On Self-Love: The Importance of Phrasing (A pre-Valentine’s Day Musing)

I really dislike the phrase “you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself.” Since when are loving one person and disliking another mutually exclusive from one another? That second person being oneself certainly complicates things a bit, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s entirely possible to love someone while disliking your own person. Whether it’s healthy is another matter entirely, but the fact of the matter is that the possibility exists and spreading the myth to the contrary is problematic and quite frankly damaging.

This line of thinking — that those who don’t love themselves cannot be in love — signals to someone who already thinks themself unloveable that they are also incapable of love, and thus even if they find someone who claims to love them they are incapable of returning that love and thus even more unworthy.

Furthermore, the message that one has to unapologetically love themself in order to be loved, that confidence is mandatory, is toxic. Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for self-confidence, all about self-love, living your truth, and being the best you that you can be. But no one is going to feel that all the time, and to demand it as a bar to entry before being allowed into the “real love” club is ridiculous, unfair, and cruel. I know that people mean well. I know that for many people when they say “you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself” the message they are sending is “it’s hard to feel loved when you don’t love yourself, so you’ll accidentally sabotage your relationship out of self-hatred” or even “once you love yourself people will be falling over themselves to love you.” But the message I’ve received for nearly 23 years now has been “if you don’t love yourself than no one will ever love you.” And that? That is devastating, and was particularly so as a teenager, watching the world gearing up toward Valentine’s Day each year, wondering if I’d ever love myself enough for anyone to love me.

And the thing is that conveying the true sentiment that I think people are trying to get across is not that hard when we spell things out and explain what we mean deliberately, but there is so much pressure to be quippy and memorable that sometimes I think we don’t always think about what the deeper message is. Language is complex and dynamic, and has consequences and ramifications that we might not always expect and that will certainly ripple out in ways that we cannot predict.

So let’s pay attention to how we say things, yeah?

Cheers,

Talia

Note: If you’d like another take on this subject I recommend this brief article from the online Psychology Today, published back in 2015, which discusses the matter of happiness and self-love.

Advertisements

1 thought on “On Self-Love: The Importance of Phrasing (A pre-Valentine’s Day Musing)

  1. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back often!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Elodie Under Glass

in vitro veritas: science, feminism and the media

Dobby's Sox

The Boston Area Chapter of The Harry Potter Alliance

SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

ΕΥΔΟΞΑ ΑΓΝΩΣΤΑ ΚΑΤΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΑ

We Are Star Stuff

A blog about mythology, the stars, and the new mythology, comics.

READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA

Book reviews with an Asian Americanist lens

The Green Wolf

Artist & Author Lupa

The Druid's Garden

Spiritual Journeys in Tending the Land, Permaculture, Wildcrafting, and Regenerative Living

Love, Seamus

Dear reader, It’s me! Seamus. I am here to vent to you about my day or teach you a lesson! Enjoy your day. Love, Seamus

The Nerds of Color

Pop Culture with a Different Perspective

LeadVonE

The Official Website of Talia Franks

Crustimoney Proseedcake

The Official Website of Talia Franks

Escape Velocities

The only way out is through

Word-for-Sense and Other Stories

The Official Website of Talia Franks

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close