“If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else! Can I get an amen up in here?” - RuPaul Charles.
This saying has always caused conflict for me internally. I never fully resonated with the meaning of the statement. Then again, I have always had issues with self-love. I felt I loved others pretty well, yet still struggled to love myself while loving others.
It wasn’t until I was dating this guy who was so kind to me that I felt he was too much to finally understand what this saying meant. A comment I had received myself from other lovers, often I was “too much”. His consistent and seemingly genuine compliments made me feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I pushed him away.
I couldn’t share my love with him, which illuminated my lack of love for myself. And let me be clear, when I say love, I am speaking in the broad sense of kindness. I think when you wish someone a good day, that’s spreading love. When you hold a door for someone, that is showing love. So, don’t get it twisted--I don’t think we were in love with each other, but he gave me love that challenged my belief that I had unlovable parts.
In short, I didn’t love myself, so that I couldn’t love him back. His high regard for me shook me and made me feel, at first, turned off. Yet as I continued to analyze this dissatisfaction, it wasn’t because of him but my unsettled feeling in not accepting his kindness. I couldn’t take his kindness, for I didn’t feel I deserved it. It’s like he gifted me a beautiful yet extremely expensive jacket; I could not put it on for I thought I did not deserve it, but I also did not want to hurt his feelings. So, I just held the jacket awkwardly, then that awkwardness turned into resentment. I always wanted a nice jacket, why can’t I accept this! Stupid jacket! Stupid jacket!!
Okay, enough with the jacket metaphor.
Loving someone doesn’t affirm you; it affirms them. This isn’t necessarily a negative, but it certainly can turn into one if you go looking for yourself within another person. Say you have a leaky faucet, and so does your neighbor; you can fix their faucet, but yours will still be leaking when you return home.
Dear reader, if I can tell you anything this Sunday, it is a little more selfish when it comes to loving yourself. I have no idea to what stands in your way of showering yourself with love on a regular basis. Whatever the reason (and if you don't know you reason, start there) remember how much you shower friends with love. Then think to yourself, "Why not do the same for myself?" Nobody knows you as you do, nobody knows what you need as good as you, and finally. If anyone sends love to you, it is up to you to accept it. You cannot get into a locked door without unlocking the door. Trust me; I’ve tried.
You are enough.