There is an old saying that goes “you have to love yourself first before someone else can love you”.
I heard that phrase a number of times being told to someone struggling to find love.
I was even told this exact phrase myself when I was perpetuating toxic relationship patterns in my life, not having a clue that the issue was me.
It sounds pretty simple yet I have seen so many contradictions to this saying that I had to dig deeper to find the true meaning and wisdom behind it.
I mean I always loved myself as far as I can remember yet I was not always loved by the people I came across in general and romantic partners in particular.
I also saw many toxic people (narcissists, sociopaths…etc) who clearly suffered from love deficiencies yet they were loved by other people…
And I don’t think that not loving oneself stops people from expecting to be loved by others, quite the opposite. I think that people who don’t love themselves enough are the ones looking for love from outside sources.
So is the saying true? What kind of love is this saying referring to? And how practically can loving oneself make someone else love you?
In this post, I am going to attempt to answer all these questions and give you my 2 cents on this topic.
We all have some degree of love for ourselves, and we were all meant to also be loved by other humans. These two sources of love can and are meant to coexist, but self-love has to predominate over every other source of love.
My point is, the saying “you have to love yourself first before someone else can love you” is true and accurate but it is also incomplete, but one should love oneself above all in order for others to love you.
The key point is to love oneself above and beyond any other person in the world.
Here is why:
1: When you don’t love yourself more than anyone else, you will seek love from other people.
It is not the fact that you love or you don’t love yourself that makes you seek external sources of love, it’s more about how self-sufficient you are with your own self-love.
When you don’t love yourself enough, you need to compensate with external love.
And when you are seeking love from external sources, you put yourself in the weak position of depending on their love and approval to you.
What is the problem with that if these people overflow you with love?
Well first of all, people are unpredictable when it comes to love matters because their feelings are rarely constant and they can have their own doubts and be victim of their own demons.
People can very well love you now but things can easily change with time.
Second, people can sense when your emotional well being depends upon how much love they give you, and this naturally causes them to love you less, because now they feel they have to give you the love you need and so loving you feels like work and becomes a burden.
2: When you love yourself more than anyone else, you only let people who genuinely love you in your life
The first thing you need to understand is that you are not meant to be loved by everybody. Some people will simply never love you no matter how nice, good looking, accomplished and smart you are…
So what happens when you love yourself so much more than anybody else?
When your love for yourself is so big, you allow yourself to have standards and enforce them upon yourself and others when you encounter such people.
When you love yourself so much, you actually believe that you deserve nothing less than your standards and you just get turned off by anyone who offers you less. So people who don’t love you don’t get even a chance to be in your life more than necessary and this leaves the space for the right people to enter your life.
I turned my whole life around when I understood this very simple concept.
Like anything worth pursuing in life, It takes time to meet the right people and you will encounter many wrong people before this happens…it’s a numbers game in which you always win if you are patient.
Of course, you should not be in the wrong relationship in the first place, but sometimes you have to make the mistakes in order to learn your lesson and finally get what you really deserve.
So loving oneself doesn’t always make people love you but what it does is it only allows the ones who really love you and filters out the ones who were never meant to love you.