Near the end of Long Lasting Relationships, I said…

While of course, people should learn to love themselves first before seeking others out, the reality is that most people don’t love themselves, or at the very least, they mistake self respect as love for themselves.

Self respect is a social construct of what common society deem as acceptable behaviour. It is their way in trying to shame you into conforming to the comfort and values of the common attitudes, to put order from what it perceives as chaos. If individuals behave as a well oiled machine like the rest of common society, then they are considered respectable. They insert the word “self” into it, to give the illusion it’s about you. The reality is that it’s not about you. It’s about them.

When you tell someone they should have some self respect, you’re telling them you look down on them. You’re telling them how they should fall in line, otherwise, they deserve the cruelty bestowed upon them. You judge viciously, cheer the abusers, and engage in violence against those you disagree with without an inkling on the evil you’re doing. Your projection of what you deem is self respect, is really just an excuse for you to mistreat others.

That is why you will never see me tell other people to have self respect, because it’s a cop-out to not hold yourself accountable for how other people turn out due to how you treat them. For example, to some of you, you believe sex workers deserve to be treated badly. That’s why there are a lot of sex workers that regret what they do, falling into hard times, taking up drug abuse, and in some cases, even taking their own lives. Yet, you have no qualms about how you’re treating them in the first place. They’re not the problem. You are. Your cruelty is.

As my brother once said a long time ago…

Before you try to change others, change yourself first.

To further that thought process, if you refuse to change yourself believing you need not change, then stop demanding change in others. No one else should be subjected to what you want. Only they can decide what they want for themselves.

Also, I think very relevant to this topic is this famous Bible quote…

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. “This is the first and great commandment. “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39)

I do not need to be a follower of Christ, to adhere to a similar code of conduct towards other people of my community. It doesn’t matter whether what they do is something I won’t do. It only matters that I treat them the same way I would treat myself. Do you have so much hate for yourself, that you would express that much hate for others?

Of course, obviously, this is within context of self respect and self love. I am not here to micro-detail every aspect of society’s factions and thought systems just to appease the anal-retentive who often resort to straw-man fallacies.

The bottom line? Self respect is about the judgment of other people. Self love is about taking care of yourself. The only thing that should matter to anyone, is how to love oneself and how to engage other people with that same love. If you desire other people to change, then change your bad attitude first. When you become a beacon of decent behaviour and the people around you don’t change, then it’s time for you to move on. Otherwise, gather like-minded folk and try to induce change from within. Some societies are worth the effort, but many aren’t.

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