DAILY PROMPT: LOVE TO LOVE YOU
What do you love most about yourself? What do you love most about your favorite person? Are the two connected?
For five long years of boarding school, Love thy neighbour was an edict carved into our sorry pubescent hearts with a heavy hand by our elders and (presumably) betters.
Missionaries came on a regular basis to tell us of their selfless good works, and I had visions of carefree, grass-skirted women lacing their swaying mammaries into whalebone corsets and being forbidden to ask for the butter. Because the Devil, you see, was in the detail. Loving thy neighbour meant passing her the butter (literally), but not asking for it for yourself. The results could be humiliating. If you were out of favour that day, you could spend the entire meal waiting for the (obligatory) butter ration to come your way, and be forced to sit down after grace to eat it on the obligatory bread while 150 of your peers filed past and sniggered.
It’s a wonder more of us didn’t leave the place irredeemably warped.
As it was, it took me a long time to get my head around the fact that the bit they’d conveniently overlooked – the as thyself – was actually essential to working out what constituted loving thy neighbour. I mean, doing unto others what you would have them do unto you is hardly an attractive proposition from their point of view if you constantly lay yourself down to be walked on.
So why am I telling you this? Because loving myself still, after all these years, carries that faint whiff of narcissistic self-indulgence so stringently forbidden in my youth.
I do now manage to respect myself, though, and what I respect most is that I’m a tough old bat. I’m still here, aren’t I?
And that has nothing whatsoever to do with what I love about my favourite people. My family are simply the best.
What more can I say?