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‘Nobody Can Love You Until You Love Yourself’ Is Bullsh*t

Positivity is a powerful force for good.

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Even as the ways of the world have made cynicism and pessimism more prevalent (and not without reason), building people up will always do more for them than breaking them down.

As social media becomes an increasingly ingrained aspect of everyday life, the importance of conveying positive messages continues to grow. If we’re constantly connected to a world of information, being inundated by a barrage of hate and negativity will affect our worldview in a very real way.

That’s why you never read the comments, folks.

That being said, there is a danger in the rise of affirmations and other empowering online content.

Some types of affirmations aim to inspire a sense of independence, but in reality only invalidate the struggles of the person who reads them.

Today, I’d like to address one of the most heavily circulated.

I’ve seen it shared in countless Tumblr posts, echoed across Facebook statuses, and written in artsy fonts in front of black-and-white photos of landscapes on Instagram.

The idea that “nobody can love you until you love yourself” is bullshit.

Let’s make something very clear: You do not need to reach a certain point in your own personal recovery before you deserve to be cared for.

Claiming that you “have to love yourself before anyone else can love you” is rooted in an important idea — that you should prioritize your own self-care and emotional wellbeing before trying to pursue a romantic relationship.

However, this is not the same as the idea that you need to love yourself before you deserve to be loved.

The most important distinction between the two is that one tries to portray self-esteem as some sort of finish line, while the other addresses the significance of making sure you’re whole.

A romantic relationship shouldn’t be an end goal. You shouldn’t pursue self-love and better self-esteem because you want to feel worthy of being loved someday — you should pursue self-love because you deserve to love yourself. You should prioritize your own mental and emotional health over romantic love because it’s your life, and it deserves to be protected.

You don’t need romantic love in order to want to be better. You don’t need to reach a certain degree of self-esteem in order to qualify to be loved, nor does not having a partner say something about the content of your character.

You aren’t half a person trying to qualify to be worthy of finding your other half. You’re a whole person with your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences that wants to find someone to add to it eventually.

Furthermore, claiming “you have to love yourself before you can be loved by someone else” puts forth the myth that there’s some sort of finish line to self-esteem. It promotes the idea that eventually you’ll reach a point where you can say, “Well, I love myself now,” and everything will be sunshine and lollipops.

Sadly, this isn’t the case.

Life is a lot like trying to walk on a tightrope. It takes care, a lot of small steps, and constant adjustments in order to try to maintain the delicate balance. As more and more continues to happen in your life, you’ll find yourself making little concessions and compromises in order to adjust as best you can — sometimes your self-esteem takes a major hit in order for you to keep surviving.

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