The nuances of Self Love

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.”

“You have to love yourself before others can love you.”

“To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness.”

You often see these types of quotes around the idea of self love. And this post isn’t me necessarily disagreeing with them… it is me adding to them.

I recently had someone remind me that I have to love myself before others will love me and it sent my mind into a spin. I got frustrated by it. I think it is because often, these phrases make it seem as if self love is a constant state that can be achieved. Like a check in the box of qualities you’ve managed to achieve as you grow. But it’s not.

As a 37 year old woman, I can honestly say I love me. I have more self esteem and self love now than I have had my entire life. I love the woman I have become. I’m proud of my life – in all it’s messy glory – and am truly excited to see and experience what is yet to come.

I love my messy, frizzy curly hair that as a teenager I hated. I love that I’m soft and squishy. I love my strength and endurance to take on anything – even when it seems insurmountable. I love my passion and enthusiasm over what others might see as mundane. I love to dance with my dog in a kitchen while food is cooking, jamming to whatever music is playing, or chase my kids round the hall. I love that I’m a mushy, romantic sap who gets butterflies in her tummy at romantic scenes in “girly” movies and gets a bit teary during the sad parts of cartoons. I love that people don’t know that I’m a singer – and when I finally unleash my full voice, I often get dropped jaws. I love that my mind is a whirl of a million thoughts at a time, and that while I can be forgetful about certain situations – I also have a bit of a photographic memory for other things and can sometimes impress with my intelligence. I love that my imagination journeys into places that unlock a whole array of creative pursuits.

… I could keep going.

BUT….

I still don’t ALWAYS have that love for myself. I don’t ALWAYS remember these things. I make mistakes. Sometimes, I look at myself and in that moment, see that I’m not measuring up to my own expectations. I think I had the idea that in those moments when I’m not “feeling the self-love” it would somehow mean that I don’t have “it” at all. But when I look behind, from where I’ve come – I have it in spades. It’s all in perspective. In theory – the goal is to constantly grow and not deplete the stashes of self love that we keep deep down within.

When I look at it that way – these quotes start to fall apart a little. Because if self love is constantly being added to and grown upon – then there is no end goal – no moment where you can actually say that you can check that little box.