What does it mean to truly love
“they neighbor as thyself”as is suggested in the bible?
How can you “love thy neighbor (as Jesus commanded),”
co-worker, x-lover, family, or any person who has
wronged you? And how does one really let go of
unfair biases, hurt, rejection, memories of hurt and
other unhappy feelings toward others, whether they be
for major or minor reasons?
I think I’m just beginning to understand what it truly
means to embrace a person for who they are, qualms
and all, and to respect them as my equal.
While there are many answers to these complex issues,
I’ll attempt to take a small, small stab at what I’ve
discovered. I note here that this entry is not
about romantic/sexual love, although many of the
following principles equally apply.
How to love and move on….
To truly grow and heal, I must acknowledge where
I was to blame in each situation, stop beating myself
up over it, seek forgiveness from the other
person(s) and God and determine how I will act if I
encounter that situation again.
I must be able to, in my love for the other person,
overlook and let go the small things that at one
time would have irritated or scratched at an
emotional scab. In turn, I must take care to avoid
doing/saying things that would trigger hurt or the
deep-rooted fears in those I love. I must be
willing to let go of my sense of, and need for, justice.
Does unconditional love mean loving yourself,
flaws and all?
Does loving and respecting another person–qualms
and all–start with loving and respecting myself in
my full-flawed glory? If I can accept that I am flawed
without assigning judgment, hate or labels to my mottled
self, could it also be that I will be able to truly offer the
same to others?
Love means not keeping score…
I also think that friendship/love means not keeping a
running score of what you’ve done for someone or
what they owe you in return.
One exception I see here would be with regard to
large sums of money. However, because some
people have not been taught the moral and social
importance of paying back debts, they have hit
long-term hard times, or they have been allowed
to depend on the finances of others for so long
that they can’t see how this habit hurts themselves
and their human relationships, there are times when
this too must be forgiven.
And so it seems in the end that loving others
means being open, accepting and vulnerable to
feeling love. It means setting my emotional shields
aside, forgiving the other person in advance for
anything they may do hurt to me, while believing
in the other person and their capacity to love me in return.
What do you think it takes
to “love they neighbor as thyself?”