“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” ― Maya Angelou
You cannot give people what you do not have. You cannot love others if you do not love yourself. I used to think self-love was a bunch of bullshit. I used to disagree when I heard people say you have to love yourself before you can love others. I so badly wanted to disagree that you can only love others as much as you love yourself. But it is true. We cannot give people what we do not have, we can only give them what we do have. If we do not love ourselves very much, there is not much love we can give others.
Learning this and understanding this was like shinning a bright light on the darkest parts of me. But learning this and understanding this had ultimately changed me. I have learned and grown to love myself more. Now, I can love others as much as l love myself and it is a whole lot more love than it used to be.
I watched a relationship with someone crumble because of this idea. I learned all those times I said I love you I never meant it because I had no love to give. I shared that with this person, because I was proud and excited. I understood that because I loved myself, I had so much love to give. But self-love first is a hard concept to understand when you are buried deep in the shit of not loving yourself.
What I learned from this experience is that my newfound self-love and understanding of how much love I had to give did not make the relationship fall apart. What ended that relationship was the other person’s inability to love himself. When I shared what I learned, it shined a bright light on the darkest parts of him. He did not love himself and therefore all those times he said I love you he never meant it because he had no love to give.
You cannot give people what you do not have. You cannot love others if you do not love yourself. You can call it cheesy, you can call it bullshit, but I just call it the truth.