Do You Really Need to Love Yourself First?

That’s the burning question many people had from my last article for the Huffington Post on self-esteem. Thanks to all who shared their stories, feedback, comments and insights. It inspired me to write this article. I know you’ve been told you need to love yourself first before you can love someone else. I disagree. Can love exist without self-love? Yes. Let me explain by asking you to ask yourself the following things:  
  1. Do you prioritize others over yourself?
  2. Do you tell yourself the truth?
  3. Do you accept the past or do you ruminate about it?
  4. Do you blame others (parents, ex-partner/spouse) for your past failures?
  5. Do you follow your gut the majority of the time?
  6. Do you carve out “me” time consistently?

Do you do any of these things and still want and find love? Of course you do. We all do. Does it stop us from loving others?

Still think you need to love yourself first? Ok, let’s look at the latest dating trend Benching. In this article, Jason Chen is writing about his experience with rejection and how common it is for people to start dating then blow them off and re-surface months later and resume dating again. So, he became a bench-warmer waiting to get picked; while the other person is dating other people. He’s wondering why he got blown off, but the person comes back and you give them a chance, right? What does this say about what people feel about themselves? Why do they allow it? Should you give people the benefit of the doubt? Sure. But, what’s the cut off? Should your ego, sense of self, or self-respect take a hit? And even when it does take a hit, don’t we still seek love? Isn’t that the opposite of loving yourself first?

What does it say about self-love? If you ask people do you love yourself, they’ll likely tell you yes.

Here’s my burning question: If you love yourself first, then what explains the faulty decision-making in relationships?

It’s not about self-love, it’s about self-awareness. I think that self-awareness PKNFYSTO4Eis one of the keys to our relationship decision-making process. When you’re self-aware and ask yourself the same above questions, you’ll find what you accept for yourself and what helps you decide on who, when, and how to love. The interesting part of self-awareness is that it becomes most challenged while you are in a relationship. 🙂 Have you ever realized that thing that s/he did that annoyed you triggered another aspect of you?

The heated you: It’s not about the toilet seat! It’s about you having no consideration for me whatsoever! 

Your inner voice: OMG! Who can’t put down a damn toilet seat?! I’m gonna be miserable the rest of my life putting up with this shit!

The over-reaction to a small thing triggered larger issues: lack of consideration and poor communication. The irony is that people become aware of the lack of self-love in relationship to others. 🙂 Self-love is cultivated over time. With each relationship we hope to get a better understanding of our needs and what we will seek out in the future. Our sense of self is challenged in each break-up because we’re trying to understand why it happened, why we allowed it to happen, or what was wrong with that person that they didn’t see the greatness in us. 🙂 Either way, we walk away wondering is this person kidding me with their bullshit behavior or was I kidding myself?


10 thoughts on “Do You Really Need to Love Yourself First?

  1. I really like the distinction here. I have numerous friends who are quite self-aware but not yet at the place of unflagging self love.
    I do think you can love someone else without loving yourself if you possess that awareness

    1. Thanks Carla! I really appreciate your kind words and compliment! It happens very often, but we are socialized to believe that the relationship failures that we’ve had can somehow be blamed on us. You didn’t love yourself first. That way it’s easy to never examine the patterns.

  2. Clarissa- I LOVE the title of your site. It is classic. Personally, I don’t know of anyone who is at peace with who they are. In today’s world there are so many detractors that loving yourself is an ideal. I do think it is possible to find love and have relationships without self love.

    1. Thanks so much Susan for your kind compliment and sharing your insights! I couldn’t agree with you more. In today’s over saturated look at me social networking and ego-validating world, it is even harder to cultivate self-love. But still is very important and why I don’t think it is a predictor in loving others. We’re observing and comparing more than in the past. People are voyeurs and saying why can’t this be me.

  3. Lack of self-love often leads to accepting bad behaviour from romantic partners. I think that self-awareness is necessary to see we deserve better (I love myself too much to tolerate that).

    1. So true, Marguerite! Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us! So glad to know you have higher standards for yourself. Too few do. What makes me laugh about bad behavior is that we reinforce and reward bad behavior, but say we don’t want it!

  4. Right On!!! I couldn’t agree more. Perfectly said and I dare someone to argue against it. Someone with a rational explanation. You are a such a good find Clarissa (as if you’re that bomb ass Marilyn Monroe cream colored beach sweater I found at The Goodwill years ago and still get asked where I got it, EXCEPT YOU ARE PRICELESS, I’d give the sweater away if I had to. You? Not a chance).
    P.S. My deal breaker used to be the toilet it sickens me and if you have any consideration, respect or genuinely care about me then this would show it. until I saw some men with great restroom behaviors had spent time in prison and the icky, messy ones treated me with affection and consideration more so. But I am not generalizing, it is my personal experiences. BHAHAHA!

    1. Thank you soooo much for the kind compliment! You just made my day! I really appreciate your kind words!

      lmao stop it! prison! it makes so much sense! 0 chance of rape 🙁 we have all of these scripts and lists of things we think are ideal, then we date it and find out that it’s not what we wanted after all.

      The truth is some of the key pain points in relationships are easily resolved with communication. All that happens is resentment on top of non-communicated feelings which=disgust after awhile :)

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