The other day I did a project with my kids to help teach the concept of ‘loving your neighbor as you love yourself.’ I found a nice arts and crafts project on how to make hugging hands on a website called Chinuch.org. We made these ‘hands’ out of oak tag and construction paper. The kids had fun cutting out heart shapes and pasting it on the ‘arms’ of their hugging hands and finally tracing, cutting, and then pasting their ‘hands’ onto this long piece of oak tag.
When the project was done, I put the arms around each child’s waist and added Velcro to attach the hands so that it would stay around their waist…and then I wondered…
If this project is about teaching the concept of loving others, why are we making hugging hands that hug ourselves and not the other person?
It seemed my daughter was wondering the same thing.
As soon as I fastened her ‘arms’ around her, she asked me why the hands are hugging her. It was as if a light bulb went on in my head. The coaching voice in me emerged and I instinctively responded with:
“I guess what this teaches us is that we have to really love ourselves before we are able to really love someone else.”
When I was a young girl learning about this concept to love others just as you love yourself, the emphasis was always on the other, never the self. In fact, focusing on the self always seemed like a selfish thing to do.
But now the message was so clear. The verse could have easily stated: “Love your neighbor.” Done. But no, instead the verse adds, “as you love yourself.”
This begs the question: What if you don’t love yourself? Are you truly, then, able to love another?
I realized something about myself. I realized that when I am having a difficult time being kind to someone else, accepting someone else, or even forgiving someone else, it is often because there is a part of me that I am not loving, that I have not fully accepted, that I am insecure about, or that I have not fully forgiven.
I know that it is when I feel whole and secure that I am the most capable of giving (and receiving) the most love. It is when I feel comfortable with who I am, that I can be the most accepting of others.
How about you?
Do you sometimes find it hard to accept someone else? Are there times when you find it difficult to give, or to recieve love easily and freely?
During those times, are you truly loving and accepting of yourself?
This week, give some loving to yourself. Take time to do something that you enjoy. Forgive yourself. Honor yourself with kind and accepting words (even out loud). Take some time to get to know and love the real you.
If you’re feeling stuck on this, give me a call or send me an e-mail. I can help you get to know, love and accept the real you.
It’s never too late.
Respect yourself; find
Appreciate your unique gifts and strengths;