To Love Yourself Before Others

An anon on 4chan muses over the nature of self love and acceptance:

You ever hear the phrase “learn to love yourself before you love others”?  It’s pretty popular.  Every time I hear it I get a headache.  Then I get mad because it sounds like manufactured Hallmark bullshit.  Like, this person spouting such trite words must not think much of me if they’re going to feed me these lines, right?

The truth is, that concept is much harder to grasp than can be conveyed in the 6 to 8 words it has been condensed to.

To love yourself you must accept yourself as you are, but if you do that then you might as well give up on all your goals and hobbies.  Basically all progress becomes stagnation under this radical new way of life, because you’re already where you ought to be.

But that is a self serving fallacy.  Maybe what they mean is to love yourself so much that you’d do everything in your power to succeed at everything.  You’ll eat well, go to the gym, excel in your career.  Sounds more like what that phrase is trying to get at.

But what if you are an utter failure who can’t surpass all the arbitrarily set goal lines?  You keep failing, how can you love a failure?  You can’t.  So maybe you should love yourself just enough that you’ll forgive yourself for all your failings, and try to grab the dinner roll that fell off the table when no one was looking.

Validation is a big part of living in a society, everyone is hungry for it and we all cannot get enough of it.  It is also a fiat currency, much like the paper money that replaced the gold standard of old.  The key to loving oneself is realizing that there is a difference between outward validation and inner acceptance, and maintaining the balance between the fiat validation and the absolutely selfish love you have for your own life and survivability

“To love yourself before others” then means that to live in this society, you must first look after yourself before you try to look after others, lest you drag that person down with you.  It is a selfish piece of advice but one that rings true.

Original screen cap:

love yourself first

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