Self-love seems to be one of the current hot topics in personal growth arenas. There are books providing advice on how to foster self-love, tips and info-graphics floating around online, and it’s even made it’s way into mainstream music lyrics.
There are many sayings insisting that in order to be loved by others, we must love ourselves first. But is this necessarily true?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion regarding whether or not they truly believe that self-love is a pre-requisite to receiving love from others. However, I want to share a different perspective on this topic. Here are some of the issues I have with such a bold statement.
1. It implies that self-love is like a light switch that can be turned on and off.
One day you “love yourself”, the next day you don’t.. So that translates to: one day you deserve to be loved, the next day you don’t? — Except it doesn’t really work like that. Self-love is not a light switch to be turned on and off.
Rather, self-love is a fluid, ever-complex experience that can’t necessarily be dichotomized into a “yes, you’ve got it” or “no, you don’t” type-thing. I can hate the way I look Monday while loving my ability to perform a specific task. And then I could love the way I look on Tuesday while hating a personal flaw. “Loving oneself” is such a multi-faceted concept that is difficult to narrow down to a “yes you do” or “no you don’t” ordeal.
2. It implies that romantic love is the only type of love that matters.
When I’m struggling with self-love, does that mean my children, parents, friends, siblings, and partner no longer love me until I can get it together and “love myself”? No. When people hurl this phrase around, I don’t think they consider that other types of love exist and are equally important.
…Romantic love should not be the only love that exists or matters in our lives.
3. It implies that those who are struggling in self-compassion do not deserve to be loved.
What I gather from, “Love yourself or nobody will,” is: “Nobody will love you until you love yourself first. Until then, you are unworthy of love.” And that cannot be farther from the truth. I believe that those who are struggling to love themselves deserve and need love the most.
4. It implies that those who are struggling in self-compassion are suddenly incapable of loving others.
“You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” This suggests that when we are struggling in self-compassion, we suddenly lose the ability or will to love other people. I believe this is false. Also (again), it’s rooted in the idea that romantic love is the only type of love that exists.
Potentially, the way that we feel about ourselves can impact the way that we interact with those around us. But to suggest that when we’re struggling, we suddenly stop loving those who’ve been there, or are not able to love others is preposterous to me.
5. It implies that the ultimate goal is to be loved by others.
Kinda ironic, right? A quote preaching that we should love ourselves ultimately prioritizes being loved by others.
Lastly, if you’re reading this and you’re struggling to find ways to love yourself or practice self-compassion, I just want you to know that you’re still worthy of love. Even in your darkest hour: YOU. ARE. WORTHY!
What are your thoughts on this topic or quote? I’d like to hear from you!