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If you don’t love yourself, don’t panic! My problem with “inspirational” quotes & musings on self-esteem

If you don't love yourself

I don’t often use this blog as a platform for a rant, but I’m going to on this occasion! There was one particular so-called “inspirational” quote that really got me riled up enough to write about it. This is what it said: “If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you?”

To be honest, I expect someone sat down at their graphics programme and mis-remembered the more popular version: “If you don’t love yourself, how are you going to love anyone else?” Maybe they are meant well, but they definitely weren’t written by anyone who has suffered from self esteem issues, nor have any empathy with anyone who struggles to like themselves. In fact, they are being downright unhelpful.

inspirational quotes

‘She can be quite nice, but oh my god, she really loves herself.’ This was perhaps one of the worst insults thrown about at the girls’ school I went to. Loving oneself was most definitely not seen as a good thing for my generation. The lot that came after us, fashionably known as the millennials, however, are apparently smothered in self esteem, having been told how wonderful they are and how they can do anything they choose with their lives. When they become old enough to discover this isn’t true though, it’s a bit of a shock to the system. When they start having children, hopefully a healthy balance will be found. In the mean time, everyone around the age of forty are probably struggling with the fact that we are now supposed to love ourselves. It’s quite an adjustment going from something that is so bad, it’s literally an insult, to something that’s applauded; expected even; to the point of finding these quotes about self love in our Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram feeds.

I’d like to ask the people who come up with these quotes whether they really think they are being helpful. Do they even care? Or are they just writing a sound-bite that might bring them lots of likes and shares on social media? Because actually, they are probably making everyone with low self-esteem feel even worse about themselves. We are just left thinking, ‘Oh my god, no-one is ever going to love me, and I’m never going to be able to love anyone else.’ Both of which, by the way, are utterly ridiculous and down-right lies. You may have gathered by this point that I have low self-esteem, and am still a long way from loving myself, but my husband and my family love me, and I know I love them back with all my heart. So when you come across these stupid sayings, just ignore them!

You do You

One saying that does pop up now and then and is a bit of self help advice that I do actually like, is ‘You do You.’ Meaning, that everyone’s adventure through life is completely different and you have to do what’s best for you. I am slowly making time to learn how to love myself, and although at this point I’m not sure I’m ever going to get there, I’m definitely making gradual steps towards it. Self help books might help. I bought one called The 21 Day Self-Love Challenge. I haven’t finished it yet, but it’s a nice light read that you can dip in and out of, but unfortunately it seems to be out of print and I can’t find it to link to for you.

If you are feeling so low about yourself that taking the time to read a helpful book feels like too much effort; believe me, you are worth the effort. I also found that searching ‘self confidence advice’ on YouTube and listening to random videos on the subject whilst getting on with other things was really helpful and boosted me up ready for the Next Blogger Network event I went to last autumn. (I wrote more about how to go to a blogger event as a shy introvert here.) Yeah, so basically what I’m saying is, when you’re scrolling through your phone or laptop or tablet, ignore the pointless things that aren’t helpful and only pick up on the ones that you find are genuinely useful and inspirational to you.

And actually, I suppose I’m also reaching out to those people who just click ‘share’ without really giving it much thought, and maybe, please take a second to put yourself in the position of a person these quotes, sayings and cartoons are aimed at, and decide whether what you’re sharing is actually going to help.

Thank you! And feel free to use the comments below to rant about other quotes that get on your nerves!

PS. If you are enjoying my content, I would appreciate it SO much if you could vote for me in the UK Blog Awards. Please follow the link and just click ‘Vote Now’ under When I Grow Up Blog. Thank you. xxx

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2 Comments

jodie filogomo

That’s so interesting that you interpreted it this way. That’s why I love hearing other’s opinions, because a different perspective is always good.
I think my favorite quote is you can’t pour from an empty cup. Not as much about loving yourself, but taking care of yourself. Which maybe then leads you to loving yourself??
XOXO
Jodie
http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

Reply

Helen

Hi Jodie,
Glad you find my post interesting 🙂 I think the feeling behind these quotes kind of mean well in that they are encouraging us to love ourselves and take care of ourselves, which is definitely a good thing. I just don’t think how we feel about ourselves necessarily reflects on how well we can feel or care for others or how well they feel or care for us! I hope that makes sense!
Thank you for stopping by 🙂
Best wishes
Helen

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