February 16, 2013

Love Ourselves vs Love Others

No Tolerance (134/365)
No Tolerance (134/365) (Photo credit: Icky Pic)
During my art teaching, I found that those who treat themselves harshly, also treat others in the same way.

For example, sometime during classes I like to hold up someone's work to let everybody give comments. There are always some students could not help to point out the shortcomings first. They seem to suppose that when we give comments, we should always find out what is NOT good first (I have no doubt that's how their parents treat them). Or, sometime, some other students made mistakes, these type of students could not help to make fun of them. Another day I was in major upset by the reaction of one of my students, who is 12 year-old girl - after she saw my neighbor, who is obese coming out from his apartment, she could not help to make an expression of big surprise with half hidden scorn.

Ironically, it is precisely this type of students who are always extremely unforgivable toward themselves. They usually could not face their failure, some of them cried when they could not understand instructions, or feeling extreme depressed when they could not finish their projects in a desirable way. A few of them would just wait for my instruction for every step, which made my teaching quite difficult.

This fact tells me, that we humans essentially use the same attitude treat ourselves and others. The reason that these students, or this type of people look down on others' faults is exactly because they would look down on themselves in the same situation. Or the causality can be reversed. And the reason some people can treat others with ease, only because that's how they treat themselves. This is enough to prove one of life philosophy I learned before: those who don't know how to love themselves, do not know how to love others.

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  1. thanks motherofnine for stopping by:-)

  2. I believe a lot of this comes passed down from the parents. Many parents of these children also suffered many of the same problems, they were never good enough for their parents, and now it is the new generations turn to suffer the unhappiness of being a constant failure.

    It is hard to stop this cycle, but if people become aware of themselves they can try and make an effort for the next generation...one can only hope.

    I agree, one who always sees themselves as not good enough, will also point out the failings of others.

  3. yunyi, I think most people view life as a struggle in which they are in competition not only with others but with themselves. The more they expect and demand of themselves, the more they expect and demand of others, and no one is ever allowed to relax, to simply be, and see the beauty in themselves and others.

  4. @PBScott, I cannot agree more that the influence from parents would make the most impact on how most kids view themselves and the world.

    @np, true. Almost every class of mine I have one of two such kind of students who ask too much from themselves. It is hard to see how unhappy they are at this young age.

  5. Very thoughtful post, Yun Yi. Some people always point out shortcomings first, and some seem to take pleasure in making fun of others. Shows a lack of tolerance and perhaps some self-loathing. (Sadly, many of those children get that example at home.) Completely agree with the life philosophy that those who don’t know how to love themselves, do not know how to love others. It is essentially human.

  6. Very good article, Yun! Very true.

    Before I got my depression under control, I saw the negative side of everything first. Even though I am managing my depression with medication (don't worry, I am fine now!), I do tend to still be quite cynical but I am much more able to see the good in situations as well as people much easier.

    One thing that I also have noticed is that for many people, they can instantly see the good side of everything and the good side of everyone else but they are unable to see the good in themselves.

    Very sad but also very common.

    Thanks again for your great essays, Yun!

  7. Thanks Tom for stopping by!
    Glad to know you feel better. I am the same way, once I was so easily to see dark side of me, and others. I still consider I am "cynical" overall but also capable of being optimistic.

    You are right, someone also are "instantly see the good side of everyone else" but themselves. We humans are just too complicated to generalize.