To love thy neighbor as thyself, you have to first love yourself. Stan Padgett discusses the importance of loving yourself, acknowledging yourself, and the role those play in loving others. Stan shares how the Golden Rule underpins the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself, and shares how you can start having a better relationship with yourself in order to have healthier relationships with the people you love. Tune in now.
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Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself
The Golden Rule
Welcome to Episode 6. This one is called Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. Some of you are saying, “That’s a religious topic.” Yes and no. In virtually every major religion, there is a principle that is often called The Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That’s what underpins the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself.
Almost always when you hear that phrase or The Golden Rule, “Treat others as though you would treat yourself. Be kind to them,” here’s the challenge with that. There’s a fundamental underlying principle that’s often missed. Love thy neighbor as thyself. You got to start with the idea that you love yourself. All that principle is asking is to be as kind to other people as you are to yourself. Maybe not as you wish that you were or wish that other people would treat you.
Let’s talk about this for a minute. Do you really expect other people to treat you better than you treat yourself? Wait a minute. What does that get to do with anything? If the answer is that most people that we deal with on a consistent basis treat us as we expect to be treated, as we permit them to treat us. We have a responsibility if we want to be treated as a person of value, as someone worth loving, as someone worth being with, and as someone worthy of respect and honor, or even following, if you’re in a supervisory capacity, you’re an employer, a boss, an owner, and all of those things.
In many areas of our lives and relationships, we get what we expect and what we expect that we deserve based upon a brutally honest assessment of ourselves. We’ve talked about the idea that we’re off in our respect. With respect, ladies, you’re way worse about this than the men are. We tend to think we’re wonderful no matter what. Even when we’re not so wonderful, we tend to think that we are. You guys find fault with yourselves and each other at a rate that we frankly don’t even understand.
One of those things that men find to be eye-opening, stunning, and maybe a little terrifying is listening to 2 or 3 women talking about other women. That’s scary because we think women are really cool, and we realize, “If that’s the way they talk about other women, what in the world are they saying about us?” That’s the way it feels.
We Want Basic Human Needs
We look at this and go, “What are we doing here? What are we trying to do?” We’re trying to create intimate relationships, but let’s go back even before that. Why do relationships matter to us? What is it that we get out of relationships or want out of relationships that makes them valuable in the first place? What we get is a feeling. We wanted emotion, validation, value, security, comfort, passion, love, and connection. We want all those things. Why? It’s because those are basic human needs.As human beings, we want validation, value, security, comfort, passion, love, and connection. We need these basic human needs. Click To Tweet
We want to be significant and to matter. If that’s what we’re looking for and what we need, why are we so focused on relationships? For most people, that is where those emotions are supported and come from, but at the end of the day, we’re all responsible for our own emotional state. We do have the ability to influence, affect, or change it. Sometimes we don’t use that ability, and then we blame that on other people.
Let’s talk about this a little bit. There are people that you love being around. You enjoy their presence. They come in with a feeling, energy, or light that just lights up the room. Maybe it’s just their smile. They smile, and the rooms light up. I have talked to people, and sometimes I will tell strangers, “You’ve got an amazing smile. Thank you. You just brightened my day.”
We also weren’t very used to complimenting other people. Do you know why? It’s because we don’t compliment ourselves. We don’t recognize the value that we have or the good things that we do. We are very quick to focus on the things that we completely mess up. For those of the male persuasion, we mess up stuff all the time, sometimes deliberately, hope not more often because we don’t know.
We don’t have the level of emotional intelligence that most women do. We do things that aren’t intended to be unkind, not affirming, or invalidating, but we do. We need help. We need education. Browbeating and nagging, if those words apply, it’s not the right thing. You got to find a better way to communicate it, but you still got to get there.
What are we trying to accomplish? We’re trying to create feelings, a feeling of joy, love, and belonging. We seek those things. One of the things I observed with some of my colleagues was this. There were situations where, if the spouses are not getting the validation, emotional support, and affirmations that they need from each other, one thing that happens is they sometimes turn to their children to get the emotional validation they should be getting from their spouse. That’s not healthy.
The next step is if you’re not getting validation from your children either, then you go and find somebody else who you feel will validate you, or at least does in the short term. I think that may be one of the root causes of infidelity. You have a feeling that you’re not being validated. You feel that you’re going to get this other emotion that you believe you’re lacking in your current relationship and get it from somebody else.
In some cases, maybe on a short-term basis, you can. In general, if you are dishonest in your relationship with your spouse and you’ve broken the vows that you made to them, there’s no reason anybody would trust you in any other area of life. If you’ll break that promise, why would anybody believe you’ll keep your word on anything else? That’s a scary thought, but it’s a reality and something you need to deal with.
Let’s go back to that principle, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” How do you begin to develop an ability to be self-sustaining, to not allow at least the needs that you have that you don’t feel are being met by your spouse, to drive you to behaviors that are damaging to your children and relationship? What is it you want? Who are you? What exactly is it that you think you need? Have you ever actually even sat down and thought about or tried to put to paper what your needs are?
The answer to that for virtually everyone is no. That’s one of the reasons that divorce is rampant. It’s because we have people who don’t know what they need, trying to find somebody who’s going to fulfill needs that they can’t identify yet. If you can’t identify the need, you can’t tell what behaviors or characteristics are going to fill that need.If you can't identify what you need, you can't tell what behaviors or characteristics are going to fill that need. Click To Tweet
The Starting Point
The starting point is, “How do we do that?” In a later show, we’re going to talk about how to identify and attract your ideal mate. Can you do it? Absolutely, but we’re not going to talk about that now. We’re going to talk about you and you figuring out exactly what your needs are, then evaluating how you treat yourself. If you’re going to love your neighbor as yourself, you got to start with, “How do you treat you?”
If your self-taught or the quality of questions that you ask yourself as we talked about it in the last show is consistently negative or is consistently designed to give a negative response, and you say, “I’m so this. I’m so that.” is that affirming to you? Would that be affirming to someone else? If you’re consistently bringing your energy, feelings, and everything from a positive to a negative state, how can you lift up someone else? Do you really want to treat somebody else like that?
If you are beating yourself up consistently, think about your children as that neighbor. Do you want to treat your children that way where you’re beating them up constantly about their failings? They’re not doing well enough in school, not doing this, not helping their brother, and not helping at home. It’s the same thing with your spouse. What if you’re telling them that all the time, “You’re not?”
The first bunch of times you do that, that recipient, whether it’s your spouse or your children, is going to hurt. What do we as human beings do when we get hurt? The easy way to think about that is, did you ever touch a hot stove that you didn’t realize was hot? You’re doing something, and your hand comes away from that so fast because that hurt. “Now, I’m trying to get the aloe and I’m sticking it in ice, or running water over it.” Maybe it’s a different example. As you were out raking leaves all day, you ended up with blisters on your hand. They pop, they hurt, and they’re not comfortable for several events.
In both cases, although probably a bit more in the second, you stop doing the things. What happens is, when your children reach out to you, that reaching out is a little bit like your finger going to the stove. If they touch you and you burn them, the finger comes away. Do they want to do it again? They’re much more reluctant. “Mom hurt me. Dad hurt me. I don’t know.”
First, it makes them question themselves because they think there must be something wrong with them. The 2nd or 3rd time they say, “I’m going to do it again,” they get burned and go, “I’m a little slow, but I’m picking up on this. I don’t think I’m going to do that anymore.” If you’ve ever worked and done a lot of physical labor on a consistent basis, whether you were raking leaves, shoveling, or even exercising, some people lifting weights will develop calluses on their hands.
Those calluses are thick pads of hard skin that don’t have the same sensitivity as the rest of your hand. They can take a lot more pressure before you will feel anything. They allow you to grip something without being hurt. You got to ask yourself the question based on dealing with you. Your spouse, your children, your co-workers, and your employees, are they building up calluses to be able to deal with you? Have they simply decided that you are too hot to handle and it hurts too much to deal with you?
It’s either one of those things. Either the calluses or the reaction creates emotional distance between you and those people that you love and say that you care about. Do you really love them if you are consistently hurting them? Do you love them if the only way they can deal with you is they can build up calluses and scar tissue to toughen them up so they can handle you?
Is that how you want your spouse to feel? Is that how you want your children to feel? Is that how you want your co-workers, your bosses, or your employees to feel? Either it’s not worth dealing with you at all, or they got to have some thick padding to create emotional distance so you don’t hurt them anymore. When the calluses get thick enough or get burned enough times, what they do is they completely emotionally withdraw. That takes a number of forms.
Sometimes it’s simply they avoid you. They don’t deal with you. Emotionally, sometimes they pull a wall down or a steel box that they put their heart inside that they don’t allow you access to. It would be like you going to your computer and saying, “Love.” It says, “Access denied.” Guess who did that? You did. They did it as a natural human reaction to you and to the pain you were inflicting on them on a consistent basis.
The Pain We Inflict On Others Is A Reflection Of Our Pain
Too often, the pain that we inflict on others is a reflection of the pain that we feel and inflict on ourselves. We do it with these awful questions that we ask, “Why am I so? Why am I this? Why do I always? Why do I never?” All those disaffirming and disempowering questions create a situation where you feel like, “I’m not worthy to be loved.” Some of that hot stove, callus type of thing is a function of you pushing people away because you don’t feel worthy of their love, respect, and affection.
The good part is at the source and the solution of the problem. The source of and solution to the problem is you. Are there times when you’ve done so much for so long that the damage cannot be repaired, or that certainly any ability to repair was well beyond you? Maybe they need professional counseling, time, or spiritual assistance. Maybe frankly, it’s too late.
There are relationships that get broken to the point where probably it isn’t healthy for the other person to try to fix it. Where do you start to fix you and to the extent that you can the relationships with the people that you love and care about? It starts with a principle that is called forgiveness. Let’s back this up even more. Before you forgive yourself, you have to recognize that you’ve done something wrong.
If you have no perception or understanding that any problem in your relationship is attributable to you, I can’t see how you can fix a problem you don’t acknowledge exists. What do you do? You have to do a very detailed self-assessment. There are some people who certainly can’t get there without professional help to realize that there is fault on their part and they’re not perfect.You can’t fix a problem you don't acknowledge exists. Click To Tweet
Every relationship has two parts to it. Is it sometimes the case where the relationship is broken completely to the acts of one? I think there is. That typically comes in the areas of infidelity and abuse. Maybe that comes as a result of addiction that manifests itself in behaviors that your spouse and your children can’t abide by. They can’t be around.
If your issues are addiction, unless somebody has forced a needle into your veins or something into your lungs or down your throat, addiction is about you. Are there potential genetic predispositions? Yes. Is there help? Yes. Am I in a position to help you with that? No, but if you recognize that you have some type of addiction issue, there are mental health resources available in virtually every community.
I suspect now at this point in our societal development, there are probably even those resources available through the internet, that you can do sessions with therapists remotely. I leave it to the therapists and each of you how best to do that and how that’s most effective. Find out if your behavior is driving people away. Look at it as a pattern. It is almost certain that all of your relationships are suffering from the same things.
The Common Denominator
If you’re having problems at work with coworkers, bosses, or your employees if you’re the owner, the probability is pretty high that you’re having those same problems in your intimate relationship, like your spouse and your children. When you look around the circle of people that you interact with, let’s list them out. You have your immediate family, your spouse, and children, or your extended family, your coworkers, social friends, and perhaps your friends at church, school, or some club that you belong to. Look carefully at the relationships in all of those areas. Look and see if there are any similarities and commonalities. For example, you’re having trouble getting along with people in each of those areas. What is the one common denominator between all of those people?
Many of them don’t even know each other, but if you’re having similar problems among different people in different groups who don’t know each other, the problem is almost certainly you. That’s a really hard thing to accept. We find it easy to see flies in other people, but it’s very difficult to see our own. Maybe that’s a self-protective mechanism, I don’t know. I certainly have recognized that as a pattern at times in my own life and the lives of people close to me.
What do you do if you recognize that pattern? First, you try to evaluate it. You may find that the best way to do that is to get some professional help to do it. You may also want to try it first with a pen and paper, and create a chart. “I’ve got these different groups of people. I’ve got these different issues. These are all issues. Whose issues are they?” If those issues are showing up in multiple areas and multiple types of relationships, they’re almost certainly you.
You then need to look into, “What are the patterns? What are my behaviors? What are my attitudes? What are my methods of communication? What are the words I use? What is my tone of voice? What is my physical effect?” There’s the brutal honesty. I come back to that, and you can hear that from me a lot, because if we’re not honest with ourselves, we can’t be, potentially.
We can’t make changes that matter. Surface behaviors are fine, but if I’m only doing it because I’m sure that that will make my spouse feel better, but it’s certainly not because what I was doing is a problem, you really aren’t going to have the motivation to continue. Until you acknowledge, “I’ve got this problem. I have to fix it. The results that it’s producing are so painful to me and so unacceptable that I will take the action necessary to change them.”
You’ve got to create what Tony Robbins calls leverage on yourself. You can’t live with what you don’t want to live with and that you will pay a price to avoid that pain, even if that price requires you to recognize and acknowledge that somewhere all of it’s your fault and that you’re going to make the change as necessary to do it. That’s how you get started. It may be a function that you want to go to as part of this communication that we’ve talked about.
Let’s go to them and say, “There are problems in our relationship. I want to make them better. I realize probably it’s me, but I really appreciate it if you would be honest enough to tell me, even if you want to tell me face to face, you want to write me a letter, or you want to send me an email. Let me know what it is that I’m doing that is hurting you or creating distance between us because I want to fix it. I value you. You’re important to me. I love you. I want to be what you need, but I need to know what I need to change. Will you help me? Will you be patient with me? Will you help me change?”
Can you imagine the conversation and the impact of that simple statement on somebody who’s been hurt by your behaviors for a period of time, maybe for a long time? You’ve acknowledged them, acknowledged that you’ve hurt them, validated that they are important to you, acknowledged that it’s your fault, asked for their forgiveness, asked for their help, “Will you help me change?” Those might be magic words for most relationships. “Will you help me change?”
There’s a ton more that we can do, but when we go back, we started with “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” You have to get to the point where you recognize it’s okay to have flaws. We all do. You’re not supposed to be perfect, none of us are. What you are supposed to do is go from where you are to becoming a better version of you, so that you can love yourself and the person that you are becoming. When you can love yourself and see the person that you are becoming and love that person, then you can see what other people can become, and you can love the person they are becoming. I hope you’ve enjoyed our time together. This has been Episode 6, Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself. I look forward to seeing you again on another episode.