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In case you need a reminder: You should be loved, despite your lack of self-love.

Why are we force-fed the idea that no one can be loved until they love themselves? It’s a haunting, quasi encouraging mantra somewhat derived from the law of attraction. Commonly, it promotes the idea of self-love. However, the statement may sting someone who hasn’t yet grasped the ability to love themselves.

Although good intentions and helpfulness lace this phrase, to a hurting depressive with low self-esteem, it could be quite piercing.  To those who suffered bullying or people with wrecked childhoods, those scary words might confirm their belief that they are not worthy of love because of their inability to see themselves as lovable.

While the phrase may ring true for some, love is not a one situation fits all ideal. It should not be conditional in that way. Why is it necessary to love oneself before (or synchronously with) learning to love someone else?  Why can’t a friend or partner show the person what love is for the first time? Are these things not realistic for a person that does not yet ooze self-love or radiate confidence?

This doesn’t mean that one should seek validity from someone else. However, people who struggle with loving themselves can benefit from seeing themselves through another lens. They can gain a different perspective other than the voice inside their head or the sight they see in the mirror (which may not be the way the outside world views them anyway). People should never underestimate the difference their words or actions can make to someone else.

Do not for a moment get me wrong; self-love IS necessary.

Definitely, everyone should strive to achieve self-love. However, it is problematic to assume that when and only when people love themselves, they are able to find or accept love. For some, this mantra only further confirms the feeling of unworthiness and isolation.

Not every relationship with a person who isn’t confident and self-loving is toxic. Everyone deserves friendship and other positive relationships. We are social creatures, and as such, we need other people for lessons, companionship, and love. It is unfair to say that a person will not experience love despite any circumstances they might have endured to make them not see the good in themselves. That statement is far too generalized and broad.

While the message is not intentionally damaging, depending on who the receiver is, it may be.  A reasonable alternative to that statement is to simply encourage self-love, self-care and have empathy, but more importantly, show love.

Demonstrating love and treating people with kindness, respect, and appreciation (which are all facets of love) can change the dynamic of what love is for some people, and it could lead the way for them to begin loving themselves.

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