“Love yourself first.”

For as long as I can remember, people have been giving me this advice – solicited or unsolicited – it did not matter. “Love yourself first.” They’d say. As if I don’t? I’ve never been one of those girls who hates herself. I don’t see the point. If you don’t like yourself, change. It’s really that simple. Grow your hair, or cut it. Lose some weight, or put some on. Get a tan. Exfoliate. Change your polish. Buy a new mascara. And if all else fails, alter your mindset & perspectives.

Anyway, the point is – whenever I was given this advice, I had a preconceived notion as to why. People wanted me to love myself for personal protection & gain. Loving yourself carries this “suit of armor” mentality. We’re conditioned to believe that when you truly appreciate & adore the person you are, nothing can hurt you. Love yourself so that you don’t settle for someone who makes you feel better about who you are, even though you might not like them. Love yourself  so that you know what you deserve. Love yourself so that you don’t let your desire for attention lead you to boys who only want you for sex. Love yourself so that you don’t need anyone else to make you happy.

WRONG.

Recently, I have been talking to an out of towner. Few states away guy is what I called him before – I think. He’s charming, and playful, and into me. But you know what else he is? He’s a unicorn. Because He loves himself.  It took me a while to realize this, but as I was toasting my hamburger bun at lunch yesterday – it hit me. The most attractive, and intriguing thing about this boy is that he loves himself. He knows what he has to offer, and that makes me want him all the more. He doesn’t love himself as a facade. He doesn’t love himself so that it’s easier to sleep alone at night. He doesn’t love himself so much that it is irritating, or egotistical. He knows what he’s good at, & he can admit where his faults are. He speaks his mind, but respects the fact that other people are entitled to their interpretations of what he’s saying. He knows what he brings to the table, and knows who he wants to sit next to him. Because he knows who he is – I know he doesn’t need me to show him. He doesn’t need me to stroke his ego. He doesn’t need me to tell him how wonderful he is. He doesn’t need me at all. And that makes the fact that he wants me so. much. better.

You should love yourself first for many reasons. Because you have to spend your entire life with yourself, for starters – But also so that other people understand you want them around for who THEY are. Not for who you might be when you’re with them. Not because they make you feel better about yourself. Not because you’re unsure of how great you are, and they make you feel worth it. Not because you’ve been told that loving yourself will help you be happier. Love yourself, through and through, so that when someone comes along, they look at you – see you radiate – and want to love themselves, too.

He makes me want to love myself more. He makes me want to speak my mind. To be true to who I am. To drop everything and get on a plane. To fly to the midwest and explore the hills. To convince him to come out West so that I can take him to Tahoe, and pamper him in a fancy hotel. He makes me wish teleporting were real. Not because he’s sexy (although, he is). Not because he’s out of my reach. Not because I’m bored. Or need a change of pace. Or can’t find anyone here. He makes me want him because he wasn’t waiting for me, or searching for me, or trolling the apps & the timelines. Because he didn’t have a pre-packaged idea of the perfect girl.  Because he sees me for who I am, not for who he is when he’s with me. Because he’s driven, and grounded, and a Hell of a guy.

Love yourself first. So that when the right person comes along, they know you are falling for them. Not for the feelings you give them. Not for the checks in the “Pro” column you possess. Not because they’re growing impatient. Because you’re an unnecessary but welcomed addition to their life. Because you’re you.

Love yourself first – for you, but also for all of them.

.xo.

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