Someone sent me a query asking me “how to love yourself” and telling me about his lonely life in love-lacking misery accompanied with drug use and depression. We got on the you-must-love-yourself topic, whereby he declared his certainty of self-love. I said I’d write about it …
We don’t have to love ourselves 100% to love another person, but the degree to which we do love ourselves is the degree to which we can love another person. If we halfway love ourselves, then the other half is about neediness and attachment issues.
But, I would love her soooo much.
No, you would need her. For validation. Comfort. To avoid loneliness. To love your unloveable areas—the areas you don’t love about yourself.
Nonetheless, relationships are the greatest schools of life, especially intimate relationships, where we experience the most expectation and therefore disappointment and pain. Pain sucks when we’re in it, but it’s also an opportunity to grow—or go, as in move on!
If we learn within these relationships, they can lead to our greatest personal growth. If we use what we learn and take action, we build up emotional intelligence and, by default, learn how to love ourselves more.
When we love ourselves more, we’re emotionally healthier and therefore happier. When we’re happier, we’re more attractive to emotionally healthy partners.
You, the adult, wants to lose weight for health reasons, but you go to Fatburger and order $35 of pseudo food and eat it all.
Imagine you, the adult, forcing all that pseudo food into a child who does. not. want it. And for whom it’s not good. Is that loving?
You, the adult, wants to be loved, but you go to the bar with a bag of cocaine, get high and stand alone in the corner riddled with anxiety.
Imagine you, the adult, forcing that scenario―drugs, anxiety, loneliness―onto a child. Is that loving?
You, the adult, tell yourself that you’re useless, stupid, fat, weak, scared, a failure and so on.
Imagine you, the adult, saying that to a child. Is that loving?
You get the idea.
If we remember that we are the keepers—the responsible adults—of the emotionally damaged vulnerable inner child, we might start better self-care and truly learn to love ourselves.
How to love yourself starts with creating a new story—a story where we get to be the hero who saves ourselves from whatever horrors occurred in our lives.
Sometimes, when we think of taking care of ourselves in this seemingly third person way, it feels like we’re taking care of someone else. Someone who needs our help and can only be saved by us.
No one else is going to rescue us. We might as well do it ourselves.
Be the hero in your own story, and you’ll find that you not only love yourself, but you’ll have enough love to share. You can do it!
Vancouver Matchmaker and Dating, Love and Relationship Expert