Treat Yourself Like Someone You’re Responsible for Helping

The title of this post is a chapter title from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. It’s a good book. My wife and I read together after our daughter goes to bed.

The argument of the second chapter is long and, if you’re unfamiliar either with contemporary evolutionary theory or the book of Genesis, might be difficult to follow on a first read. And that’s okay. I recommend the book. But this post isn’t about the book. It’s about the rule. It’s a good rule.

How many of us know the person who always has the solutions for everybody else’s problems but can’t deal with their wife, their boss, the body, or their finances?

How many of us are that person?

In a series of lessons I gave on Christian mindset for a men’s bible study I used to teach, I wrote that the men should become their own pastors. And what I meant by this was not that they should override or ignore pastoral authority. But rather, that they should aim their reflex to be a hellishly bossy person on themselves. The Bible recommends this practice throughout.

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons… (Deuteronomy 4:9)

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (1 Timothy 4:16)

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)

In other words, watch yourself with the same sort of scrutiny that innately makes you want to improve other’s lives.