If you truly love yourself, you could never hurt another. ~Buddha
One of my daughters is a nurse. While working one day, she overheard a patient say, in Spanish, to her own daughter, that my daughter did not know what she was doing. Unknown to them, my daughter has a passing fluency with Spanish so understood every word coming out of the woman’s mouth. That evening, she came to me distraught, near tears.
I helped her understand the people treat you based upon how they feel about themselves. A person in physical pain will lash out at a caregiver because they can’t stop their pain and the anger escapes to the nearest person. A person in emotional distress will find reasons to justify their poor behavior towards others because it’s much easier to blame others than fix themselves. A person in financial pain will try to ban immigrants from crossing the borders of the country in which they live because it’s easier to spew vitriol on the outsiders for their lack of prosperity than their own educational and vocational choices. Understanding this helped her to focus her care on the entire person not just the person hitting out from behind a mask of pain. It helped her become a better nurse.
Emotional pain goes much deeper than physical pain in driving behavior. People in emotional pain, people who don’t accept who they are, people that have difficulty loving themselves throw the same negative emotions into the world. It’s all they can throw because it’s all they have. The most common object of their negativity is those with the very aspects of themselves they dislike. The flaw in others reminds them of the flaw in themselves.
Loving ourselves enables us to replace our negative emotions with positive ones. With a heart full of positive emotions, we are better able to truly see others as they are instead of behind a cloud of our own pain. With a heart full of positive emotions, we will be able to truly love others. Perhaps the most spiritual undertaking we can do is to understand and accept and love who we are faults and all.