Oftentimes we understand “love your neighbor as thyself” purely for its provision of how we treat others; however, this statement yields upon the fact that we love ourselves. This message asks that we both practice self-love and apply the same sentiment in our relationships.
To me, self-love does not refer to the physical practices of self-care that are frequently discussed: getting fresh air, maintaining healthy routines, hanging out with friends, etc. While these procedures are more than important, self-love goes beyond how we physically treat ourselves. Self-love guides our self-esteem, our compassion for ourselves and the ways in which we honor ourselves. Self-love waivers on the appreciation that we have for ourselves. In this day and age, I fear that people stray away from valuing themselves due to the baseless correlation between self-love and selfishness.
Another approach to my understanding of “love your neighbor as thyself” dives into the idea that in order to love others, we must first love ourselves. This concept creates an interdependence between the way we love ourselves and the way we love our neighbors. Therefore, we must engage in self-love to actually love those around us. For some people, honoring oneself can feel unnatural and non-prioritized. Regardless of circumstance, it is important to recognize that in life, we are doing the best that we can. With this distinction comes the idea that we shall admire our efforts in life. Once we can praise ourselves in this way, there is a natural application of this same sense of value and love that we feel toward our neighbors.
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