You Must Love Yourself Before Others Can Love You
Love is the starting point of all emotional well-being, but it is also what allows us to be comfortable with others and to be in relationships with others. It is impossible to really love someone if we have not gone through a process of self-acceptance and abandon the habit of dissociating from the parts of our lives we do not like. If you do not love yourself, no one will do it for you.
Self-esteem is the human ability to cherish or love ourselves despite all the failures we can commit.
A person with healthy self-esteem knows that a person is much more than his or her faults. She is also aware that we are constantly changing and that we can apply very few labels to ourselves because we act in different ways depending on times and contexts. We can, for example, say that someone has acted negatively or badly, but we cannot conclude that that person is bad.
Going through life assigning labels is a dangerous attitude. Consider the fact that the person you have labeled sincere will tell lies and the person you have labeled as a liar will tell truths. The life of a person is long enough, and goes through enough conditions, that it touches the two extremes of many attitudes.
If we use this labeling system with others, we are also likely to use it with ourselves. Thus, we will be very hard on ourselves when we do not act in the way that we would life. This severity sets us up for sadness. When it happens to you, remember that you have to love yourself before others can love you.
The problem arises when we try to cover the lack of self-love with the love of others. Because of our self-reproaches, we are not able to see how good we are and only react when others point it out to us. Thus, the problem is that whether or not we are happy with an outcome depends on the recognition we get from others, a recognition that hardly comes because if you don’t love yourself, no one else will do it for you.
A lack of self-love and love in relationships
Why will a lack of self-love mean no one else can love you? The answer is not too complicated. When one does not love or value herself, or tends to only be kind to herself when she acts correctly, she tends to treat other people the same way.
We have no choice but to support ourselves, because we cannot escape from ourselves. But obviously, others do not have to tolerate our way of judging them, our jealousy or our devaluation.
Therefore, when this is the case and we choose a partner to fulfill that need for love that we do not know how to care for with our own self-esteem, we develop a dependence. Dependence is attachment to something or someone because you simply believe “that person will make me happy,” “that person will complete my life,” “that person is essential to my well-being,” etc.
Dependence or emotional attachment leads one to behave in an extremist way with their partner. If you think you need your partner in your life, you’ll set in motion all kinds of extreme behaviors that ultimately cause you to lose your partner, which is exactly what you do not want. If you do not love yourself, it is very difficult for someone else to cover that gap.
These behaviors, which can begin innocently enough, can end up being overwhelming, stressful and harmful to the partner, who will eventually make the decision to leave the relationship.
How to begin to love yourself
The key to achieving this goal is unconditional acceptance. It sounds easy, but it is not. To accept oneself unconditionally implies loving ourselves independently of everything external to it. Work, success, relationships, beauty or money are external elements.
A person is much more than everything she owns and even more than her thoughts, emotions or performances.
To increase your love for yourself, it is good to think that perfection is a concept designed by man. It does not exist and never will exist. We are not perfect. We have plenty of failures, but also virtues.
In addition, it is very difficult for all our vital areas to be complete at all times. Sometimes we will have a partner, but will be unemployed. Others will have health but not money. Try to make sure what you lack does not cloud the joy you feel for what you do have.
How do we measure the value of a person? Is it possible? Is the most handsome person worth more? Or is someone worth more if they have professional success?
It is impossible to measure a human being. People are simple beings, each with their abilities and qualities, but none superior or inferior to another. We are valid – not valuable – for many things and there are plenty of reasons to love us. We even hold in our hands the ability to generate even more reasons.
Every day you get up, you have to tell yourself that you’re going to decide to love yourself regardless of how your day goes.
If you are able to achieve it, to love yourself despite your faults or your disagreements, you will not need the “extra” love that someone else gives you. You choose the other person, in freedom, because you want to be with them, because life at their side is better. If you love yourself, you will appreciate the love of others, but you will not need it.
You will not choose your partner based on a need that corresponds to a hole you feel. In turn, this will inevitably cause that person to feel at ease with you, and the relationship becomes an extra source of well-being.