From Miriam Mogilevsky, who blogs here at Brute Reason, but posted this elsewhere for no reason:
. . . our society pushes certain types of people down, and then mandates that we all “love ourselves”—and if we fail to do so it is OUR fault. I do think there are things anyone can do to cultivate self-love even when it has been taken away from them, but with every injunction to “love yourself” comes an implicit blame if you do not.
Try to be okay with yourself. Try not to listen when the world tells you that who you are is wrong. Loving yourself and your body can wait, and besides, it’s not necessary for a happy and healthy life.
Damn right. Not to say that I’m in any way an example of someone who’s healthy, but I do love my kids and wife, and they love me, and you know, loving myself, well, let’s not get out of hand.
Whenever I’m told I need to love myself, I feel like I’m being asked to lie, to pretend to feel something I don’t. I spent most of my adolescence being informed continuously that I was lowest of the low and unworthy of even human decency, let alone love, and I learned to believe it. Messages about what it is a man is supposed to be in the media were not at all helpful. And other things happened, too. So I really don’t feel like “loving myself” is a fair expectation, not in any immediate sense.
I don’t at all object to affirmations in a therapeutic context, as one can alter one’s perspective simply by rote (very long and repetitious and tedious rote), but to beat on this canard that “you can’t love someone until you love yourself” is destructive and often a catch-22. Some kind of validation has to start the process.
I’m going to start with learning to accept myself, which is big enough of a lift as it is. Trust me. Love, well my kids and wife need that from me more than I do, and they can have it. All of it.