Love Your Neighbor? Love Yourself First!

Most of us have grown up with some version of the Golden Rule that includes doing unto others as you would have them do to you and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Most of us think of the rule as encouraging us to be kinder to others. Such thinking is completely backward. We already do love our neighbors as ourselves. The problem is that most of us have never learned to love ourselves and to see ourselves as a source of love.

We can never really accept or love anyone else until we learn to accept and love ourselves. Even our soulmates, spouses and children – we are only able to love them and receive their love for us in the same measure as we love ourselves.

How do you love yourself? By letting go of self-judgment and criticism. By acknowledging feelings of failure and insufficiency and then letting them go and replacing them with self-affirming thoughts like, “I am doing the best that I can today, and that is enough for today.”

Once I understand that I love my neighbor by loving myself, I realize that I am not just a receiver of love. I am a creator. I have my own light and my own love inside me. I don’t need to wait for someone else to love me first. I can choose to love everyone and everything around me.

When I consciously choose to generate love, regardless of the circumstances around me, that love radiates, and I begin to see its reflection in others. My love grows exponentially as long as I continue loving myself and my surroundings, and I am always surrounded by love. When I surround myself with love in this manner, I am empowered to choose kindness and gratitude kindness and gratitude for myself and others…Continue reading at

Laurie Gray is the founder of Socratic Parenting LLC, the co-creator of Token of Change(TM), and the author of three young adult novels.

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Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Susan T.
Susan T4 years ago

Yeah. One can say “I am doing the best that I can today, and that is enough for today.”

and use that as an excuse to not try to do better......I do at times and I see many people doing the same thing.
I understand but not sure this is the best way to live every day.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Kim Janik
Kim Janik4 years ago

Words to live by. Thanks Laurie!

Suzanne Smither
Suzanne Smither4 years ago

When we truly love, the barriers between Self and Other dissolve and there is only One.

Malgorzata Zmuda
Malgorzata Zmuda4 years ago

zgadzam się, ale najpierw trzeba kochać Boga, by móc pokochać siebie i bliźniego swego

Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K4 years ago

Compassion is a state of being, and thus should naturally extend to oneself as well as others, as each person is just as much of the universe as anyone else. Thanks.

Duane B.
.4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Rekha S4 years ago

Everybody needs good neighbours.

Carol S.
Carol S4 years ago