Question: I respect your advice but I believe that “you can’t love another person until you love yourself” mumbo jumbo is misguided and I think creates more problems in relationships than it solves. The whole point of being in a relationship is to love the other person. That love is not supposed to be directed at yourself but toward the person you love. People should stop being selfish.
Yangki’s Answer: You’re right in saying that the point of being in a relationship is to love the other person. I think that when we say (hopefully we all mean the same thing), “until you love yourself” we are not saying you should keep love to yourself. That’s “selfishness” because love is something to be “given away” free and unconditional.
In this case “love” is a verb and not a noun. It’s something we give, offer, present, etc. that makes the other person feel loved. The good news is that we all are born with infinite “love” to give away. The bad news is, our life experiences some times teach us that we do not have love (or that what we have is so limited), and we need other people to give us love. So we go looking for someone to give us love.
If we meet someone else who also feels that they lack love or need love (which unfortunately is most people), they start to feel that they are being asked to give what they do not have, are unable to give or not ready to give. It’s that “why don’t you say…” or “why don’t you do…” (to make me feel loved)” that’s experienced by the other person as pressure or being needy.
Some people will agree to give you what love they have, but put conditions for what you must do to earn it. If you are needy and desperate (usually those two go together), you’ll take whatever you are being given and tightly hold on to it because you feel that you need it — and might not get it anywhere else if you let it go. That love is like an addiction — and the other person is your drug-pusher. And because the other person holds the “supply”, they hold the key to your high, literally and figuratively. Some of these relationships become emotionally (and physically) abusive because of the power imbalance.
“Until you love yourself” is simply another way of saying, until you reconnect to the infinite “love” that we were all born with, you really have nothing to give to another person. And because you have little supply or nothing to give, your attempts at a relationship end up with you attracting people who also feel they lack or have limited supply of love to give and are reluctant to give away what they have — freely and unconditionally.
If by some good fortune you meet someone who is loving and willing to share his/her love with you unconditionally, you’ll find it hard to accept that love because it does not come with the ‘high’ you are used to. It’s like giving an addict a glass of milk or juice when what they are really craving is their drug. I’ve seen men and women run back and forth between healthy relationships and toxic ones… because they are “looking” for something. What they are really looking for is the love within themselves. They just haven’t realized it yet.
If you “love yourself” you do not need someone else to “supply” your daily doze of love. You have enough supply of love for yourself and extra to give away freely and unconditionally (your cup ovefloweth). When you are overflowing with love, not only are you magnetically attractive, the other person feels no stress loving you because you are not putting pressure on him/her to give you “love” (make you feel loved).
Unfortunately, relationship where love overfloweth are few and apart. Many of us are walking around with a feeling of lack or limited supply of love and attaching ourselves to people who we think will give us what we lack. The result is men and women holding each other by the throat literally squeezing out all the love they can get from the people they are in a relationship with.
The mental image is scary!