Love is a feeling that is contagious. At times, it allows us to suspend reality, or even to think we are providing something good for others. We are taught that being kind and loving others is important. I am here to tell you yes.
Love is important, but you must love yourself first. Why you say? Won’t loving others who need love be good for them?
Yes and no. There is a difference between loving others and people pleasing. There is also a difference between loving others for approval and love back.
Through my life, my overwhelming need to feel loved attracted me to the wrong friends and relationships. I thought by being nice, kind, and loving, I would be loved back. I was wrong.
Yes, they may have thought I was great. They may have thought I was a kind and loving person. However, at the end of the day, I was used or taken advantage of. I didn’t feel any more loved than before. That goes for romantic and platonic relationships.
As someone who has attracted the wrong people, and pushed the right people away, I know firsthand that people pleasing and loving others does not bring more love into your world. After countless failed friendships and relationships, I learned in the end, I needed to love myself.
No matter how much someone loved me, it did not matter because I did not love myself or KNOW myself. I spent most of my life trying to do what others enjoyed, telling people it did not matter where we went or what we ate. It may sound simple, but I was blessed with great friends who showed me I said sorry way too often, and thought I had so many flaws. They showed me they loved me for me, flaws and all, and did not even see the flaws I thought so many people saw.
I learned why you should love yourself before loving others and am sharing them today:
1. You are able to set your own boundaries easier.
By knowing who you are and what you stand for, you are able to set boundaries. Boundaries are essential for healthy relationships, whether it is romantic, familial, or platonic. By setting boundaries, you are able to remove yourself from toxic situations, and not end up feeling resentment or unappreciated
2. You know who you are.
You know what you want or like instead of being influenced by others. Ever have a time when someone asks what do you like to do, and have to stop and think about it? Often times, I hear, “I don’t know. I never really thought about it.”
3. You have an identity outside of the relationship (platonic, familial, or romantic).
This goes with #2. We all have the same amount of time, but our priorities determine who we become. Often times, when we don’t spend time loving and caring for ourselves, we end up being busy, and lose our identity.
This often happens when we are in a relationship or a marriage/family. I know many people who run themselves into the ground, neglecting their own health because they are too busy taking care of others.
They think they are doing good by caring for others, but then after much discussion, I hear unhappiness. I hear unfulfilled dreams because they spent their time working on caring for others, but not on themselves.
Their emotional tank is no longer full. They do not have motivation and get lost in what their purpose and identity are.
4. You do not NEED other people to provide love since you love yourself.
Someone’s love is even better and more fulfilling, but it is not something that you desperately need when you love yourself.
When you love yourself or care for yourself, you are able to provide the love and care for yourself. You are able to feel at peace whether you are by yourself or with others.
5. You do not please others for love or approval.
I used to have friends where I would do whatever they wanted, and did not have an opinion on what we did. Deep down I did care, but I told myself I didn’t care enough to say something.
This caused me to go places I did not want to, or hang out with people I really did not want to. I thought I was doing this because I was “ a good friend.”
Yes, there is magic in kindness towards others. By showing love, we do receive love. However, there is a fine line between kindness and asking other people to fulfill this void if we do not love ourselves. When you love yourself, you do not subconsciously try to please others for approval or to prevent conflict.
6. You do not settle in unfulfilling relationships or friendships.
This goes with #5. When you know who you are, you know what you want. You know what your goals are, and if that person is providing you with what you need.
When we don’t love ourselves, we can end up being in a one-sided relationship, where we are giving and providing, but the other person is not.
7. You have deeper and more fulfilling relationships.
When you cut out the fat and all the toxicity, the people you surround yourself with know who you are, and you know more about them. You are able to have deeper conversations, and provide support to one another because it is not a superficial relationship. Rather, it is based on love and realness.
8. You end up learning who your real friends are.
This goes with #7. As they say, you are lucky if you can count the number of friends you have on one hand. When you start loving yourself, advocating for yourself, and being true to who you are, you learn who really listens to your needs and desires too.
9. You start living for a greater purpose.
Yes, we have roles and responsibilities. Bills need to get paid. People need to be fed. But when you love yourself first, you are able to look outside of yourself, and understand there are greater powers than you alone.
Whether you are a parent, child, employee, student, those are all roles. We are put on this planet for a purpose.
When you love yourself, you are able to understand your purpose or get closer to understanding your purpose. It may be to raise your child to be a kind person, to help others, or to provide assistance to a family member.
Everyone’s purpose is different, and can change throughout time. The one constant is change. When you love yourself, feel good about yourself, you are more able to find motivation, energy, and fulfillment, to fulfill whatever purpose is yours.
10. You are happier.
We all need to spend time doing what we love and enjoy. As they say, “All Work and No Play Makes Jack(ie) a Dull [woman].
Sometimes, as we get older, we forget the importance of play. We think that play is only meant for children. Some form of play or enjoyment is something we all need so we can live balanced lives.
11. You are better able to fulfill your roles.
Have you ever seen that video when you go on an airplane? Here is a quick summary: In the event of an emergency and you need to use a face mask, you need to put your mask on yourself first, before you put it on your child.
When you spend time on yourself, you are filling your emotional, physical, and spiritual tank. Every person needs rejuvenation and tending loving care. By loving yourself, you are able to fulfill your role more efficiently and effectively.
12. YOU ARE LOVED MORE FOR YOU AND NOT WHAT YOU PROVIDE.
When you are able to show your true personality, rather than just what you can offer someone, the people in your life end up seeing YOU for you. They love all of you, flaws and all.
Everyday, is a journey, and another opportunity to improve. I have learned by loving myself, I am a better wife, mother, daughter, and coworker. I hope these tips help you in whatever roles you have in your life.
If there are any that resonate with you, I would love to know! Please comment below, or feel free to email me.
Sending you love and light on your journey,
Tea & Love Letters
I want to learn more about personal growth and get a weekly love letter from Jackie!