PSA: You Can Love Other People Even When You Don’t Love Yourself

By: Rawan

For a very long time, I genuinely believed the bullshit spiritual ultimatums we saw as pretty quotes on Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr. You know how it goes and I am begging you to read this in a pretentious sarcastic voice, or at least that’s how it sounds like in my head:

“You can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself” 

Or I will do you one better,

“You can’t forgive a person if you have not yet forgiven yourself.”

*inserts eye roll* 

Well, I am starting to realise these are absolute lies that we feed ourselves, or choose to believe because of all the aesthetic posts on Instagram and Tumblr which seemed way too pretty to be half-truths. To put the pressure on yourself to be fully accepting and loving of who you are in order to be able to love other people is beyond an unattainable goal. It’s an unfair expectation to have on ourselves. So, once again, social media has lied to us and set us trying to reach an implausible idea.

There is no finish line when it comes to self-love.

There is no class or seminar that’s going to help you perfect it overnight.

It’s not a button you push. It’s a process; a life-long process. 

Love is not tangible; it’s a concept. But in its presence, you can feel it in your bones, heart, and soul. Love is everywhere, it’s within us, around us and all we need to do is accept it by having our arms wide open and taking it in, instead of beating ourselves up for it. We are nothing without the love we give others and reciprocated love we get. 

No quiz proves that you accept everything about yourself, and the reality is, you do not have to. You do not have to worship who you are, because growth is something we do every day. We learn, and change, and part of that change is growing to love yourself. 

I am not trying to trash talk loving yourself for who you are, but what I am trying to say is I know how hard it is. I know how hard it is to wake up every morning and feel like you’re fighting every cell in your body, because you do not feel like you deserve today to be a good day, or because you can’t be bothered to pretend that you accept yourself enough to believe in yourself. But, sometimes knowing that there is a person out there that you love could be just what you need to drag your ass into the bathroom and try, even when it feels like hell. 

So, if love could be so forgiving, why do we try to make it into everything it’s not? Why are we trying to have rules for something so beautiful? Why are we making it difficult?

Perhaps, we are too scared of beautiful things, because we are scared we are going to ruin them. Or, at least I am. I am scared, no, I am petrified I will be the reason for someone’s pain because I have seen how much I have hurt people. I have devastated my parents and I love them with every bit in my soul, but I still managed to disappoint them. And, it was heartbreaking. 

I have always been an incredibly loving person. I give my friends 101% of my energy and if I could give more- I would. If I ever liked a person, I would literally give them my everything. My heart is so full of love, and I can confidently tell you that love is everything and without it we have nothing. And, despite that very little of that love is directed towards me.

We tend to be harder on ourselves because deep down we regret things. We know our faults and we hate them with every bit of our being, and that just makes it so much harder to forgive yourself. But, just like any relationship- with your parents, boyfriends, friends, siblings- there are ups and downs. It’s not linear. We are so frightened by the demons within us, that we would rather fight them on our own instead of having them hurt those we care about. But, if that was the reality this would be an incredibly lonely life.

Please do not rule your every day with a “spiritual” quote from Instagram, and make it your mantra because you’re not doing yourself any good. We love ourselves through others. We forgive ourselves when we see others trying to forgive themselves too. There is power in choosing to love, you do not need to qualify for that. 

It’s human to experience emotions, so do not run away from them because you are trying to reach something, which you can continue to work on even if you love someone else. It’s not: “you or them” – but you can choose to see it as you are in this together. 

With love, 

Rawan xx 

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