Hello. My name’s Courtney Miller and I don’t love myself.
It’s a simple statement that shouldn’t be a big deal. Nothing says that I’m required to give myself my own undying devotion — nothing except for the prolific mantra in our Western culture that states I do in fact need to love myself, and that if I can’t or I’m not trying to do so, there must be something wrong with me.
We even take it a step further by demanding that someone must love themselves before they can be in a loving relationship with someone else, or before anyone else will be able to love them. It’s an incredibly problematic sentiment, especially when we blur the definition of self-love to encompass self-value as well.
“If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you?” is a question I’ve not only been asked myself, but one that has spread through our collective consciousness. These messages of self-love proliferate throughout our media, literature, and entertainment, and their toxicity has got to go. I don’t enjoy immersing myself in this culture of self-assigned self-worth.
I’m here to tell you that it’s all bullshit. If you love yourself, that’s fantastic. But there is nothing wrong with someone who doesn’t, and we should be more cognizant of the fact that not everyone even can. It should not be something we require of others.
I do not need to love myself in order to love others
When we push the idea of self-love on those who don’t feel capable of that experience, we’re only adding to their problems. No one should feel like an outcast because they don’t, won’t, or can’t participate in the same self-adoration rituals.
I probably will never love myself. I’ve accepted that, and others should, too. But just because I cannot love myself, or value myself, does not mean that I am incapable of engaging in love or having value. There is no reason why I cannot enjoy a happy, fulfilling life despite not loving myself. Nor do I need to love myself in order to love others.
I am the closest I have ever been to loving myself, and it’s not because I’ve meditated or done yoga, or read one of those self-help books about eating, praying, and loving, or had plenty of ‘me time.’ I already know and understand myself. That’s how I know that I don’t love myself.
Rather, I am the closest I have ever been because I’ve found somebody I love more than anyone else, and that connection gives me fulfillment.
She doesn’t need me to love myself, because she’s accepted that my lack of self-love is part of who I am. Despite not conforming to societal expectations, I have a wonderful relationship. “It’s okay if you don’t love yourself,” she said to me one day. “I love you enough for the both of us.”
We need more of this. People should be supporting others, not ostracizing them because they don’t feel comfortable engaging in self-adoration.
So please, don’t passive-aggressively send me links to BuzzFeed articles about how to love myself, don’t suggest self-help books to me, and don’t tell me I just need to find myself. Trust that I know myself well enough to be able to find my own inner peace, even if it doesn’t look like yours. Love isn’t one size fits all, so stop trying to make it that way.
It’s exhausting to be surrounded by people giving relationship advice that entirely consists of mantras like “You need to love yourself before you can love someone else.” We shouldn’t tell people who to love, and that means we shouldn’t tell them how to love, either.
Not only do you not have to love yourself to love someone romantically — you don’t even have to love someone else at all. How you feel is how you feel, so screw people who tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Feelings are never incorrect. No one can dictate to someone else how they should feel.
If you want to learn how to love yourself, go for it. I wish you all the success in the world. But don’t try to shoehorn self-love into your life if it doesn’t feel right. Don’t do it if it’ll only frustrate and upset you. You are how you are, and you are lovely as-is.