What The Saying “You Can’t Love Another Until You Love Yourself” Actually Means & How it Should Be Interpreted
Be sure to also check out the video at the end too!!
I recently came across something on social media that got me thinking about this topic. Obviously this is something that is always on my mind, however, what came to my attention was the possibility of the saying (and others like it) being misinterpreted by some people. The post I saw was criticizing people that say things like this, so I have decided to write about what this saying actually means, what people are really trying to say when they say that you cannot find or have love until you first love yourself, to clear up the confusion.
Some people that disagree with this say that people should not think that they are not worthy of love if they do not love themselves – but here’s the kicker with this….telling yourself that you are NOT worthy of love, is NOT giving yourself love. So, for one to come to such conclusion would be inaccurate and the opposite of what people that say things like this are telling you to do. People are telling you to love yourself, so to respond or interpret it in a way that would say that you should tell yourself that you are unworthy of love or will never find love is the complete opposite of the intent, since it would not be self-loving to tell yourself these things. And other people say, “Well I have love, and I don’t love myself…so that saying is ‘totes wrong L0L.” (I really hope now that I have some videos out you guys get a sense of my [poor] humorous attempts).
We are not telling you that you are not worthy of having love in your life. We are not telling you that you will not and cannot find a partner to live your life with. We are not telling you that you will never find someone to be with.
What we are telling you is that you can not truly love another person until you love yourself and another person cannot truly love you unless they also love themselves. But what does this mean then exactly? Why does this confusion/misinterpretation happen? It’s all due to what the person hearing the sayings is determining/interpreting what the other person means when they say “love.”
When you do not first love yourself, when you are not your own source of happiness and your own source of self-esteem you DEPEND on someone else to give that to you in a relationship, which can lead to toxic relationships, unsuccessful relationships, and co-dependent relationships. Let me first say that not ALL technically co-dependent relationships should be viewed in a bad light i.e. not all are bound for failure or toxicity. If two people understand the others’ needs and they have the ability to communicate effectively and understand that they are not responsible for the other persons inner state of being, they can have successful relationships. However, it still does not change the fact that the relationship is still co-dependent to some degree. Plus, if you do not love yourself it is likely that you will not act like yourself (to a point) and in that case, who is the other person REALLY in love with then? As humans our imperfections are our perfection, and nobody is putting the burden of perfection in self love to you when they tell you this.
When people say these types of sayings, essentially what they are saying is that true pure love is without dependency and in order to find that kind of love, you first need to love yourself; otherwise, anything else is a co-dependent relationship and co-dependent love. Conditional love rather than unconditional love. An exchange of pure love with another person versus an exchange of “internal states of being.” In other words, “Hey I’ll give you some self esteem if you’ll be my source of happiness.”
When you tell yourself you are beautiful, you don’t depend on someone else to do it for you; and if your partner stops doing that one day, you won’t be affected by it because you are not co-dependent on the other person for self-esteem – you’ll be fine rather than deciding to look elsewhere (this is one of the things that leads to cheating). When you create your own happiness, you are not dependent on someone else to give you that happiness; what would happen if that person decided to leave the relationship? Ask yourself how do you know when someone else loves you, and ask yourself how you would feel if they stopped doing those things that make you feel loved by them?
Nobody is saying that you are not worthy of love – what people are saying is that in order to have a better chance at a healthy relationship based in pure love, you must first love yourself and be your own source of happiness and self esteem, etc., because if you are not, part of that love is conditional, part of that love is simply just an exchange of inner states of being i.e. “I’ll give you some self esteem if you give me some back using words of affirmation.” Ask yourself why you love the other person and if you could ever believe that they love you without whatever it is that they’re giving to you (five love languages).
A relationship is not going to make you truly and independently happy unless you first are happy within yourself, if you are not then the happiness you will have will be contingent upon another person. If you are not happy within your own self first, all it is is just “borrowed happiness” from the other person, like a vacuum sucking out the energy from one person and transferring it into another person. This is where clingy-ness stems from. Need is not love and you will also put up with a relationship that you think you deserve if you are not loving yourself. When you do this, you’re not being loving, you’re being dependent. Picture something like this, “I mean yeah he beats me on occasion but he also tells me how beautiful I am every single day, [and since I do not tell myself how beautiful I am and since I am not my own source of self-worth, I put up with the beatings and stay in this toxic situation because without it, I would have zero self-worth].”
When you require and depend on another to make you whole you give away your own power to them. Picture it like this, you have your own car and drive yourself to work, to the grocery store, to the doctor, all the places you need to go to in order to live your life. You are giving yourself your own means of transportation. What if you weren’t giving yourself this? What if you gave your car away to your partner? Now you are dependent on that other person (or someone else) for taking you to work, to the store, to the doctor. The moment that you depend on someone else for something you give your own power away over something to external sources, rather than keeping that power inside of yourself or first giving that power to yourself.
Ask yourself why you love this person, and ask yourself if you could ever believe that they love you without them giving you [fill in the blank] or doing [fill in the blank]. A healthy external relationship begins with a healthy relationship towards yourself and the understanding that you alone are responsible for your feelings, nobody else is.
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