I asked...
How do we know if we love ourselves?
When asked, people often say, “of course I love myself.” Well, let me share a bit of my story with you. Maybe you can relate. I thought I loved myself, and I mostly did, but there was a whole lotta room for more. With the loving guidance of some fabulous coaches, I learned I could amp up my self-love a notch, or two.
It starts with being better with receiving.
Yep, receiving. How does that play out in my life? It means I let people buy my dinner when they insist; I no longer argue. It means I ask for help when I need it, and I gratefully receive it. It means when people want to give me something, I don’t refuse it (out of some crazy thought I’m being humble, or I don’t deserve it - goodness, where do we get this stuff?!). It means I say “thank you” when someone compliments my hair. It means I can even receive from myself. If I’m feeling especially tired I give myself and nap, and I receive that nap. Self-love, and self-care requires you to be a good receiver. It also means I accept the idea that I’m worthy of receiving.
This is a biggie for some. So many of us don’t feel worthy on a deep level. We’re really, really good at giving; we could give all day, right?! But, what about receiving? And, how does all of this fit in with “loving your neighbor as yourself?” Well, love is reciprocal.
Without reciprocity ... giving and receiving ... the circle is incomplete.
So, if you’re not “lettin’ in the good stuff” others want to give you, you’re blocking their love, and you’re most certainly blocking love for yourself.
You know how it feels. You’re at the coffee shop, and you want to buy your friend’s coffee...because you love them, and you’re feeling generous. Then your friend goes on, and on about how it’s not necessary, pushing your hand away from paying. Why do we do this? We do it because no one taught us how to receive. We’ve been taught it’s selfish, or un-holy, or something dumb like that. Really?!
So, if we won’t let others love us, how can we possibly love ourselves, and others (our neighbors, per se?). We can... but, it’s been my experience it’s not as BIG of love as it could be. We’re holding back. Learning to receive all that life brings to our table is BIG. When I was first introduced to this idea, I welled up with tears. Well, that was a sign in itself; I had some work to do. So, I went to work...
My experience over the past months has taught me this receiving thing is BIG. It means I freely give, and I freely receive. The way it’s showing up in my life is that my heart has opened up in a way I’ve not experienced before. There’s a tenderness, a calm, and a peace. I feel more worthy (truth-be-told, I was always worthy; I just didn’t really embrace it). And, all of this because I got out of my own way!
I have allowed others to give me gifts, celebrate me, offer me fist-bumps and high-fives, buy me lunch, and dinner.
This Sunday I’m doing something I’ve never done before. I’m throwing myself a birthday party. Sound selfish, and self-centered? It’s not; it’s self-love. I invited friends and family that love me. And, you better bet they’ll get a better, more loving version of me than they’ve ever experienced.
I’ll be “loving my neighbor as I love myself,” and it’s going to be fun! They’ll be lots of giving and receiving on both sides of the fence. And, of course with an exchange like that, they’re will be a lot of gratitude, too! A complete cirlce, whatdayaknow?!...feels really good, too. And, isn’t that what we all want?
Give it a shot, and let me know what you experience as you “let it in.” I’d love to hear about it!
I help others see Magic and Miracles in the Mess. As an Inspired Life Coach, I am a gifted communicator, writer, and teacher, and Reiki practitioner with the capacity of intuitively reaching hearts and minds.