Loving Myself… And My Necktie

I recently flew a couple hours from home to attend a rather fancy function.  Close to the airport, and with no time to spare, I got that sick feeling every traveler dreads.  I had forgotten to pack a necktie.

 

My first reactions were: (this may seem extreme, but my character is filled with flaws) anger at myself for being stupid; sadness and anger that I would most likely have to waste money to buy a tie, even though I have probably 40 ties at home that I rarely wear; and other general negative self-talk.

 

Thoughts raced into my mind.  “Do I really need a tie?”  “Will everyone else be wearing a tie?”  “What if I buy a tie and then I get there and half the men are not wearing ties?… then I’ll be REALLY angry and upset.”  “What if I don’t buy a tie and I get there and I’m the only one without a tie?… that will be embarrassing.”  “Which is the greater downside?”  “Maybe I can borrow a tie from someone.”  The torment wouldn’t stop.

 

I knew this situation had the potential to cause the mental battle to continue for a long time.  It threatened to consume me and rob my joy.

 

Somehow I was reminded of Jesus’ words to love your neighbor as yourself.  The “as yourself” part doesn’t get a lot of attention, but I was fortunate enough to be in a discussion group on this topic just a few nights earlier.  So I asked myself, “What would I do if I was traveling with my wife, one of our children, or ANY ‘neighbor’ and they were in this predicament?”   The answer was, “I’d say ‘No big deal – these things happen – you had a lot on your mind when packing – etc.  Let’s buy you a ____ the first chance we get, so we won’t have to think about this anymore.’ ”   Then I’d buy the person the tie (or whatever) and put it out of my mind.

 

The obvious next internal question was, “Can I love myself as I would love that neighbor?” 

 

In the gift shop at the airport was a tie rack.  I selected the right color and pattern, bought it, and put it in my suitcase.  Done.  Peace.

 

I really like that tie now… not because it’s so exquisite, but because of what it represents.

 

 

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