Learning to love yourself is still a good thing
I just saw this pop up on my feed and thought was appropriate to say what I think of it. I'm sure the author has good intentions and overall makes some alright points. The idea of loving yourself and that being required to love other people is a well intentioned idea clearly which is acknowledged.
Posted by Phil Walker on 29 Mar 2016
The start of the dialogue on this issue i have to say irritated me somewhat is showing what I felt was a clear misunderstanding and made a relationship of this to Feminism, Patriarchal society and capitalism and how somehow conforming to those things was what the statement provokes. Perhaps in a way the term has been abused that could be true but in true Humanistic Psychology and the person centred movement the idea of loving oneself and this helping us to become our true selves has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of conformity at all. In fact the absolute opposite would be true. It's about being able to find the seed inside to value ourselves as we are then to become the person we want to be and to be happy. It's about digging in to how we may have been conditioned (yes in fairness by society and certain expectations of whoever else) and breaking free of this and being able to just feel good about being you. It is certainly not about being a pawn in society. Truly actualised people are rather highlighted as people who are very much protagonists for positive change in society. That was the main issue.
The author then goes further into this confusion in talking about the physical appearance of others and how it is easier to want yourself to fix yourself rather than want others to fix themselves? Sorry what? Therefore concluding that it is possible to love how others look without loving how you look yourself? Sorry but I don't know where to start with that one. This has nothing again to do with just loving yourself and why reduce this to appearance?
I felt then the clip improved and she spoke about a mental connection and how her and her boyfriend stayed together despite her mental health issues and how the term 'love yourself before loving another' is therefore damaging as she still loved him and could feel love to him and others while not feeling good about herself and just couldn't express it the same. Yes I respect where this is coming from. The author says to how the love felt for others gave that connection and strength to continue etc etc.
I would say that in any true loving relationship it is wonderful to stick with one another in times of hardship and it is completely fair that someone who is mentally not in a good space can still feel the love but yes can't really express it in the same way.
There seemed an emphasis though in the talk as if this term 'you can't love others until you love yourself' was somehow being rammed down our throats as if it is damaging. If people feel this then it is an abuse of the term brought to us by yes maybe capitalism but not the notion at its' purest. A relationship is made in the talk about fashion industries saying this. I personally have never related the term in this way as someone who has studied therapy so I feel therefore the understanding of the essence of the statement has been distorted by both perhaps industries and consequentially the writer.
The actual idea of loving yourself before loving others does in fairness have something to do with a capacity to be able to give and not just feel. So here I agree a bit with her and that's what it misses but we need to figure that out for ourselves.
Teaching people to love themselves is just about working on ourselves so we are able to feel good about who we are and live the life we want to live. From that we are then better able to not just 'feel' love, agreed we can feel it, but to actually be able to express it in a positive constructive and helpful way.
To say love yourself before loving others is never meant to be a harmful shameful statement to block growth and shame on anyone to use it this way. At its purest it has nothing to do with fitting in with capitalism or a patriarchal society. It's about being us as the best we can be and therefore having the best possible constructive impact on others.