Social Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

"You can't love another until you love yourself." I think this cliche is bunk. What do you think?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (35794points) March 30th, 2010
47 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

In my experience, learning to reach out and help others taught me to nurture myself. I first had to learn the value of my fellows and give of myself freely for their welfare before I began to gain enough self-esteem to say that I loved myself.

What has helped you to nurture and value yourself?

Is “loving self first” just selfishness and pride?

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Captain_Fantasy's avatar

People who don’t love themselves have trouble with relationships and then go to to tell everyone about it.
I think that saying has truth. You can’t be in a healthy relationship without good self esteem.

dpworkin's avatar

How are we defining love? Eros? Agape? Philia? Storge? It makes a difference.

TheOnlyException's avatar

Considering i recently gave it as advice to someone on here, i think it has truth to it. If you are unable to see yourself as a wonderful person and carry yourself with confidence, you will be so caught up in your own self-image/esteem that you will not have peace of mind to love someone else.

TheOnlyException's avatar

@dpworkin you make a good point. Lets just go with Agape although they most likely mean eros

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@dpworkin : my dictionary says that love is “an intense feeling of deep affection.”

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think “loving yourself” is equivalent to narcissism. So does that mean to avoid being a narcissist, you have to have low self-esteem and feel bad about yourself? I think it just means to have confidence in yourself and accept who you are. That I think will help any relationship.

Kraigmo's avatar

Love transcends dimensions. It transcends good and bad, right and wrong, and 3-D life on Earth. It is a cord back to creation when the single mind became many. And so, since there is no difference between Myself and Other at creation, the pureness of love has no boundaries between Self and Other. And so, the trite little saying is true, but not in the way it is sometimes meant. You can’t love another till you love your self. And you cannot love your self till you love another. Love just happens, and when it does, it includes the source and object with no boundary between the two or more.

escapedone7's avatar

Sometimes you can give someone something but they just refuse or can’t receive the gift. Giving a person with self-esteem issues a compliment is a good example. You can compliment someone who truly believes they are ugly, and tell them how nice looking they are . If they cannot believe the compliment they will never receive it. They might argue openly, or simply pretend to accept it by thanking you but never believe you are sincere. The compliment is never accepted and fully received, but rejected in their mind.

Someone has to believe that someone can love them, that there is something worth loving, before they can open up and receive the gift of love. Otherwise they shut it out and never fully feel loved. They feel used, or lied to, or in jeopardy of losing that person once they “wake up and smell the coffee”, as if the love is just an illusion or a dream that can pop at any moment when the lover sees them for ‘what they are”.

You have to be open enough to receive the gift.

CMaz's avatar

Not bunk, good stuff.

ThrallKiller's avatar

@escapedone7 Absolutely correct! My wife sometimes has a hard time accepting compliments because of people in her past, but she’s so much better with it than she used to be.

I think it’s true that you do have to hold a degree of self respect and love before you can truly function in a relationship, platonic or otherwise. You have to feel comfortable with yourself and appreciate yourself, otherwise you will always doubt what people say to you, and you will never be able to fully give of yourself to others. It’s like, if you don’t love yourself, you’re always going to hold a part of yourself back from other people because you have a fear of your love not being reciprocated.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

how one resonates within, will be what they experience.
they will see what they believe, not necessarily what is out there.
it’s magic!

lilikoi's avatar

That it is a cliche because it is true.

marinelife's avatar

It is a truism.

gemiwing's avatar

It depends on the person. Some people don’t love themselves, others only love themselves. For the former- this saying works.

Not everyone likes chocolate cake, we’ll all different so one saying won’t apply for all. Especially a watered-down therapy meme.

nebule's avatar

no not bunk… otherwise there is always a tendency to drift into co-dependency

whyigottajoin's avatar

@dpworkin Those sound like lubricants or something!
I always use Eros, the one that’s common in the porn-industry, lol.

davidbetterman's avatar

It’s a fact. if you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others.

If you hold secret grudges and negativity for others, you cannot love others.

Good Luck working it out!

Rangie's avatar

NO, not bunk. But, what constitutes loving oneself? What do you need to do before you can love yourself? I believe first of all you must know what your morals are, and what your ethics are, before you can even begin to know who you are. We don’t fall in love with someone we never met, or know anything about. So, you must find out just who you are, before you can either dislike, like or love yourself. Personally I not only need to know me, I need to stay true to me, before I can love or be true to anyone else. What I think of myself, counts mountains to me.

lonelydragon's avatar

At one time, I would’ve agreed with you, but now I believe in the adage. If a person has low self-esteem, s/he will have trouble accepting love from others. S/he will believe that s/he does not deserve love. Furthermore, s/he will mistrust that love, because s/he will imagine that others share his/her negative opinion of his/herself (sorry for the confusing gender pronouns). This relationship dynamic has certainly held true for me. When I feel down on myself, it’s harder to be kind and loving to others.

MacBean's avatar

Total crap. I hate myself but I’m very loving toward others.

phillis's avatar

For me, the best illustration is a circle. It has no beginning, and no end. You can start by loving others OR yourself. It all leads to the same place. No matter where you start, you KNOW that you worked for the good things that are being returned to you. Those things wouldn’t be there had you not earned them because there are no free rides. People can’t carry your dead weight and carry thier own, too. It doens’t matter where you start, but ya gotta start somewhere, because the only way you can feel loving and loved is to be in the game. Like the song says…....

Nobody’s gonna lift you up to bring you into the light where you belong.

skfinkel's avatar

It’s true.

ChaosCross's avatar

It can have some truth to it, but in the most part it is false.

Have you ever seen people with emotional disorders rant on and on about how they love something or someone? Technically that is what the cliche is talking about, thus proving it untrue lol.


CMaz's avatar

“Have you ever seen people with emotional disorders rant on and on about how they love something or someone? ”

Yes, and they are confused.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m with the “it’s nonsense” crowd.

I never felt very good about myself, but my love has meant a lot to other people.

Pandora's avatar

I think it has more to do with self respect. If you don’t respect yourself others will see it and either be repelled by it or use it to their benefit regardless of how it makes you feel. With self respect, or self esteem, you are more likely to exude confidence. Most people with good self esteem are attracted to confident people. Those who are attracted to people with low self esteem either have a savior complex, or want to use that person or is attracted to them because they have even lower self esteem and they feel only this person would understand. So its not to say that people with low self esteem can’t be loved. There will always be a family member who loves them, but when you have low self esteem you may even begin to question why other people love you since you have no real love for yourself and eventually they get tired of being questioned and give up.

Fenris's avatar

I hate myself, and women don’t really seem to take much romantic or sexual interest in me. I’d say it’s not bunk. You have to be able to take care of yourself before you take care of others, and that includes emotional health.

CMaz's avatar

Let’s reword this…

If you do not understand love, how do you expect to find it?

Sophief's avatar

I love someone and hate myself. I would never love myself, nor would never want to.

Just_Justine's avatar

I am going to be simple here, I am tired today. But to me it is a bit like asking yourself, would you date yourself? If the answer is no, then I reckon one has a bit of work to do on oneself.

Sophief's avatar

@Just_Justine Would anyone really want to date themselves though?

CMaz's avatar

It sounds creepy, but you should be able to.

Sophief's avatar

I can understand those people that really love themselves to the extent they think they are better than everyone. But there is no way I’d date me.

Just_Justine's avatar

@Dibley the point is, when I ask that, I am really asking if I am good relationship material. Like for example I have “moods” would I date a person with moods? No I would not. Part of loving oneself is growing, and understanding oneself. It has nothing to do with “thinking you are above anyone” it is about being the best person you can be .. to yourself.

CMaz's avatar

@Dibley – SO you would not like someone that likes the same things you do. Understands your humor and you.

Has the same values, working with you in unisense to get through the day and life?

Sophief's avatar

@ChazMaz Well yes, I just wouldn’t want to sit and look at me all evening!

Just_Justine's avatar

@Dibley we are talking personal qualities here, not just can’t keep negating yourself and idolizing another. It’s just not quite balanced.

Fenris's avatar

@Just_Justine : From what I’ve seen there ain’t all that much balance to go around.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Respect makes more sense to me than love. Loving myself seems a little narcissistic. if i could spell it would help.

phillis's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Screw the spelling. Everybody understands what you mean :)

Though most would agree that respecting yourself and loving yourself are different things, the point is that you have to come out of yourself and go beyond what your perceived boundaries are if you plan to accomplish either of them. And this is where people get confused.

Just because you are born doesn’t mean you are entitled to a life filled with love, nor does it mean that you will be born to two people who love you. It was simply a biological event. What you make of that event is reflected in the decisions you make and the quality of your life. Love is free, monetarily speaking, so the only thing separating you from love is you.

You have to decide for yourself whether you even want love. If living without it is paying off for you in spades, then don’t bother changing anything at all. Continuing in that same vein, you don’t get jack shit unless you work for it, and yes, that even includes love. Pissing and moaning about it satiates you temporarily, but does nothing to answer your long-term needs.

That’s why you end up running over the same old ground, year after year, until you entrench yourself in self-loathing. The damage was caused by YOU…....not the world, not the parents, not society, not anyone. If you view this with logic, what you’re doing clearly is not working for you. So, where does that leave us? If you think the idea of a lone figure fighing valiantly against the world is romantic enough to pursue, then don’t bitch that you don’t have love. In other words, take a look at your choices that prevent you from having it.

MacBean's avatar

Hm… Maybe I don’t really hate myself. I’d be friends with someone like me. I might even date them, since they’d know how and when to give me space. (And the genderqueer thing wouldn’t freak them out.) The trouble is, I’m not someone like me. I am me. So when I need a break from me, I can’t get one. As a result, most of the time I’d like to give myself a good solid punch in the head.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was wondering who would get the check if I’m dating myself?

downtide's avatar

I think it’s bunk too. I was able to love others for decades before I was able to even like myself.

Rangie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe “Though most would agree that respecting yourself”
You couldn’t have said better. Why can’t people understand that they have control over themselves? Their action, thoughts, deeds, love, etc. Why do so many choose to wallow in self pity and blame someone or something for things not going right for them. I CAN’T STAND THOSE KIND OF PEOPLE.

nebule's avatar

@benrangiedrewim some people just don’t have the capacity to stop wallowing in really isn’t as cut and dried as getting on with it I’m afraid.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s not bunk at all. But it takes a while to realize this.

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