Most of us have heard one version or another of the Golden Rule (also known as the second commandment):
“Do for others as you would like them to do for you” (Luke 6:31);
“Treat others as you would want to be treated”.
In fact, many religions have a proverb or a saying with similar meaning.
Something I have noticed over the years is that we don’t quote Jesus’ second commandment in its entirety. We shorten it. “Love your neighbour”. Full stop.
That sounds like a lovely sentiment, a good attitude to have, and a kind way to be towards those around us. But it’s not the whole commandment. The commandment is “Love your neighbour AS YOURSELF” (see Matthew 22:39 and Mark 12:31).
How might you interpret this commandment in its entirety?
Are we called to be our true selves when loving others, rather than feeling we need to meet certain expectations or fit a certain mould?
Are we called to love others and ourselves:
- at the same time?
- in the same way?
- with the same amount of energy or effort?
If I said to you: “Love yourself as you love your neighbour” – what would you need to change about the way you treat yourself?
Perhaps there’s that little voice inside that is so used to getting away with saying all sorts of terrible things to you, like “You’re so stupid”, “You look ugly”, “No one thinks you’re funny”. Would you ever say these things out loud to a neighbour? Maybe? Hmmm I’m going to guess the answer’s no!
It is here where counselling can help bring to light what that little voice has been up to, and how it has caused havoc in how you see yourself and how you connect with others. It is in counselling that we can work together to change those internal labels, those put-downs, and develop in you the skills of loving yourself.
And if the idea of “loving yourself” sounds corny, just remember that the more you are able to love yourself, the easier it is to truly love others.
Author: Naomi Griffin, BA (Psych & Music); Grad Dip in Pastoral Couns; PG Dip Psych; Grad Cert Case Management; Grad Cert Ed Studies (Career Development); STAP; MAPS; MCCoun.
Naomi Griffin is an endorsed Counselling Psychologist, who works with her clients to help them build on their strengths, as well as negotiate strategies that they can implement to negotiate their way through the difficulties of life. For those from a Christian background concerned about what is involved in seeing a psychologist, Naomi is well equipped to offer spiritual support of this nature.
To make an appointment, freecall 1800 877 924 or book Naomi Griffin online today.
NB All Scripture references are taken from the Life Application Study Bible: New Living Translation.