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rhythminme's avatar

Do you believe that happiness comes from within and that you can't love someone else without loving yourself first?

Asked by rhythminme (46points) May 5th, 2011

Hello Fluther :D

I find that these two things are very true but I just thought I would see what others think too.

what made me ask is a ‘friend’ (internet) I have is always talking bad things about himself and they really do worry me. I always making a status about people not caring about him and no one likes me; and so on. I have taken the initiative to tell hm, hey I do care about you, if you need to speak, I’ll listen. But he still carries on about how no one cares (even though I have said that and he seems to believe that.) Hes also stuck on having a girl(s) notice him and like him [maybe girls will like me if I change this and that and etc] but the thing is… he HAS a girlfriend (via internet but nonetheless), who has said she is in love with him. Now I would think that would be enough but I guess not.

Now I know how it feels to be inadequate and think you’re ugly and disgusting and so on. Considering my circumstances it is very easy for me to get lonely (I havent been able to really go out a lot for the past two years). I have felt those things and if I let myself get stuck on everything I don’t like then I become extremely sad. I also have my moments when I get sad out of freaking no where and think I’m better off invisible. Difference is between me and him is that I won’t let myself thinks those thoughts and if I do I pray to God to help me and without even trying I feel much better. I also take pleasure in other things and feel thankful that I have as much as I do; I may not be no where close to what I really want but I know it will not stay like that. I have my habits that I would like to change, but I like myself as a person, and I know I try my best to be a good person and I deserve the best.

I have chosen to be happy. But he really focuses on all the things that suck and looks like he stays unhappy. to me he should do some soul searching and find out more about himself. I (and everyone else that constantly tries to talk him up) can only do so much until he needs to believe it for himself. But other people might disagree with that and think something else may be of help, which leads me back to my questions:
Do you believe that happiness comes from within and that you can’t love someone else without loving yourself first?

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31 Answers

josie's avatar

Happiness is accomplished by action and outcome. It is not a gift.
I have never understood the notion of “Loving Yourself”. It sounds sort of narcissistic to me.
But self respect and self confidence are definite first cousins of happiness.

klutzaroo's avatar

You have to be able to admit to yourself that you are lovable in order to believe you’re truly loved. And to return it.

rhythminme's avatar

@josie well I never thought of it has a ‘gift’ per se and I would say self respect and confidence go hand-in-hand with loving yourself :D (or accepting yourself if you prefer that)

marinelife's avatar

Your friend has a hole inside him that he must fill before he can successfuly have relationships or he will never be satisfied.

rhythminme's avatar

@marinelife thats what I think too.

tom_g's avatar

@rhythminme: “I have chosen to be happy. But he really focuses on all the things that suck and looks like he stays unhappy. to me he should do some soul searching and find out more about himself.”

yes. you are correct.

mazingerz88's avatar

You can say there is a method to achieving happiness and each one of us may have different ways to travel but the path towards it is the same. And you asking a question is a start on discovering that path.

My answer to your question is Yes, you can’t truly love someone else if you don’t love or dont even know how to love yourself first. Loving yourself in this case does not mean you act to serve just yourself, loving yourself in this case means creating a physically, emotionally and probably even spiritually stable version of yourself. If you are not stable, is unwise and ignorant of the proper expressions of affection, how can you have a good influence on someone else, much less love that person?

You are right one must discover oneself first before even attempting to connect with anybody for reasons of happiness or love. Goodluck!

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Mikewlf337's avatar

I don’t believe in that phrase. I think it’s a bunch of crap. In order to feel lovable, one has to be loved by others. To say that someone cant love others because that person can’t love him/herself is a bunch of crap.

Moegitto's avatar

A phrase is a phrase. True emotion and human feelings are something you can’t explain. There are people that do the opposite of this phrase, feeling bad when NOT in a relationship. YOU have to just have faith in YOURSELF.

flutherother's avatar

Love is the integration of two into one. If you don’t love each half you can’t love the whole.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I am not fond of the notion that I have to love myself before I can love another. That seems selfish to me. I have found that it’s when I get outside myself and forget myself that I can fall in love with another. When I’m concentrating on me or—in other words—being selfish, I can’t see the light in other people’s eyes.

As for happiness, yes, I believe it’s an inside job.

By the way, welcome to Fluther.

Coloma's avatar

This is why I will not, ever, date anyone that has not spent a significant amount of time on their own between relationships/divorce.

Those that are prone to overlapping and rebound ‘relationships’ scream NEEDINEES and INSECURITY!

Run, Forrest RUN! lol

gm_pansa1's avatar

i believe you can love someone without loving yourself. As for happiness, that can come from anywhere, but I suppose it helps a lot more if it comes from within.

Mikewlf337's avatar

I must also add this. How can one assume that one completely does not love him/herself? Only the person knows if he/she loves him/herself. That is another reason I don’t believe in that phrase.

snowberry's avatar

If you love someone, but don’t love yourself, it quickly becomes a co-dependent relationship. Not healthy for starters.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Mikewlf337 The concept of loving yourself is not difficult to understand. It’s not acting selfish and it’s not a crappy phrase, it’s simply just taking care of yourself. And hopefully before you can even begin to let others in your life whether they are friends, family or lovers, you would learn how to do that, whether consciously or subconciously.

Loving is more of an act rather than a sentiment or a noble idea. For example, you may say you love yourself but does that by feeding yourself drugs I dont think most people will think you are correct. Also, of course anyone can always assume he does not completely love himself and sometimes having feelings of being unhappy could be regarded as a symptom of that condition, hence this question was raised.

rhythminme's avatar

Thanks all

I’m surprise that so many people think this is selfish ? maybe I should have said accept yourself for who you are or something like that. Whats the problem with thinking you are worth something and saying, hey I have good qualities, I am a nice person, and think I deserve some good things. I do love myself and why not? thats selfish ? :o I mean you are the one that has to live in that body.

And what if everyone loves you and you still don’t like yourself?? is it worth having everyone like you when you can’t stand your presence, think you deserve punishment, feel inadequate, and maybe even want to kill yourself? Should not there be some sort of change going on on in inside thats positive?

also when i say you can’t love someone else without loving yourself first, I also think you can love someone without loving yourself, but then you might keep second guessing yourself and constantly asking the person that loves you, why do you care about me, I’m not worth your time, you should someone better, and so on. and when you keep thinking those thoughts you can push someone away not because you don’t love them but because you don’t think you deserve them, or other things or that nature. I think that’s sad when you keep having to second guess yourself :/

Blueroses's avatar

Some people are addicted to negativity/response. Constantly posting self-deprecatory things in a public forum like a facebook status usually means the person wants to have people come back saying “Oh no. That’s not true. You’re great!”
It might indicate genuine low self esteem but it’s often what we call “attention whoring”.

It isn’t at all selfish to feel you are worthy of being loved. If you don’t have that base, I agree that it’s almost impossible to love someone else. Wouldn’t you always be wondering what’s wrong with that person for loving someone like you?

Mikewlf337's avatar

@mazingerz88 but how can anyone assume that someone doesn’t love themselves.

mazingerz88's avatar

@Mikewlf337 I think anybody who has self destructive ways, mentally punishing themselves without justifiable reason and especially if it is manifesting physically could be assumed as not loving themselves. Those who are doing hunger strikes for a cause are not of this mold though imo.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@mazingerz88 That does not mean that they do not love themselves.

Sunny2's avatar

I stop short at saying I love myself because I know what I do not love in myself. I like myself, but realize that some people do not. I think, rather, that it’s essential to respect and accept yourself before you can feel someone else can love you. Some people are so damaged inside that they never can accept that someone might really love them If you have to continually fill the emptiness of the good feelings of another person, it can be exasperating. And you can’t win, because if you leave, the other person will think and perhaps say, “You see? Even you can’t love me.” If you stay, you have to keep refilling that empty space and that can get very tiresome.

Blueroses's avatar

Excellent answer @Sunny2. I wish I could give you more than +5 for that

stardust's avatar

Definitely. I believe we have to have a strong relationship with ourselves first before we can have a loving and healthy relationship with another. Happiness is an inner thing.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Maybe it’s not so much “love yourself” as ”respect yourself”. If you don’t believe deep down that you are worthy of self-care (which includes proper work and setting goals and all that), then how are you going to be able to share with others? What are you giving to others? It’s not love.

People who don’t love themselves usually turn out to be co-dependent; in other words, depending on that other person to constantly bolster their self-esteem, and that’s freakin’ tiring.

People who don’t love or care about themselves drive others away with their negativity.

Coloma's avatar

I see ‘loving’ ourselves to also mean being genuinely happy and at peace with yourself, your own company. Most of what people call ‘love’ is really addiction. Not being able to feel okay about yourself, secure, at peace, enjoying your own company and solitude at times, is a recipe for disaster in many relationships.

This is why so many people stay in unhealthy and dead relationships, out of fear of being alone with themselves.

We come into this world alone and we leave alone, learn to be your OWN best friend first, then you will have space to include others in a much more authentic way.
From a place of really wishing the share of yourself and your life, instead of some neurotic need to turn yourself over to another for your happiness.

Of course, these wise words come from a ‘mature’ person, I can;t say I felt this way at 20. lol Still, there are a surprisingly HUGE amount of peeps in their 40’s and 50’s that still are ‘desperate’ for that romantic relationship that they see as the only path to soothe their own inner fears. Gah!

I GET the youngsters, but shit…if you are that neurotic in middle age you have some SERIOUS work to do! haha

faye's avatar

I don’t agree at all. I emphatically believe that someone else’s admiration can give anyone a boost that start them thinking well of themselves, and then someone’s kindness can make the same someone feel even better, etc, etc. Self esteem is a stupid catch word. A baby feels good about themselves because they are treated well and truly behave or do things well. Really damaged people are perhaps a hole to be filled but I think everyone else in the world responds to kindness and approval.

Coloma's avatar


Of course, we are herd animals, we thrive on the company of our companions, but…yes, I am talking about the black holes of unresolved neurosis.

Until they heal their split there is no amount of love or attention that will fill the void.

mattbrowne's avatar

50% of your happiness level comes from your genes.

Earthgirl's avatar

I don’r agree that you can’t truly love another person without loving yourself first. But I think it would be true to say that you cannot truly feel loved by another person if you don’t love yourself first. If you don’t see yourself as worthy of love then no matter how much someone tells you and even shows you that they love the person that you are, you will always doubt and question it. You will tell yourself, “oh, he/she thinks they love me, but if they knew what I was really like they wouldn’t!” Self love and self acceptance has to come first in order for you to feel truly loved for who you are. This allows you to show the other person your real self, warts and all. It allows you to tell them about your self doubt, your fears, and the things you don’t like about yourself. When they love you authentically it allows you to have the courage to change some of the negative things. But first you have to accept yourself and admit to yourself who you are. Many times feeling loved empowers the person to change for the better.
As far as loving another person though, I think you can, even with poor self esteem, love someone in a deep way. You can want only what is best for them. As long as it isn’t a clingy, needy, love, but a giving and nurturing love. Obviously it would be a deeper and richer love is it comes from a strong sense of self worth.

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