Whether it’s on social media, or in articles, or even in song lyrics, the idea that you need to love yourself in order to someone else to love is everywhere. In his empowering song about loving yourself for the way you are, J. Cole says “love yourself girl or nobody will”.
While I absolutely adore that song, I’ve got to say, that statement is false.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of the self-love movement. I believe and hope that one day each and every one of us learns to accept and love ourselves for who we are.
But telling people that until they reach that point they will never get the love they deserve is the wrong approach.
For starters, self-love doesn’t happen overnight. Self-love for some can be a long journey of self-discovery and battling inner issues. It takes everyone a different amount of time, different steps, and a different approach in order to achieve self-love. And it’s important to take however long you need and whatever you need to do in order to move into that direction.
Another thing is, self-love isn’t solid. It’s not something that once you have it, you have it and that’s it, that’s all. Self-love is a journey. It’s not only loving yourself as you are right now, but choosing to love who you are every single day. Loving yourself when you’re 110 pounds, or when you’re 210. Learning to love yourself when you get a promotion, but also in the moments where you don’t get what you want. Self-love is doesn’t have an end-point, because our identities don’t have end-points. From the moment we are born, to the moment we leave this Earth we are constantly changing. Constantly learning and trying new things. I don’t know about you, but who I was even six months ago, is not the same woman writing this piece right now.
To tell someone they must love themselves first, is to be able to put a ‘one size fits all’ label on what self-love should look like. It’s different for everybody, and everyone expresses it differently. Some people enjoy showing skin in order to show off their confidence, while others may like to wear a certain shirt that makes them feel sexy. Self-love can be in the form of a ‘progress’ selfie on Instagram, or simply smiling in the mirror when you get dressed in the morning.
There is no one-way to love yourself and to show that self-love.
No matter where you fall in your journey to self-love, you are deserving of love. Self-love is not a precursor for having someone in your life who loves you unconditionally. Self-love is something I have struggled with my entire life, and I’ll be honest here, there are still things about myself I am learning to love. But, I have family, friends, and a significant other who love me. I have had people in my life when I was at my lowest of low, and couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, love me for who I was. People who saw the beauty in me and helped me work towards seeing it for myself. I currently, have someone in my life who helps me when I’m feeling down. Someone who sees my faults, understands my insecurity and loves me anyways.
In a world that makes it already so hard to love ourselves, why should we make it harder for people by convincing them that until they do, they can’t be loved?
You are worthy of unconditional love, even if you haven’t gotten to the point where you can say you love yourself. You are still worthy of it. You are more than good enough for someone to appreciate everything about you, and treat you with the love and respect that you deserve.
No matter what you’re going through. No matter where your journey takes you. Never for a second believe that you don’t deserve love, because you do. And someone’s inability to give that to you, does not reflect your worthiness. You are valid and you are so worthy.
You deserve to be unconditionally loved by others, and yourself.
And I hope you find it one day.