I attended the funeral of my former manager and the sermon was on how we need to focus on loving others for our own happiness. This subject raised a question in my mind, “Why is there no mention of loving one’s self?” Perhaps the message of loving others is more targeted for people who are caught in their own self importance and ego.

We can accept the suggestion (sermon) that the source of our unhappiness may be due to not loving others enough. We, as spiritual beings irrespective of religious beliefs, may also agree with the Golden Rule’s concept and practice it in our daily life. We may be a great example of helping others and being compassionate to other people’s needs and

Many people, however, do not feel good about their self worth and value, and believe that they are not lovable or deserve to be loved. They also may follow the Golden Rule half way - kind and loving to others but not to themselves. Over time, they may encounter a lack of energy, anger and experience little joy because they neglect their need own needs. The fundamental question to ask is, “If we are not kind, loving and compassionate to ourselves, how can we do the same for others with joy, voluntarily and without guilt?”

In the context of Tending to Your Garden Within, it is important to feed and nourish our trees and flowers in our garden within while we feed and nourish the gardens of our neighbors. It is critical that we continue tending to our garden within while we help others construct a beautiful garden for themselves.

There are many people who try to love and save the world, but unfortunately make no effort (have no time) to love and save themselves. The Golden Rule assumes that you are taking care of yourself, are kind to yourself, and love yourself. This is like being on a plane, and the oxygen masks come down; you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can help others to get their masks on. Your efforts to help others first will not be very long lasting without helping yourself first. The poem below illustrates this concept further.

Golden Rule – Flip Side

The Golden Rule says

do to others what you want to be done to you.

Do you follow this rule?

Many spiritual people do.

You may love humanity.

You may be a forgiving person that forgives others easily.

You may be bringing joy to others all the time.

You may go out of your way to

praise and encourage others when they are down.

The Golden Rule has two sides.

The other implied side is

to do to yourself as you do to others.

Do you follow this rule?

Why not?

Isn’t the same God that is within others

within yourself as well?

You may be forgiving of others all the time.

Are you forgiving yourself all the time?

You may be encouraging others all the time.

Do you encourage and support yourself as well?

You may have empathy for people's suffering.

Do you have empathy and compassion for your own hurts?

You may love humanity.

Do you love yourself the same way?

You may have time for others.

Do you make time for yourself

to be with family or just chill out?

When we nourish ourselves

we can give more.

Copyright @ 2010 by Shervin Hojat

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