We cannot love others until we love ourselves
If you struggle with loving yourself, you cannot have a healthy relationship with others. We cannot love anyone else, or offer ourselves up for love, without first showing ourselves that compassion, and filling our own needs.
But sometimes it’s really hard to foster self-love. What comes more easily, at times, is self-criticism, self-doubt, lowered self esteem.
So first, we must become aware of the thoughts and words — to ourselves. Because the things we tell ourselves have even more impact than the things others say to us.
But sometimes even loving ourselves is hard.
And when it feels difficult, sometimes the first step that makes more sense is liking ourselves — accepting and showing ourselves compassion.
What we crave most from others is actually what we need to be giving ourselves.
Lauren Barber wrote,
“If you are in a place of self-loathing and self-hatred right now… don’t pressure yourself into unconditional love, because the very fact you can’t force it upon yourself will only frustrate and hurt you more.
If you put too much emphasis on love right now, you will simply end up suppressing the intense resistance that comes up and burying it deep within, only for it to rear its ugly head at a later date. Liking you right now feels a little more attainable than love.”
Demonstrate self-acceptance (i.e., self-compassion)
“Accepting where we are right now is absolutely imperative in our quest for self-like… If you don’t accept yourself now, you still won’t accept yourself when you do get the ideal job/dream body/loving partner/lottery.
Accepting that where you are right now is okay is incredibly powerful and an integral part of learning to like yourself. You don’t have to love where you are; you just have to be okay with it as a starting point.
That doesn’t mean you have to stop striving for more in your life. But if you can like the place you are in now, then you are far more likely to love the way your life evolves.”
Richelle Ludwig wrote,
“For example; instead of saying, ‘I love my body,’ say, ‘I am working toward accepting, loving, and honoring my body.’ It’s much easier to believe this when you are in the process of getting there.”
Love and accept everything — not just the physical, but the emotional.
Accept yourself as a whole person, and accept without criticism. This does mean accepting things as “flaws” or “darkness” — on the contrary, compassion means acceptance without casting judgment. There is no “flaw” or “darkness” — your anxieties, insecurities, doubts, disgust, disappointment, envy — etc. None of it is “bad.” It merely is. And self-love means you regard it without judgement. Moving on.
Self love starts with self-like, and self-like means acceptance, compassion; letting yourself be without disclaimers or stipulations, watching with amused interest in the way we would watch anything in life unfold, without projection or attempts to control, merely appreciation and kindness.