There’s an idea in popular psychology that nobody can truly love another unless they first love themselves, and similarly, nobody can fully receive love unless they have a healthy level of self-esteem and self-worth.
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Indeed, the antidote to many of our emotional challenges can be self love, particularly when it comes to being in a relationship, finding love, or breaking up. However, for such a simple concept we all seem to struggle in this area. A good way to view the importance of self-love is to consider the way airline pilots always instruct you to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping anybody else.
In today’s society, we expend a lot of energy looking to external solutions to fix internal challenges – as an example, we hit the high street with our credit card for some retail therapy to compensate and distract us from some of the feelings we feel inside. Indeed, some people can get trapped in a cycle where they clutch at straws, buying more and more stuff to the point they visit sites like homeequitylineof.credit in order to release equity from their home.
In addition to external things, we often look to another person to fill us up via an intimate relationship… yet, in doing so, we often miss the point that as John Gray (author of Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus) puts it – we first need to fill ourselves up with self-love, rather than clambering onto each other like two thirsty people in the desert trying to squeeze love out of each other.
This is a recipe for codependency and unfulfilling relationships where love is offered and received almost on a transactional basis.
The challenge is that if we don’t have a healthy level of self-esteem and self-love we end up giving love in order to receive love and operating from this depleted, somewhat needy state is a recipe for emotional disaster or at least deep discontentment.
If we are dependent on getting our love from someone else it makes our happiness contingent on receiving something from an external source we have no control of; which is when people start to behave in controlling ways.
Unfortunately, when two people with low levels of self-love come together it can be like two thirsty people in the desert; they act in desperation to squeeze as much love out of the other person because they feel so deplenished. This can lead to relationship addiction or cause an otherwise aligned partnership to go downhill very quickly.
The key, therefore, to almost all our relationship challenges is to nurture and nourish ourselves with self-love. That said, the notion of self-love doesn’t have to be as tangible as going to https://lush.com and getting a luxurious bath bomb – it can be as simple as shifting your thoughts and focus toward self-acceptance, self-love and building your self-worth.
When we lack self-love, we can end up chasing people that don’t always treat us with value, in an almost addictive need to get their love, like a car running low on fuel, desperate to have gas put in the tank.
The truth is that nobody can truly love another until they first love themselves, and nobody can fill your empty tank – it has to come from within.
This post is a contributed post.