Self Love

three-bears

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!

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15 thoughts on “Self Love

    1. I don’t believe we can make anyone love us. I do believe we need to be kind and loving in order to find love in this world, even when we have been abused. That definitely is a given. Here I was only addressing the concept of learning to love ourselves fully without experiencing being loved. Thank you!

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      1. We flip the coin and witness only one side.. that doesn’t mean the other side has no existence.. Clashing thoughts, views, perspectives is a natural phenomena.. And yes I agree we should love ourself fully even if no body else do that.. And I hope this concept goes in every mind..

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  1. I’ve always hated that saying. It just never made much sense to me, for the reasons you stated, and because I love others so completely, yet hate myself. So does that mean that the love I feel for others is fake, because I’m not able to love myself? I don’t think so. So I’m with you on this. 🙂

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    1. Very well said! It is amazing that we do have the capacity to love after abuse. Even when we don’t love ourselves. It is absolutely amazing! And yes, the love we feel for others is VERY real! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. Awesome post!!! I will challenge that statement since you said you hadn’t heard anyone ever challenge it…other than you!!! I did not love myself. Yet I had great capability to love others. I had the deep capability to love others and yet did not love myself. I don’t know how I feel about myself. Il like myself. I Like my morals and values and integrity and kindness. I don’t know the amount of love I feel for myself but it is an odd concept for me. I know what it feels like to be loved because of the love I feel from my daughter and my husband. I feel their love inside my heart. Such a thought provoking post!

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  3. This never occurred to me that this could be part (all?) of my problem. I do not love myself. I don’t really like myself all that much either. How could I when no one else does….at least the most significant people in my life…my parents, husband, siblings. In fact, it’s weird to be loved. I don’t know how to be loved either or how to receive it on a deep level where I actually feel it as well. It is VERY foreign to me.

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    1. These are all feelings shared by those who have been abused. Which makes this quote / comment hard and painful to hear. Too many of us were not loved as children and have lost our whole family. Some of us friends, our community, marriages, and our children. When you lose everything, it is hard to feel as though you have value even when faced with the love of someone else. It is very hard to take in. When you lose those you loved and those who should have loved you, love is scary and to us equals pain and loss and betrayal. I don’t know how much love it will take to correct such wrongs! Being loved should heal us, and we need it. But it also comes with a great deal of fear and pain. This is one reason why abuse is not just an event in a child’s life, but rather the taking of their life. Living with the aftermath is extremely painful, it is excruciating how lonely of a walk it is. And I am so sorry for all that you have had to endure. Please know that you are not alone in how you feel or your reactions to all that happened to you!

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