The art of being single: You can still love someone else even if you don’t love yourself

Graphic by Loreanna Lastoria

I’m not going to come on here and tell you that you need to learn to love yourself before you could ever be loved or before you can love someone else, because that’s problematic for a few reasons. 

First, it harbours the idea that people aren’t worthy of love if they don’t love who they are by themselves. You don’t have to love yourself all the time or have all your life figured out to be loved; you can still be a work in progress.

Second, this ideology of loving yourself before you should ever be in a relationship with someone else is toxic. Loving yourself is a process; a lifelong journey. There are probably days where you think to yourself, “yeah, I’m pretty damn awesome.” There are also days where you might not like yourself very much, for whatever reason.

Both of these reasons and everything in between are totally normal and they’re all part of living with yourself every day for your entire life. Neither of these or anything in between should affect your ability to be in a relationship.

While there are these two problems with this ideology, there is also a silver lining. No, you don’t have to love yourself before you can love someone else, but it’s important to still learn to love yourself. The same effort you’re going to put into a relationship is also needed for yourself.

Whether it’s by taking time to yourself to really get to know you, or it’s going on solo dates to your favourite coffee shop, to a new movie that came out, to a restaurant you’ve always wanted to try; or even if it’s telling yourself reaffirming phrases everyday for the rest of your life. All of these are just some examples of how you can learn to love yourself. But these don’t, in any way, conclude the journey of self-love, nor do they mean you can’t still be in a relationship while you’re on it.

The whole point of this is that you can still (if you choose) be in a loving relationship with someone else even though you’re not in a loving relationship with yourself. You’re allowed to love and be loved by someone else while you’re trying and learning to love yourself. You’re allowed to be happy with someone else even if you’re not necessarily always happy with yourself. You’re not unworthy of feeling love or being in love if you don’t love yourself. The important thing is that you don’t give up on trying.

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