Love Your Neighbor

Dear Wombat & Dingbat,

I know that I need to love myself in order to love my neighbor. Two questions: how do I love myself more without being a complete narcissist? And how do I love my “neighbors” when they are so annoying? Thanks for your guidance.

–Religious Quandary

 

Dear Religious,

What is love?

“What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more….” Right. Never mind.

What I was trying to say before the singing started was that love is all well and good—really, we’re all about the love—but it doesn’t make much sense as a standard of behavior. Face it, neighbors often are annoying.

Especially the dog next door. You wouldn’t believe what he says to me through the fence.

Well, I hear what you say back. Which is a behavior you could change. But what I’m trying to say is that maybe you might want to try a different order. You say: “I need to love myself in order to love my neighbor.” But what does loving yourself look like? How do you know if you are doing it?

Maybe the starting point is to commit to treating your neighbors (whether they live near you or not) with kindness and respect. Drive like other people matter. Avoid being snotty on Facebook. Stand up for people’s rights. Do the things.

The more you treat people with kindness and respect, the more you are likely to feel kindly toward them, which is basically love, right?

Hey, Wombat….

Yes, D?

The Human says that I am not to throw myself at strangers to give them kisses. But isn’t that showing them love? How is that a bad thing?

It depends on how they feel about a splotchy furry projectile headed for their face. Not everyone likes that. If you do something a person doesn’t like, that isn’t love.

Oh….that makes me a little sad. Or what I imagine sad might feel like, since we all know I don’t really do sad.

Think of it this way. When you are working with the human and you figure something out or you do something hard, how do you feel inside?

Bouncy. Wiggly. Full of bubbles and shiny things.

You could maybe call that feeling “loving yourself,” right?

Sure.

So rather than worrying about how to love themselves, maybe folks should work on doing things that make them feel bubbly and shiny inside.

Hey, Wombat….

Yes?

I love you.

Love you too, D. In spite of it all.

Wiggles and Kisses,

Wombat and Dingbat

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2 thoughts on “Love Your Neighbor

  1. Thank you, Wombat and Dingbat!

    My new feeling: Bouncy. Wiggly. Full of bubbles and shiny things.

    Love, E

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