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Take a peek into the mind and experiences of a therapist.

By guest, Mar 20 2014 01:55AM

3/17/14


We have all heard people say, "You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else." I never disagreed with this, but I always thought it was cliche more than anything. There has to be a better way of wording it.


I prefer to explain it like this. It's like. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?... Knowing what unconditional love feels like from within, or knowing what unconditional love feels like from someone else? From an attachment point of view, we should ideally get our first experiences of unconditional love from our parents or caregivers. They give it to us, but maybe not in the deep, understanding way that we crave. The problem with that is, many times, for whatever reasons, their parents weren't able to model it for them, and their parents weren't able to model it for them and so on and so on down the line. So we enter the world feeling as if we need to find love and acceptance somewhere else, whether from a romantic partner or friends or elsewhere.


"Loving yourself" is truly so much easier said than done. It doesn't just come out of thin air. In order for me to love myself, I have to have had someone model that unconditional respect and caring so I know what it is like. I must first experience that outer love, that deep understanding and emotional devotion, even if I witness it from people who are close to me. I then have to trust to take it in, and in return the person shows me that my emotions and experiences are valid and true. When this happens, I can choose to reflect this internally, to truly love myself for my true essence.


This person, our model of compassion, can be from a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, a friend, or a therapist. Whoever it is, that person is an introduction to what true compassion and unconditional love is. But that person MUST be consistently dependable, for us to learn to trust. So if you are out there, yearning to love yourself, choose a person who can be compassionate, validating, and shows true understanding to you. Settle for nothing less, and this will be your key to unlock your true power and love within.


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