Love Yourself First

Have you ever heard the phrase “you have to love yourself first before you can love another?”  I can’t tell you how many times I heard it… how many people said it to me directly, before it really started to sink in. I’ve learned in the 25+ years since I first heard that phrase, that when it comes to not just love, but happiness and success too, there is nothing truer.  A good life… true love… real success starts with you! So, in prepping for or creating a great relationship, remember…

If you want to have a great relationship, it starts with you!

If starts with the love and respect you have for yourself.  If you can’t love, honor and cherish you, then why would your partner? Or anyone else for that matter?

I know that may seem frustrating to some.  It did to me. I remember exactly where I was sitting with a guy, I had a big crush on during my junior year of college.  He said to me, “You’re not ready for relationship.  You have to love yourself before you’ll ever be able to love another.”  I was hurt, angry, and “crushed” by his words. Only two years later I went on to marry a wonderful college sweetheart and we divorced four years after that.

My conscious mind had no idea how true those words are for nearly 17 years. When I finally got what that statement truly meant, I realized that no matter how much my husband would have loved me, it never would have been enough for me to feel love.  I so disliked myself and I so didn’t believe I deserved love that I continuously felt empty.  If I was really honest, I couldn’t imagine how he could love me – even though he said he did – because I felt so bad about myself.

So began my journey to self-love…  WAIT! If you say, “Yeah, but I’m not like that…”  This article is still for you.  In my programs and with one-on-one clients, I see it over and over again… seemingly confident, powerful people who STILL sell themselves out and don’t even realize it.  One 30 year therapist says, there’s no bigger destroyer of relationships than self-abandonment (that would be the opposite of self-love!)

What’s your relationship like with you?

I heard someone say recently, the quality of your relationship with you determines the quality of your relationship with another.

It’s sooooo true!

Ask yourself… notice….

•    Do you honor your own needs, wants and desires… or do you go along with what everyone else wants?

•    Do you make sure you take care of yourself before you take care of others… or do you self-sacrifice, pouring into others from your own cup which is only half-full or, worse yet, empty?

•    Do you have compassion for your own weaknesses or challenges… or are you critical and self-judging?

•    Do you love yourself… or do you hold back reserving “love” for others but not for yourself?

If you are noticing ways in which you short-change yourself in the love and respect department, get curious… Do you also commonly feel disrespected, unseen, unappreciated, or even unloved in your relationship?  If you’re not in relationship now, have you felt that way in the past?

Could these have been contributing factors in your breakup?

Self-love is the key to success… to greater loving.

It’s available to you now

I can tell you the love, honor and respect I have for myself now is 1000-fold greater than what I had even five years ago.  I moved from a deep place of self-hatred where I was a raging self-critic to the gentleness, tenderness, compassion and love that I have for myself today.  I love who I am.  I so often say now, “I feel blessed to be me!” and I really mean it!

So why don’t we love ourselves? We’re conditioned by words like “good girl/boy” or “You’re bad.”  Criticism can shut down our love.  If someone leaves, we can decide we’re not worthy of love.  We may have gotten the idea that love for us is conditional… and we never meet our own “conditions” for loving ourselves.

You can begin undoing this conditioning, this disrespect and self-judgement by first starting to notice the patterns of interactions with yourself. You might also start noticing how you treat others and know that we almost always treat ourselves much worse than we’d ever treat another.  Then find someone who can help you release this cellular conditioning so that you can permanently clear out the pain and hurt that holds these patterns in place.  When you clear out the root – the whole root – the patterns that block self-love will no longer be needed and will fall away effortlessly… leaving in true relationship with you.

Deepen your journey to self-love today!

Then, and only then, we’ll you truly be a “good catch”.

Here’s to being a good catch!

In love, light and ecstasy,


Joanna Shakti

*At Ecstatic Intimacy, an all-inclusive website for singles and couples, we welcome all sexual orientation(s), gender(s) and relationship expressions. In this article we utilize the pronouns he/she/him/her.

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  1. Dr. Leonard McGill on August 13, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I was once at a seminar when the instructor asked a member of the audience if he loved himself. he said, "Yes." She asked how he knew. He said he knew he loved himself because he knew whatever happened, he would be OK….I thought that was brilliant. Thanks for another great piece. Best, Dr. Leonard

  2. Joanna on August 25, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Thank you Dr. Leonard! I love that!

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