There’s a popular phrase I’ve seen popping around everywhere recently. More or less it goes, “You can’t love someone until you love yourself.” It’s also used in a show I’ve been watching recently, RuPaul’s Drag Race, a quote by RuPaul himself: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

Now, I understand where this phrase is coming from. Self-love is very important and plays a big role in one’s relationships. Self-love should definitely be encouraged. Self-love is a wonderful thing and is something we should all strive for. I get that this saying is telling us to love ourselves.

However, I do not agree that if you don’t love yourself, no one will love you or that you will be incapable of loving anyone else. As someone who has struggled with accepting one’s self, the thinking that I am not able to love because I do not have love for myself is very hurtful. I definitely can love other people even if I’m still working on loving myself.

First of all, self-love isn’t easy. I struggle daily with issues of confidence and self-worth, because I don’t think I deserve things or that I offer any value to the world. I don’t think people will like me truly if they find out more about me. These are a few things I struggle with and not everyone does. Some might struggle with more, some with less. The thing is, it’s not that easy to flip-flop from thinking I’m worthless to feeling completely proud of myself. This brings me to another point.

It’s a process. There are many steps to undertake to self-love. If I feel confident with my friends, but not with my superiors, have I reached self-love? If I no longer cry about my physical imperfections, but struggle with communication, have I reached self-love? If I get married, have I reached self-love?

Not being able to love yourself is something to work on and it does have an effect on your relationships, but it does not completely prevent you from loving or being loved.

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