So, I think we all know the Golden Rule…right? “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” But, I’m going to challenge this. Yes…Prof K is going to challenge the most known ‘rule’ we have. Ready?
Look, I agree we should treat others like we want to be treated my them. That’s a no-brainer…at least for most of us. But, what if we flipped this around? Let’s call it, for lack of a better title but nothing to do with the fact that I’m presenting this awesome idea (🙄): The Golden ‘K’ Rule 2.0. Sound good? 😬
Anyhoot, here’s what it says: “Treat YOURSELF like you treat OTHERS.” Further, let’s expand it into “Talk to yourself like you talk to others”, “Respect yourself like you do others”, “Compliment yourself like you do others”, “Show compassion for yourself like you do others”, “Be kind to yourself like you are to others”, and finally “Forgive yourself like you do others.”
Wow. The most known Golden Rule in the world is ‘one’ definition. Mine has at least ‘7’. Now I would never brag, but kinda impressive, huh? 🙄
My sissy and I have talked about this before, and I’m learning more and more about self-kindness and self-compassion in the Mindfulness course I’m taking. The Grand Poobah has also discussed this, as well as a student of mine. Here’s the thing: Why do we talk about ourselves, treat ourselves, and demean/dismiss ourselves while building others up? One day I said to my sissy: “You are beautiful.” Which she is…she was always the pretty one…I was labeled the smart one. However, she is both! Anyway, here’s what she said: “No, I’m not! YOU are!” Then we did the back and forth sisters do in this situation…”No, I’m not!”…”Yes you are!” until we decided to change topics and gossip about ma (just kidding ma…you know we love you 😘).
Finally, we came back to our complimentary based tiff and we realized this: we knock ourselves down while trying to build each other up. It’s like repulsive magnets (both ‘same’ poles on magnets not being able to connect 🤓, and yes, I had to look that up) in that my compliment to her was pushed away by her negative talk to herself and the same for me. So basically, we spent 10 minutes of our 50+ year old lives yammering to each other with nothing accomplished. Hmmmm…come to think of it, that is descriptive of me and ma’s conversations at times.
Why in the hell do we do this? Why is it so easy to build others up…see the good and the beautiful and the gifts inside of them while we denounce our own? Why can’t the positive messages override the negative ones in our head, and why do we have these anyway?
If T tells me I’m beautiful (her glasses need adjusted 🤨), why can’t I say: “Thank you…I think I am too.” WAIT! I can’t say that! What conceit…what nerve…what narcissism. But is it? If I see beauty as a light inside a person, why can’t I see my own light? Beauty isn’t just about looks…it’s about the person you are…the soul you are…the effort you put into people…the empathy you have.
So, I’m on a fucking dating site (sorry, ma but this site is a complete nightmare and if I see one more selfie of a guy in the bathroom where the toilet is visible and there is spit toothpaste on the mirror, I’m going to puke 🤢) and I can’t even bring myself to tell you the name of it. It’s for ‘mature’ (cough cough) people of a certain age (shutty) and whenever I mention it to a friend, they crack up. Literally. The other day, my neighbor and I were yapping over the fence and I told her the name of it…she was drinking some water at the time and spit it out while cracking up. To be honest, others have had the same reaction. (Note: I cancelled my subscription because I’m really happy right now and don’t want to date after all. Not yet. I’m here to tell you that sometimes it’s just so much better to be single!) 🤩
The Grand Poobah likes to look over my shoulder if I scroll through ‘matches’ on our lunch hour and every so often, out of sheer curiosity, I send a ‘smile’ to someone and the Poobah gets pissed. He’ll see a doctor or lawyer or architect and tell me to click on them. I don’t. Why? Because I’ve talked to myself so negatively over the years…taken the blame for so many things…dismissed myself so many times…lacked any compassion or kindness for myself that I simply don’t feel ‘good’ enough. When I told the Poobah this he said: “Kristi. For fuck sakes (his ma doesn’t care if he cusses), you are a professor who is smart and pretty and educated with a lot to offer a guy.” And I say: “Bullshit.”
But I really thought about this later and he’s right (I would never tell him that😐), it’s exactly what I do. I’ve always chosen men (or they choose me and I go with the flow) who ‘need’ something from me. Who need ‘fixed’. Who need ‘help’ with the exception of O’s dad who was actually a smart, fun man from an excellent family. That marriage lasted 13 years and could have been saved if we had both chosen to do so.
Anyhoot, take J. Please. He was living in his Grandma’s dark, moldy (literally) basement with his cousin who didn’t believe in trash cans or flushing the toilet (literally again), who didn’t have enough money for lunch. He had no decent clothes, no job, nothing to really call his own, no place to see his kids outside of the ‘dungeon’ and the list goes on. Fast forward 3 years and he has a house, moolah (VA benefits that I helped him get), more time with his kids than ever, etc. He also is getting help from the VA (which I ‘forced’) and is a doing better in terms of his PTSD/Borderline.
Hubby 3 was also a tortured soul: he was living with his ma (Krusty…her nickname because her voice was scratchy from smoking and she was the triplet of Marge Simpson’s sisters) and barely making ends meet. He was angry, needy, and hadn’t experienced committed love from anyone. Then I traipsed into his life and his transformation over our first couple years together (which were hell) was amazing. He’s truly a different person now and I’m so proud of him…he has always told me I did it for him. I love him for that.
I’ve had others as well. Guys that had very little to offer me, but who needed me to help them overcome trauma, life circumstances, etc. Am I ‘special’ for having the ability to help these men rebuild their lives? No. Not at all. That’s just what I think I HAVE to do in order for them to be committed to me…love me…need me…want me. As you know, this has worked great so far. Blech.
Then, the Poobah pointed this out to me: “Why don’t you date guys who are more educated and professional?” I never thought about this but I don’t. Hubby 3 has a GED which he easily got without having to brush up on anything and is so so so smart mechanically that it’s scary what he can do. J flunked out of the couple classes he took at community college (he used to like to correct my grammar…it pissed me off royally just because it’s rude and was un-neccesary). Look, it’s not that I’m worthier (for lack of a better word that doesn’t sound pretentious which I’m NOT trying to be) than these guys because of my degrees and profession…no…I truly believe we all have our special souls that were created for us…and that we are all worthy and equal in terms of our humanity. The Poobah was simply saying I needed to find men that were interested in academia…had the means to travel…had financial security…didn’t need me, but wanted me. Men who didn’t need ‘fixed’ but wanted a forever. Hmmm.
So, back to the original question: why is it so hard to treat ourselves like we do others? I have forgiven men some pretty bad things but can’t forgive myself for almost everything. I’ve been kind to people yet mean to myself. I have compassion for people who are hurting or sick, but get angry when I’m suffering because I think I had to have done something to bring it on. I empathize and understand so deeply when others are grappling with a mental illness with accompanying behavior, but ‘hate’ myself for having one too.
I need to stop this. We all do. We need to be kind to ourselves. Compassionate. Forgiving. We need to talk to ourselves positively and try to over-write the years we haven’t. We need to build ourselves up…recognize our gifts. We need to embrace who we are, flaws and all, like we do with others. We need to show pride in who we are…not shame. We need to tell ourselves we are valuable just because we are who we are which means we don’t have to prove anything or change anyone or give all we have to others simply for their ‘love’. We are enough. It’s not conceit. It’s not selfishness. It’s the same consideration we have for those in our lives that we deny ourselves. We deny it to the one person we will live with forever. That will always be with us. Why can’t that voice be the one that raises us up?