You’ll Never Receive Love from Someone Who Doesn’t Love Themselves


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Perhaps one of life’s most universal truths is that you cannot pour water out of an empty cup. Both literal and metaphorical – reminiscent of ‘you can’t get blood from a stone.’

In other words, you simply cannot get something that isn’t there. It’s like trying to pay a bill when you’ve got a bank account balance of $0.00.

Yet, we seem to ignore this truth when it comes to dating. Similarly to these examples, if someone does not have love for themselves, how can you expect to find any within them that’s reserved for you?

I am certainly not talking about the type of ‘self love’ where you recite your affection for yourself into the mirror every morning – that, to me, is manufactured and overcompensating for a lack of real true confidence.

I personally view self-love (as ‘buzzwordy’ as it sounds) as a certain calm contentment. A fulfillment that you carry with you in daily life. The ability to feel whole and happy without relying on external sources.

External sources like your house, or your car, or your condo in the city, or your fancy watch, or your Louboutins.

Or, your relationship.

Yet – so many of us try to be ‘fixers.’ We think we can be the one to finally make someone who’s lost see the light. Finally we can be the one who leads them to the surface. Who helps them discover themselves and finally pursue their passions to live a life of meaning.

Here’s the harsh truth: You just cannot.

You simply cannot bridge the gap between someone’s current reality, and their future potential. If they require your presence in their life in order for this to happen, then their actions will not be genuine and will likely be short-lived. And, if you do not end up being compatible, the situation will be more hurtful for you both in the long run – as you will be left emotionally exhausted, and they will be left right back where they started.

The only time two people can come together to form a mutually fulfilling and satisfying relationship, is when those two people are fulfilled and satisfied in their life before they come together.

Otherwise, the person who is lacking their happiness will put all of the pressure on you to create it. You will become the very source of their happiness. Their fulfillment. Their purpose in life. It is one thing to be deeply desired and wanted by someone – but it is a whole other thing to carry the pressure of being the very foundation of their existence. That is not a recipe for a healthy, mature relationship. That is a house of cards.

Do I mean that you need to be well-established professionally, free of worry or concern, and have no personal challenges in order to enter a relationship?

Of. Course. Not.

But, if you feel happy in your life, and thus feel the need to try to help someone else be happy in theirs by fixing or pulling them to the surface, you are more likely to find yourself being anchored down with them.

Remember that you are deserving of someone who has put the same work into themselves as you have. You are deserving of someone who will match your efforts – someone who will swim out and meet you in the depths of love. Someone who is complete all on their own.

You don’t need to complete each other – you will build a complete relationship when you are both complete on your own.


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  1. lonstermash on April 25, 2018 at 1:05 am

    Man, ain’t this the truth!! I used to try to be “the Savior” to a lot of emotionally damaged women in my past, but, as James points out, I was fighting a losing battle. Sadly, as he also points out, I was left very hurt and exhausted after the fact.

  2. Mary on April 25, 2018 at 1:10 am

    This article was a blessing thanks.

  3. roseyreider on April 25, 2018 at 7:31 am

    Just enjoy and appreciate your relationship insights James. A great post about stuff we know but never really take daily cognisance of.

  4. Chiller on June 19, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Man, not only is this blatantly untrue, but it’s downright insulting. People who don’t love themselves CAN love others. Ever heard of people who love others more than themselves? Not every person with low self esteem is a complete mess. it kinda feels like you’re saying that every person like this is just helpless and will never improve. Yes, of course you should value your own happiness too, but that does not mean that you cannot be there for them. Some people need others to love them, before they can love themselves, someone to show them that they really are worth something, and that does not requite waiting on them hand and foot. Yes, some people with this problem can be toxic, I have seen it first hand, but everyone is different. I am one of these people who doesn’t love themselves, and I can tell you that I 100% care deeply for my friends and family, including my pets. My closest friend doesn’t have the best self esteem either, but you know what? We’re there for eachother, we have been there for eachother for years, through some of the hardest times in our lives. I’m absolutely not trying to make myself seem like a saint, but there have been times where I have put my own problems aside, to help a friend in need, and I actually felt better, knowing that they were doing ok. Nobody can just be happy with themselves alone, we all need other people to be happy, because just imagine a life without companionship, without friends, without family, without human contact….it’s a scientific fact that humans cannot mentally handle isolation. Hell, even if you had everything, if you don’t have human contact, you will not be happy. Everyone has their own struggles, some just need more help than others. A lot of people with anxiety and depression have this issue, such as children, parents, your closest friends and family….that does not mean that they are incapable of loving others, that does not mean that they want to cling to you and suffocate you, just so they can be happy. Would you give up on your own child, your parents, your friends? You do have every right to leave the relationship if you genuinely feel uncomfortable, or if they are being toxic, trust me, i’ve left plenty of horrible relationships, and because of that, i’ve gotten better at spotting red flags and standing up for myself, but, just know that not all of them are a lost cause….

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