Jesus put it simply: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
As yourself …
How do you love yourself? Out of pity? As a duty? Because you have to?
Or is your love for yourself a desire for well-being and happiness, just because you want well-being and happiness? Don’t you defend yourself because you believe you deserve to be treated fairly? Aren’t you patient and kind with yourself, because you understand your own strengths and weaknesses and know you are still learning, still becoming? And don’t you accept help, when you do, with gratitude, believing it is offered not out of pity, but out of love, because people care about you like you care about them? Because you matter?
Isn’t your love for yourself based on a belief in your own inherent dignity and worth?
A friend shared an article with me today. You should read it. It is subtitled:
We need to change the conversation about poverty and inequality. It starts with compassion and kindness.
We need to change the conversation, to see poverty, not from the outside, but from the inside, to set aside stereotypes and see our neighbors as they are, to lead with compassion, to learn to love our neighbors … as ourselves.
An excerpt from the article …
When researchers at Princeton University showed two groups of viewers the same video of a little girl answering questions about school subjects, they told the first group that her parents were affluent professionals. They told the second group that she was the daughter of a meat packer and a seamstress.
The girl, named Hannah, performed right at grade level on the videotaped test, answering some questions correctly and missing others. But when asked about her performance, the first group, primed to believe she was wealthy, felt that she had performed above grade level. The second group, primed to believe she was not, felt that she had performed below.
It was the same video, mind you — the same girl, answering the same questions in the exact same way. But their conclusions were totally different.
Sometimes we see what we’re looking for …