I am reading one chapter a month of Jordan Peterson's best selling book 12 Rules for Life (see previous posts here and here).
Peterson has become a controversial figure but I am ignoring the media hysteria and the political name-calling and focussing only on what he has to say in the book, which intrigues me as his rules are somewhat unusual!
I considered Rule One was a reasonable rule to follow, but what about Rule Two - Treat yourself as you would treat someone you were responsible for helping?
It seems we are likely to look after our pets more carefully than we look after ourselves and Peterson asks why this should be so. Chapter Two is long and interesting, and I read it several times (cutting out the pages to save weight and take them with me to New Zealand). He looks to our conditioning by some of the oldest stories - original sin and other stories from the bible which has after all provided the best known 10 Rules for Life in the Christian world for a very long time - to try to understand why we should feel so unworthy of proper self care, (sinners that we all are!). I am interested too in the way he describes navigating a path between order and chaos in our lives as the way to give them meaning. We value ourselves more if our lives have meaning he says. He also says we each have the spark of the divine in us. 'So, we may not exactly be God, but we're not nothing either' .
I think self-care is often looked on as selfish. I am not talking about pampering and indulgent treats here, I am talking about serious mental and physical health issues (we all know which are ours). I grew up with the idea that truly good people put themselves last, but not to care for ourselves is selfish if it increases the likelihood of others having to look after us - partners, family or the state - a burden I wouldn't want to impose. I may not be able to avoid that, but I am able to reduce the chance of it by taking responsibility for my own health and wellbeing - a lovely project I have decided!
So, yes, I am happy to adopt Rule Two.
The title of Chapter Two Why Don't You Just Take Your Damn Pills made me laugh out loud. The man does I think have a sense of humour.
Do you think this 'rule' is useful guidance on how to live your life?