Have you ever heard that you need to “love yourself first”?
Maybe it’s before “you are able to love someone else.”
Maybe it is presented more generally.
What does this mean exactly?
After you do enough of a certain process, reach a certain place, you will have achieved self-love? How will you know?
Once that happens you will be qualified or ready to receive love or other good things?
Of course I am all for loving yourself. It would be pretty hilarious if I were against that premise.
It’s the words “have to” and “first” that I can’t say I’m on board with.
It’s rather vague.
It’s a rather tall order.
It’s also pretty unfair.
From my perspective, and I believe there is plenty of evidence for this, we can experience love and other good things at any time. Even at our lowest points – thankfully!
I submit that even if we feel like we hate ourselves, something beautiful can show up in our experience and begin to teach us what it is to love.
The moment you turn it into “I have to love myself first,” it is now a future oriented project.
You have enough of those.
It’s yet another thing you have to achieve in order to get those good results of love or money or something else. Just like you have to clear all of your limiting beliefs and so on.
It’s a trap
Once we believe there is a prerequisite for something, we can turn that into our reality.
If you start to believe you need to achieve a certain level of self-love, whatever that means to you, then you will begin to shut your energy down.
You may start to ignore people, places or situations where something great could be ready and waiting for you.
The parts of you that may be afraid of intimacy or new relationships will absolutely love the idea that it just needs to work on itself some more.
What better place to hide could there be?
Work on loving yourself.
Become clear on what that means to you in a relevant way.
For me, the inner work in the style I do that heavily emphasizes creating safety, speaking to the parts of ourselves that are hurting, and learning to shift our relationship to what we experience, is an act of self-love.
Of course your results can shift for the better as you improve this relationship.
Just like any other relationship however, it does not have an end game.
It is not something you arrive at some conclusion after which point you get the rewards.
It is a far more organic process with many interesting twists and turns, with great things that can show up in your life anywhere on the spectrum of highs or lows.
Accept yourself right where you are.
Be open to good things showing up, even if you have not “achieved” self-love yet.