Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Some may think this is a controversial thing to say. I have received some confused responses, and I have received opinions that go against this statement. To me, nobody can ever love you as much as you love you. Does this mean that nobody loves you? No. Does it mean nobody will ever love you? No. It means you have the potential to love you more than anyone else can ever love you. It means you have the ability to survive through things. This is evident because you are here with me, and surviving is a form of self love. Getting up every day, preparing yourself for the day, being certain to eat and have your belongings prepared for the day are all examples of self love. Nobody can make you do any of those simple things I just listed. You can be encouraged to by a parent, you can be held accountable by a partner, but it really comes down to you doing what you need to do for yourself for you to get to where you need to go, or from point A to point B. You have survived this world up to this moment, and for you to have done this, you have to have love for yourself, whether you term it as such or not. This statement is meant to challenge you, and it is meant to be a starting point for a more in depth communication, and it is not a statement that you have to fully believe, for now. The intention is to encourage your self exploration and it is to encourage you to embrace how far you have come to be where you are here today. If you question the “how far you have come” statement, within your mind or out loud, I want to also say that the self-criticism is also a form of self love.
The statement, Nobody can love you more than you love you, encourages you to explore what you feel you have not done yet for yourself. Your internal criticism stems from YOU knowing YOU can do more than YOU are doing right now. Let’s communicate with this part of you, shall we? Whatever it may be, you can explore right now what you think and feel the next step should be for you to feel as though you are taking steps forward. A mantra I often use is,
“As long as you are taking a step forward each day, inside you should allow for good things to say.” - Charles Mendler
Giving yourself permission to feel good about the small steps you have taken towards a specific goal is essential. You love yourself, but the love does not always have to be tough love. You want to have a mix of tough and encouraging, strengthening and challenging, and finally, mature and childlike. We want to reward ourselves as though we would reward a child, sometimes. We can act immature at times. So often, many of us may find ourselves whining with someone we care about, or maybe it is you who has to speak whineese because your partner or child continue to use this tactic. We have the right to give in to this tactic, and we have the right to feed the urge to seek a childish form of attention within ourselves. We love ourselves, whether we accept this or not, and us allowing ourselves to reward ourselves for the progress we make is a way for us to heal that inner child within us.
Many of us received harsh parenting as children, at times or often, and this can be the reason why we are so harsh on ourselves. Many will say they are their toughest critic, but those who received harsh parenting can often be tougher on themselves more than someone who did not receive the same parenting. This is not always the case, but it is often the case. This does not mean we have to follow the same harsh tactics with ourselves. We have the ability to show “loving love” and not just “tough love” with ourselves. Many of us have endured trauma because of the ones who were supposed to protect us. Enduring abuse and experiencing trauma taught us that it is okay that we hurt or endure pain. For many of us, it taught us that we do not deserve love. Survivors have shown they will do at least the bare minimum to survive. This can mean someone makes sure he or she has a place to stay, eats enough, and attempts to socialize with the outside world. Surviving what we endured shows strength, resiliency, and self love. Doing the bare minimum, after surviving difficult times, shows self love, but it may not feel this way, or be defined this way, because the individual knows he or she is holding back. If any of this relates to you, and you know you are holding yourself back, you knowing there is more for you is a form of self love. Nobody can love you more than you love you. Nobody has the ability to love you as much as you can love yourself.
I encourage you to assess what it is you feel you can do to improve the way you treat yourself. I encourage you to be mindful of how you can allow yourself to tap into the child within you and be open to rewarding the child within you. This does not mean for you to spend all of your money or be reckless with your body, but it does mean you take some time to remind yourself of what you used to love doing. Be open to creating again. Be open to dancing again. Be open to laughing again. Be open to loving again, but let’s start with you feeling good about you saying you love yourself. I encourage you to be open to telling yourself in the mirror, while looking directly in your eyes, “nobody can ever love you more than I love you.”