Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t really love someone until you love yourself?”
I’ve heard that phrase a thousand times before. And while I get what it’s saying and agree with the general premise, I (the all-knowledgeable Lindsay Durrenberger) know that it is actually possible to love someone else, even if you don’t love yourself.
I know, because I did it for a number of years.
During the darkest time in my life, the years in which I could never imagine a world where loving myself was possible, my heart passionately beat for others. I had a handful of very close girl friends that I know I really, truly loved. I was also in a real, honest relationship with a boy I loved so much it was almost painful. My heart was so full of love for others that I thought that even if I did get to a place where loving myself was an option, I wouldn’t have room inside my heart for myself. And, usually, I didn’t mind that so much.
Until I got into a fight with a friend or my boyfriend. Then, everything changed.
My self-loathing would take over my entire existence like a really bad stomach virus. My palms would sweat. My pulse would quicken. My stomach would turn and bile would rise into my throat. Oh no, I would think. They’ve figured me out. They know I’m horrible. The jig is up. My broken, ugly self has busted through my kind facade and now, I’m going to lose them. I will be alone. Forever. Like I deserve.
Has anyone else ever felt this way? Or is it just me? Regardless, it sucks. Looking back, I know I absolutely loved my friends and my boyfriend. I really did. But I didn’t love them in the healthy way that can only come from a person who loves him or herself first. The way that only a person who accepts him or herself for everything he or she is, flaws and all, can.
For reasons I’m not really sure of yet, over the course of the past year of my self-love journey, the love I’ve learned to have for myself has completely changed the way I love my friends and husband. Not only do I know full well that a mistake I make or a flaw I have isn’t going to leave me stranded with no one, but the beauty my friends possess has become much more evident to me. Their smiles are brighter. Their hearts are more exposed. Their laughs sound more heavenly. Their skin looks more radiant. Their eyes are shinier.
I can’t really explain it. But I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t hold it in anymore and I have to tell them how wonderfully beautiful and loved they are.
TODAY’S SELF-LOVE TIP: SHARE.
Even though, based on my story, it might seem a little bit backwards, today’s tip is to tell your friends, family, and whomever else you love just how beautiful and wonderful they are. Daily. If you’re like me and you know a bazillion wonderful people, make a promise to yourself to tell at least one person a day how much you cherish them. How much they inspire you. How much their existence enriches your life. After a week, month, or year of this, you will have a clear concrete understanding of just how much love you are capable of giving out. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn how to dish out some of that love to yourself.