Don't Say 'No One Will Love You Until You Love Yourself'
I suspect all of us have heard someone say, "No one will love you until you love yourself." It's one of those quaint pieces of advice that people give so often that it shines with the veneer of truth. But I'm here to tell you it isn't true and, in fact, it's cruel to tell people that. I'm aware that people are trying to help, but "no one will ever love you until you love yourself" does just the opposite.
'No One Will Love You Until You Love Yourself' Is False
A lack of self-love is a problem for many people, and it can take years to recognize that issue and deal with it. Many, many people are walking around, all over the world, without a high degree (or any) of self-love. And some of those people are in loving, healthy relationships. Not only does someone else love them, but they, too, love someone else. Love can grow almost anywhere, and there are very few prerequisites for love. Certainly, loving yourself is not one of them.
Why People Say 'No One Will Love You Until You Love Yourself'
I think saying that no one will ever love you until you love yourself is supposed to be encouraging. I think it's supposed to motivate people to look at themselves first and work on their self-love first before looking to someone else. I think it's supposed to place great importance on self-love. It's a pithy thing that we all picked up somewhere and is as easy to hand out as candy and just about as useful.
I would suggest this is the wrong kind of attempt at motivation. This kind of motivation will rot your teeth.
The Problem with Saying 'No One Will Love You Until You Love Yourself'
The problem with saying no one will love you until you love yourself is that it tells people that they are intrinsically flawed as they are and, because of that, are unlovable. Do people really think giving the message to others that they are flawed and unlovable is beneficial in some way? It's not.
Pithy is rarely helpful. Pithy is rarely realistic. Seriously, if deep, personal advice can be written on a hat, you might reconsider how helpful it really is.
Helpful Things to Say Instead of 'No One Will Love You Until You Love Yourself'
Above, I mentioned some of the helpful reasons a person may say this phrase. Those include:
- Placing importance on self-love
- Suggesting that someone look inwards before looking to someone else
- Providing motivation for someone to work on their self-love first
Now, obviously, what you say depends on the context, but there are many things you can say that actually give the above benefits without suggesting the person is flawed and unlovable the way they are. You can start by saying, "It sounds like you're having trouble with self-love. That happens to a lot of people at some point in their lives. Self-love is really important, though."
You can then add things like:
- How do you think you can improve how you feel about yourself?
- Therapy often helps people with self-love. Do you think that would be helpful for you?
- I want you to know that I love you and other people do too. You're having trouble seeing yourself as others see you.
- It might be hard to have a relationship of equals if you don't look into self-love too.
- Just like we have loving relationships with others, we need to have a loving relationship with ourselves too. What do you think can help with that for you?
And, of course, there are many more helpful things as well.
I would encourage people to rid themselves of the pithy and, instead, get down to the nitty-gritty. Think about what the positive, helpful message is that you're trying to send. Then think about the best way of communicating that. And don't hesitate to reassure the person of your love and the love of others. Our greatest fear is often that no one loves us, and there's no reason anyone should have to think that's the case. In fact, just knowing this can make self-love all the easier to get a handle on.
And don't hesitate to encourage the person to get help for this particular issue. Sometimes we need help with our physical health, and sometimes we need help with our mental health, and both are okay.
But the long and the short of it is this: While self-love is incredibly important, we are all a work in progress, and some people will love us just the way we are.
Tracy, N. (2022, April 25). Don't Say 'No One Will Love You Until You Love Yourself', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2022/4/dont-say-no-one-will-love-you-until-you-love-yourself