There’s a common belief that, in order to truly love others, you must first love yourself. In order to have happy and healthy relationships with others, especially in romantic relationships. Individuals must first believe that they are lovable and value themselves.
If you hate yourself and you’re living a reckless life, you probably should work on you a little (life coping tools) before investing in someone else. But the idea that you have to fully love yourself before loving someone else is not true. It’s a banner hung by people who have read too many self help books. It can be a wall we hide behind because we’re afraid to love.
It’s also lined with shame. It sets you up to ring a high bell that’s unattainable. Because loving yourself doesn’t come with a certificate or a finish line. It’s a life long process. It’s not a class. It’s a concept. Like any relationship, your relationship with yourself goes up and down and sideways and requires a daily feed. It changes as you change, your circumstances change, and the people around you change.
So no matter how much work you’ve done on yourself, or how far you’ve come in life, there are days you’re not going to love yourself. Because of so many other factors. You may be kinder to yourself. You may no longer hate yourself. But we all snap back at times. We all live with our demons to a certain extent.
Because we all have our stories. And our stories have caused imprints and false beliefs. Because none of us enter adulthood unscarred. That banner injects people with fear and they begin to dig moats instead of building bridges. So it’s actually not about loving yourself. Let’s move away from the pressure of that, especially when it comes to qualifying yourself to love someone else.
Instead, see loving yourself as the action of self love / self care in your every day life, your everyday choices from what you decide to eat to who you decide to love and surround yourself with. Loving yourself is the practice of self love and it’s on going. Forever. Until you die. It’s not a bar to measure yourself before getting into a relationship. Entering a relationship should not require you to be a certain person or at a certain place in your life.
What’s more important when it comes to investing in a relationship is that you like yourself. That’s more of the constant. That’s the island to swim to. That’s real. That’s secondary change. When you get to a place where you like yourself, the action of loving yourself will come more naturally. Real self-love is about embracing who you are. Having the courage to show your authentic self to the world without worrying what people will think.
Giving yourself permission to design a life that feels right to you, rather than remaining bound in a life that other people expect you to live. Real self-love is about treating yourself like you would treat a loved one or best friend. Talking to yourself with kind words, showing yourself compassion when you stumble, and becoming your own biggest cheerleader and fan. You’ll have non-negotiables.
You won’t torerate certain behavior from others. You’ll seek less approval. Your friendships will be less lopsided. You won’t have as many holes to fill within you. You’ll be more gentle with yourself, more forgiving. You’ll believe you deserve more, better, different. You’ll finally stop breaking the promises you’ve made with you. And the relationship you have with youself will improve.