“Nobody can love you until you love yourself”
The intent for this quote is pure and beautiful but it can keep us entrapped in a mental loop of self sabotage. It has been used so excessively, must we keep reiterating that we don’t love ourselves. I get that everyone interprets words in multiple ways, through their own lens, but it can imply that there is a magical moment where you love yourself enough to validate experiencing love from another. Or if you are struggling to find someone who loves you, it is because you aren’t doing a good enough job at loving yourself. Loving yourself before someone else can love you suggests we are not loveable as we are. What does loving yourself even look like as a finished product, what boxes must be ticked in order to bring in the love that you desire. You don’t wake up one morning feeling like ‘I love myself enough now, so now love will come to me’. Self love is a lifetime experience. There is no landmark that dictates when you have reached your final destination. There is no destination. I see enlightened folk as the only humans that feel self love to the core. So nobody can really love us until we’re enlightened? Let’s be realistic.
For years I let this type of thinking validate why I wasn’t ready for love, until I ‘healed’ all my ‘issues’. But there was no end point to the healing. Healing is just living and through living we work on discomfort as it arises. There are moments of pure love and perfection on the journey of self discovery but these are only temporary. Like temporary glimpses of heaven inside oneself. This affirmation just confirmed to myself that I wasn’t ready because I felt I had so much self help work to do. That I was still broken. This was covering up the pain that love wasn’t coming towards me, that love wasn’t sticking around, that deep love was rare and the journey towards it was going to be long. I avoided saying that I desired a relationship because I felt it was a contradiction to the spiritual path I was on, of trying to attain non attachment. But unless you’re a monk dedicating your life to meditation, then you will be attached to other beings, things, feelings. You will have bodily desires and you will feel pain. In being human, we feel. I believe that unless detachment arises naturally, then it can act as a mask to cover suppressed pain, emotion, or desire.
I have explored my inner world extensively, worshipped myself in self pleasure, traveled alone, taken myself on many dates, set boundaries etc, but you know the biggest thing I’ve learnt about self love that I didn’t read in articles or self help books; acknowledging that my desire to love and be loved by another, IS an act of self love. Opening my heart to be loved by a partner is a byproduct of loving myself. I never thought I would seek a relationship. I was so afraid of losing my freedom, and more importantly losing my identity. I used to think this desire was an act of weakness. So acknowledging this was a struggle for me. It broke the mould that I had created for myself. I had to get vulnerable with myself first and foremost. I couldn’t say it to my friends without smiling or laughing because I felt so much shame in it. As if saying that I wanted a partner meant that I was no longer strong or independent, or that I felt lonely, which I thought was pathetic. It meant that I wasn’t a strong self sufficient woman if I wanted to experience deep love with a man. This is how I viewed and judged myself. And the quote “nobody can love you until you love yourself” just supported this thinking. Now I own my desire of wanting a relationship and give voice to my hearts desires. I see it as such an innocent basic need to love and be loved. Like a child wanting to eat and share their favourite food, we have a natural desire to share the love that exists inside of us. Babies die without human touch, this shows the level of importance that connection is for a human. And it’s ok, we came here to be human.
So I call bullshit on being your own everything. Receiving love and being open to love could be one of the hardest things to accept if loving yourself is difficult. So letting someone into your heart, letting them love you, especially when you can’t love yourself, is an act of self love. It is acknowledging your own worthiness to receive love regardless of how ‘broken’ you are. It is part of the general human experience to seek love and connection through friends and romantic partners. There should be no shame in this. It is ok to want a life of solitude and it is equally ok to want companionship and romance. Never deny your need for intimacy. Be ok with your so called ‘neediness’. There is freedom in owning your human desires. I believe we can still fill our own cup whilst being held in love by another. It’s important to be aware when we are coming from a needy or codependent place in regards to wanting love but it’s equally important to realise how love from another and loving another can help us on our path to loving ourselves more deeply. Loving yourself fully takes time, and it’s ok to walk this path with someone by your side. Being able to express love into another allows you to witness the love that exists within you, in the same way we do to a pet, our family and friends, without it effecting the love that we express to ourselves.
I’ve discovered that my heart is tender, that I’m deeply romantic in how I view life, and that I love love. This was a transition of coming out of my ‘I can do it myself’ masculine and into my deeply soft and fragile feminine. I’ve proved that I can do life on my own, but I choose not to now. Now I’m tired, I’m tired of being tough, I’m tired of trying to prove to myself that I am capable, that I need to be alone to work on me. I want to melt in the arms of a masculine, not because I can’t live without them but because I am worthy, even as a ‘broken’ human, and even as I am still actively learning how to love myself fully. This has been my medicine.