by Elliot Lyons

Love is the recognition that we can feel differently despite what we think of ourselves, despite how we feel about ourselves. Yet we often hear that we can‘t love someone else until we love ourselves.

These words are meant to refocus our minds and efforts inwards, on trying to be “lovable” instead of chasing love. Self-care is at the center, and that we have to recognize our worth before we can feel love that is based in seeing the worth of someone else.

With self-worth as the foundation for being able to love another person, when it is absent or in short supply we can feel like we can’t love and we don’t deserve it.

We aren’t worth anything, so how could our affection be valued as highly as love, the ultimate?

But maybe it’s because we can’t see it in ourselves that we can see and feel love for others. It’s a projection of our capacity, and a recognition and reminder of everything that makes us feel safe and valued. It’s the person who is living with depression and struggling with valuing themselves that’s reminded of their love for their partner, and themselves, by their partner standing with them during their toughest times.

And with the holidays upon us, it’s the fact that just because someone is struggling with self-love doesn’t mean they can’t fully participate in the love that goes along with the holiday spirit.

As we fly, drive, and take trains to family, friends, and friends who are like family, what would be better than reflecting on how we talk about the thing at its core—love —while we are underway?

And we can start by thinking about how we can, and do, love without first loving ourselves.

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