I’ve written articles, blog posts, newsletters and alike about, among other things; relationship communication (Love Languages), losing ‘desire’, open relationships (ethical non-monogamy), etc., but one thing underlies all this advice…
“You will not, and can not, love another person until you truly love yourself.”
This is a very big ‘blanket statement’ that covers everybody in the world in one statement.. And if we think about it logically, how many people actually love themselves truly, 100% of the time, every minute of every day?
Well, nobody, of course… except maybe budhist monks that have been working on it for a thousand years, Gandhi, or mother teresa .. and of course Donald Trump 😂 LOL (I’m just joking people, that’s what politicians are there for 🤪)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, truly loving myself…
The problem is that the ‘quote’ injects fear into some people (or at least self-doubt), and they get defensive, and defense is not the way forward. The quote also sets an ‘unachievable goal’ of perfection. So you feel bad about yourself every time you have a single negative thought or negative internal dialogue. So it creates a downward spiral. In other words, this quote isn’t helping you, it’s reinforcing your negative self-talk, and adding to it. The way forward is to build bridges to your inner self.
So the reality must be a little more nuanced than that, it must be that we can love other people without being “perfect”, but that probably, we should try to reduce the amount of time we use on self-doubt, negative introspection, and other stressful emotions.
But the idea that you have to fully love yourself before loving someone else is not 100% true.
#LoveYourself … at least a decent amount.
However, if you fake it, you won’t make it. You can’t just ‘look confident’ on the outside, without actually having real self-esteem on the inside. Without self-esteem, your love for that person will die after 6 months to 3 years. It’ll fade away. You’ll get bored, you’ll find faults with them, or the lust, desire and passion you had for them in the beginning just won’t be there. (And you’ll be left wondering ‘Why?!!!’)… at least this is according to the science of love; the chemicals that cause you to be “IN love” last about 6 months to 3 years – Phenethylamine, Dopamine and Noradrenaline. And unless you start producing Oxytocin (the love drug, the cuddling drug) then your love will die.
There are two very important points to mention, before we go deeper into Very few people are 100% truly loving themselves every minute of every minute of every day. But as long as you’re not hating yourself, or hiding behind a wall of fake self confidence the majority of the time, then you can love someone somewhat… maybe love them enough?
And how do you define enough? It’s about nuances. Wouldn’t it be advisable (for their benefit AND YOURS) to be your own best friend a little more of the time? And not be so hard on yourself? If you want the capacity to love others more, one way might be to remove significant self-doubt, by loving yourself more.
How do I know this? …. Well, in addition to my formal education, personal coaching, life-style coaching experience, mentorship experience etc … I’øve kinda “Been there, done that…” (and fixed it, and still developing myself, as you should be too 😊 )
There can be many many many reasons WHY you doubt yourself sometimes, or why your self-talk is negative some or most of the time. (Occasional self doubt is fine, but if it’s often and deep, then it’s probably not that healthy).
It could be you never developed self-esteem as a young child (lacking genuine unconditional love from your parents), or you were abused by someone, or you had trauma, or it can come later in life with stress, a previous divorce, sickness/Ill-health etc. In my case it all started with back pain. Yeah, sounds like nothing, I know. But 7 years of intolerable excruciating back pain… never ending sleepless nights, night after night, and ultimately the loss of my identity, and i was forced to completely reinvent myself… which turned out well… but that’s another story, coming to a blog post near you sometime soon…
So how do our negative emotions display themselves? Well, externally, we show them to others, among other things, as anger, irritation, coldness, remoteness, blame, etc. And internally, most negative emotions can be observed (by oneself) as negative ‘self-talk’. (the dialogue you have in your head with yourself; your inner voice.)
Maybe you and your partner have been misunderstanding each other for years? Maybe your last fight was because you didn’t see their signs of ‘showing love’, and/or they didn’t see yours..
It can be a long process to learn to truly love yourself, it takes a bit of work each day, and some discipline. But it is possible, but it’s not easy… especially if you try to do it alone, without someone that knows how to support your journey and guide you in the right direction.(either a smart partner, or a professional). Some people never manage it, and they live their whole life in various degrees of mental pain, and discomfort. They never find the right person, and they never enjoy just “being”.
That’s quite a hard concept to grasp: “ Just be “. How can a human being just be?
Throughout school, and career, we are told to evaluate, judge, reflect, etc; At school we are tested, judged, put into boxes and categories as to how good we are, or are not. At work we are assessed on what we do and thus determined what our salary will be. Our inner-self is constantly under attack. We are constantly compared to other people. …
AND THEN CAME SOCIAL MEDIA…
Likes, shares and comments. Every post we make is evaluated, and for some people (most people), especially young people, it becomes their self-worth. This as everyone knows is a growing problem. The western world is teaching the next generations to value these things above human values, and it affects us mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
So how can we ‘just be’?
What I’ve learnt through the years is that there is no ‘right way’ (but you’ve heard this before, right?) . There is only ‘your way’. Many people find solace in working scientifically through confidence-building tasks, and worksheets, some use mantras and affirmations, some people radically change their life-style, some people throw themselves into sport, and some people discover God. Others just accept it and continue to be in pain, lashing out at others and causing more pain, distancing others and having crappy relationships and friendships… For me, it was a combination of meditation classes, and discovering spirituality. I also changed the people i surrounded myself with, i literally removed the negative people from my life and i do not have contact with them any more. And then ‘peace’ found me. But your journey will be completely different.
The essential question is; Is your relationship being affected by your lack of self-esteem? Or fear of commitment, aversion to real closeness or some other artefact left over from your parents upbringing, however good it might have been?
… or is your relationship being affected by your partners lack of self-esteem? Or is your relationship being affected by your negative self-talk, inner dialogue or negative perception of yourself? 🤔
If the answer to this question is either: “Yes”, “Maybe”, or “I don’t know”. Then click here for a free discovery call and let’s have a chat about your situation.
We can discover how we together can improve your relationship and I can guide you through the difficulties of “learning to be your own best friend”, and not unknowingly reject your partner, and destroy intimacy in “everyday” situations.
(and YES! It may be possible to fix this with “one-person therapy” (i.e. not involving your partner).
Let’s love better, ❤️
Sex & Relationship Coach