"Before you can love anyone else, you have to love yourself." Huh?

I’ve heard the phrase so many times that’s it’s become the worst kind of cliché; “Before you can love anyone else you have to love yourself.” It’s the kind of advice that it usually never questioned, but… what is it supposed to mean?

I have no idea what anybody who spouts this aphorism is trying to get across. (All I can think of is how I get the sudden urge to turn and run whenever I see a girl wearing a shirt that says “I (heart) ME.”)

Does anybody know the meaning of this?

You can’t productively love someone unless they love you. And they can’t love you unless they think you are a great person. And if you don’t think you are a great person, then you won’t agree with anyone who does. So, any person who does think you are a great person will be loving something you don’t. And since they love a person that you don’t love, this is a stark contrast, thus hinders true love.

Ok, now what were we talking about… chicken wings? I love chicken wings!

Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who had really low self esteem? Often that person (and I’ve been that person…) will do self-defeating, self-destructive behaviors on an ongoing basis. They may love it when you rescue them, but are too hung up on their own issues to really love you in any type of an unconditional, selfless way. Thus, they need to learn to love themselves before they can really have a loving relationship with someone else.

I would say wearing the I Heart Me T-shirt is no guarantee about what’s on the inside…

As has been said already, true love requires that the people involved be independent, complete people in their own right, not people looking for someone else to “complete them”, or “make them whole”. And one can’t be a complete, independent person in their own right without a certain level of self-acceptance and comfort within their own skin. AKA self-love.

IMHO, anyway. Which is where this thread should probably go.

This is getting into IMHO territory. Personally I think it’s one of those smug aphorisms designed to make those of low self-esteem feel even lower. The claim is that if you’re not happy with yourself outside of a relationship, you’re not ready for a relationship. I think it’s total garbage. It’s perfectly possible that a relationship can redeem someone of low self-image … and I speak from experience of having been there.

While I don’t necessarily disagree with what has been said already, the idea that one must be complete before they can be loved seems to be at odds with pretty much every love song ever written – many of which lament about how much person X needs person Y, how person Y “completes” person X, or how much better a person X is because of Y.

And yet, such songs are generally viewed as being romantic.

It probably means something slightly different to every person who believes it, and not everyone will believe it. I’ll move this thread to IMHO.

moderator GQ

If you cannot respect your own self, how is anyone else (who is worthy) going to? If you cannot love yourself to begin with, don’t expect any other poor saps to do it for you.

Yeah, anyone who gets their idea of love from love songs is in for a big mess o’ hurt.

Nothing destroys a relationship–of any type-- faster than feeling pressured to do something that you don’t have the ability to do. Being with someone who depends on you to provide them with emotional stability–something that no mortal can reliably do for another–will erode away relationships.

I “loved” myself lots of times before I ever “loved” anyone else.

Before you can be involved in a loving relationship with someone, you have to accept that you are at least a halfway decent, lovable person. If you really believe you’re awful, then by far the best thing you could do for someone you really love is stay away.

I do think, though, that it’s possible to have a lot of very negative feelings about yourself but still realize, intellectually, that those feelings probably aren’t accurate and that you should be trying to change the way you think. Being consistently loved by someone else WOULD tend to be helpful for that.

Anyway, I agree with Qadgop, possibly because he had the chance to mold my developing brain for 18 years. Being an independent person with interests and desires and goals totally unrelated to a partner both before and during a relationship is vital. If nothing else, it keeps you from being horribly boring. :stuck_out_tongue:

Elfbabe, who sometimes starts missing her boyfriend while he’s in the SHOWER, but that’s not related at all, dammit.

I thought it meant that it is beneficial to masturbate before a hot date.

Girls aren’t attracted to guys who spend all their time moping around saying “Woe is me.” It may be amusing for a bit, to try and play savior, but in the long haul it’s tedious being with a depressing partner.

And, of course, the same thing applies with other gender pairings.

How can you be attracted to someone who loves someone you hate?

What do you have to offer in a relationship, if you are so utterly irredeemable that not even you can love yourself?

I think it means if you don’t like yourself, no one else is going to either.
Which is often baloney as there are special persons who like to rescue people from themselves.

They might like to do it for a while, but they won’t want to do it their entire lives.

Nobody has built a long and lasting relationship on one mopey victim and one selfless savior.


My first ex is a guy who feels nothing but shame about himself and anger against the world. Our “love” relationship consisted of him trying to so overwhelm me that he could live emotionally through my “self”. When I tried to get him to seek help, to heal himself, he said very tellingly: “to hell with me. I love YOU”.

The best example I can give is this: I learned from childbearing that there are times in your life journey when you must reach inside yourself emotinally and grab on to something, in order to do the hard work which confronts you.

Imagine how scary it would be to reach for that and find … nothing.

That’s the problem of the person who does not have a “center”, or self-acceptance, or self-love. Since they are not equipped they must live symbiotically through their “loved” one. And that’s pretty twisted.

Well, maybe the topic discussion has already run its course, but here’s my take on what “love yourself first” means:

Simply that we all must realize that we deserve to be loved and accept the fact that we are capable of being loved.

When you can accept the love that is offered to you and not push it away or feel like you don’t deserve it, then I think you have learned to love yourself.