warning -- there's a little rant up ahead here:
Advice like this is pretty common:
You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
But because I like to question everything, I started looking really closely at that recently, and I decided it's a bunch of crap.
well, okay, to be fair, it might only be a bunch of crap for some people. maybe it works just great for others.
but the people I want to let off the hook are the ones who are beating themselves up or feeling inferior/concerned because they don't love themselves, whatever the heck that means, and it keeps them from accepting who and where they are and getting on with their lives.
so to those folks, I want to offer a couple alternatives for your consideration:
How about if instead of trying to love yourself, you just settle for talking nicely to yourself internally? Maybe even talk to yourself like you would talk to a young child who is trying to do her best but does not always succeed. Or heck, even like you might talk to a stranger or a neighbor -- just be polite and neutral.
So if you make a mistake, you brush it off with a quick, "That's okay," and just move on with your day. You don't have to feel great love or affection for yourself, just be civil. Feelings are a lot harder to summon or control than behaviors, anyway, so it's kind of a setup for failure if you expect yourself to feel anything in particular.
Or how about if you forget about loving yourself at all, and just love whoever or whatever feels easy to love for now? Maybe you love your children, your parents, your friends, your mate, your pet, or even your car or your garden or your music. Everybody loves something. So shift your focus onto loving whatever you love and don't worry if it's not yourself.
And whenever you find yourself noticing that you don't love yourself, take that as a cue to amp up loving whatever you do love a few more notches so that your loving takes up more of your time and attention than your monitoring of self-love.
just a thought ...