Including this bookish weapon is presumptuous, because the author, Jordan B. Peterson, of “12 Rules For Life,” is a fan of long discussions rather than the few minutes of a talk show or a few hundred words in a post like this. However, I think that this one bookish weapon is worth the risk. Please read the whole book as well as one of his other books, “Maps of Meaning.”
Focus On You
The bookish weapon I wish to explore from Peterson’s book is rule number two in this book. It states, “Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.” If that isn’t going on offense I don’t know what is. This section of the book is as long as some books so we are going to focus on one aspect of it.
Peterson points out that, “You are important to other people as well as yourself. You are therefore morally obliged to take care of yourself.” It would seem that this is obvious but it is not. Most of us do things to ourselves that we would not do to others, because we figure that we belong to ourselves and can do what ever we want with our possession.
Your Best Friend and Who Owns You
Who is your best friend? It better be yourself. You can’t love someone else until you love yourself. If you accept that then what are you going to do about it or stop doing? But if you say I hate myself so I am going to punish me, then consider that you might not really own yourself.
Consider what Peterson says about this:
‘“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” According to this philosophy, you do not simply belong to yourself. You are not simply your own possession to torture and mistreat. This is partly because your Being is inexorably tied up with that of others, and your mistreatment of yourself can have astonishing consequences for others.”’
Your Future Self
Peterson has also said that those “others” include your future selves. If you treat yourself in a way that hurts them it doesn’t turn out well long term. He says, “You are a community of people across time.” This idea is so valuable. It has helped me gain a new perspective on my day to day decisions.
So maybe you are someone that really doesn’t like yourself very much. Then consider that it is not just you that is involved. It is other people and your future selves. This will definitely keep you on offense. Keep rule number two in mind as you go about your day.