I have never heard anyone challenge the following saying before. But whenever I hear it, it has always bothered me.
We often hear that, ” In order to love someone else, we must first love ourselves.”
I think when someone truly loves us and we are able to love them back, it helps us to learn to love ourselves. Because how do we learn to love ourselves in the first place?
As a child, we learn to love ourselves by being loved by our parents. It is in experiencing their love, we learn that we are lovable and therefore learn that we have value. From this consistent love, we learn to love ourselves. It is from being loved that we learn to love.
So this statement confuses me. We don’t learn love in isolation, alone! Not as children or as adults.
When we don’t receive this love from our parents, I believe we still learn it first externally (outside of ourselves) through receiving and giving love back in return. Either way, we learn to love ourselves through connection not in isolation.
Please don’t leave those of us who never experienced love as a child alone to find our own value and worth. Sometimes something as simple as looking someone in the eyes or a smile can convey so much.
I think the best we can do on our own is to be careful who we allow in our lives in the first place. We need to make sure they value us and know our worth and that they are worthy of our love. I believe that is the best we can do. But learning to love ourselves, I believe, comes from being loved.
I have always had as much a need to love as I have had a need to be loved. There is nothing better than being loved in return or having someone in your life that allows you to express your love for them. I believe this is what all of us really long for.
Almost every interaction we have in life is conveying the worth of another human being. For some of us, these interactions with others are the only reflection we will receive regarding our value or our worth.
The saying, “You must first learn to love yourself before you can love others” I believe is an impossible statement. It should state: “We learn to love ourselves from experiencing the love of others.”
It makes me sad to think those of us who were never cared for or loved as children are expected to learn to love ourselves on our own. The rest of you didn’t!