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Jesus Christ taught that the second great commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. A non-Christian version of this would be the Golden Rule, “Do unto others the way you would have them do unto you.”
We often try to put these into practice in our lives. There are so many blog posts and articles about there about not judging others, equality, etc.
That’s not what this post is about.
This post is not going to be about how you feel about others. It’s about the reverse.
A neighbor is defined as “one living or located another.” Who lives the closest to us? Ourselves! We are our own neighbor, and we need to start treating ourselves like it!
Let me explain: you may have heard of Serena Williams – you know, the tennis player? She recently had a baby (and by all accounts, it was a pretty traumatic birth with multiple surgeries and bedrest for 6 weeks afterwards), and she played her first tennis match less than a year later.
She lost (although it was pretty close), but still, she was out there! And those of us who have had children look at her and think, “Oh geez, wow, you go girl!” We didn’t notice she lost – we didn’t even care! Instead, we think of how amazing she is that she’s even back out there at all!
The same happened with Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge (aka, Kate Middleton). She had her third baby and came out of the hospital the next day to photographers and looked amazing.
People started giving her a lot of grief for being unrealistic. We posted in Facebook group we belong to about the hard time people were giving her, and the responses from real people were incredible.
“She should be free to be herself. From all 3 pictures of her exciting the hospital, she does well with labor. Why should she feel pressured to not be herself? And if someone else doesn’t do so well with labor, that is their reality, why should they be jealous of her? We need to stop comparing people to others whether it’s the royal family or my next door neighbor.”
“She is doing great let her alone”
“I think that the world has walked into the mentality of finding fault in everything that everyone does. She’s a gorgeous, strong woman.”
“She doesn’t seem to have any issue with it(seems like genuine happiness exuding from her), so who are we to judge?!?”
“For [pity’s] sake, just leave the woman alone. Women empowerment is about empowering women no matter what, not bringing them down. It’s fine if you didn’t feel good after childbirth, but that doesn’t mean bringing another woman down just because of how you felt. She had a baby, and got up in front of the entire world and cameras to show off her new baby, IN HEELS. Got dressed and all that even though she probably didn’t want to, but HAD to. Isn’t that pretty amazing in and of itself?”
“She is gorgeous. Well done Kate.”
“How can we ever expect men to respect us if we are always attacking another women for absolutely nothing?”
“Women need to stop attacking each other.”
Isn’t it incredible to read all of that support and love?
Apply it to yourself
Take a minute and think about something that you’ve been beating yourself up about lately. You know we all have it. Mine lately has been my weight and how I look in pictures.
Now, I want you to go back through all of these quotes again, but instead, read them as if someone is saying them to YOU after you just said something negative about YOURSELF. For example,
“How can you expect others to respect you if your are always attacking yourself for absolutely nothing?”
“For [pity’s] sake, just leave yourself alone. Women empowerment is about empowering yourself no matter what, not bringing yourself down.”
“You should be free to be yourself…why should you feel pressured to not be yourself?…You need to stop comparing yourself to others, whether it’s the royal family or your neighbor”
Now, doesn’t that change things?
We are so incredibly hard on ourselves. We constantly compare ourselves to others. To feel like we aren’t measuring up. Even those we KNOW aren’t perfect, but still wish we could be like. And sure, we hear things like, “don’t compare your weaknesses to their strengths” but are we really doing that?
And what about when something USED to be a strength but is now our weakness because of our circumstances? As we get older, we develop health problems, we have kids, and we start to just wear down in general.
It happens to all of us
I used to hike and camp and fish and work out a lot. In college I was taking 17 credits, worked 3 part-time jobs.
However, now I have two kids and a chronic illness that has admitted me to the hospital almost 40 times in the last eight years.
It is so hard to look around and think, “Man, this is definitely not how I envisioned myself as an adult.” I was going to have a bunch of kids, make homemade dinners at night, give service at church, and so much more! Now, I’m lucky if I just get a shower!
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “girl, give yourself some grace!” Well, if that’s what you’re going to say to me, you need to say it to yourself.
We need to remember that we need to love ourselves the way we would love our neighbor.
If we’re going applaud Serena for playing the game and ignore the fact that she didn’t win, then we need to do that to ourselves.
If you saw your friend with your pain, your life, etc., what grace would you extend to her?
Now, give yourself permission to give yourself that same grace. Love yourself the way you love your friend, your neighbor.
An earlier version of this post Tiffany wrote was originally published on The Crazy Shopping Cart.