Know Thyself. Love Thyself?

Know Thyself Love Thyself pic

I follow a series of motivational Instagram accounts – some of them “fitsporational” and some spiritually/philosophically motivating. It sounds silly, but I guess you might consider this my version of sticking Post-It notes to my mirror every day.

Some of my favorite ones that I have saved include…

– “If the whole world was blind, how many people would you impress?”

– “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

– “Is ‘fat’ really the worst things a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive,’ ‘jealous,’ ‘shallow,’ ‘vain,’ ‘boring,’ or ‘cruel’?”

You know, nice little inspirational messages. But multiple times have I come across this classic line: “No one is going to love you if you don’t learn to love yourself.”

I’m sorry, what?

The whole “No one will ever love you until you learn to love yourself” line of thinking is – for lack of better word – complete and utter crap. It’s a completely idealistic concept, because who really loves themselves all the time? Confidence is one thing, but frankly I get tired of being around people who take on the air of never making a mistake. #flawless? Please. All the best people I know are flawed in one way or another.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a guy (yes, I suppose it must have been THAT kind of “talking,” whatever that means exactly). The discourse ended rather abruptly when he said something along the lines of not really being interested in friendships or other relationships with people who aren’t confident in themselves, and sharing that confidence with the world! The abrupt end, I should mention, was on my part.

Yeah yeah, you can tell me that I was/am easily offended, if that comment is what set me off, but I stand my ground.

I’ll be candid. I don’t love myself. I’ve always dislike my nose, I can never fully enjoy dessert because of those last tricky pounds I’m always battling, and I would love to be one of those girls who manages NOT to look like Gollum without any makeup. Haha. Moving from the exterior, it takes ages for me to open up to anyone, and if I ever do, there’s this lingering fear that the other party won’t react positively. ButI won’t pretend to be something the world tells me I should be.

I’ll stop there, because the point is, I might never come close to the point of loving myself, and it’s not fair that that should be the criteria for someone else being “allowed” to love you. Aren’t the people who lack the most [self] love the ones in greatest need of it?

Also, it’s really rather selfish to mandate that someone love themselves first. What’s the point of that? Are we so afraid of even entertaining the possibility of having to put more “work” into the relationship (or whatever you want to label it) because the other party isn’t used to receiving love anything past what they think they deserve (Perks of Being a Wallflower, anyone?)?

I came across this wonderful article from the Thought Catalogue, called “What It’s Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression.” But you don’t have to be depressed (or have been depressed at one point) to relate. You can even replace the words “depressed” or “mental illness” with “insecurity.” Here are some of my favorite tidbits:

“Never let anyone tell you that you are not worth being loved if you don’t love yourself. Never let anyone tell you that your mental illness is the reason why you are not in a relationship. Never let anyone tell you that you should smile more, fix your hair, or wear more color. Never let anyone makes you feel bad about what you can’t always control.”

Though it may be with good intent that someone pats your shoulder while saying, “Oh honey, you gotta love yourself first if you ever want to be loved,” the statement in itself is a sort of paradox. A cruel, nonsensical paradox.

I don’t want to love myself because of this notion that that’s the only way I can garner others’ affection. I want to love myself so that I won’t need anyone to.

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