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Self Love

Self Love

Self-knowledge and self-love are prerequisites for any healthy, loving relationship.


The key to quick and accurate dating is to know yourself. To the extent that you understand yourself, you can dramatically increase your effectiveness in choosing your mate.

I teach a man who is a very successful diamond dealer. He's been in the business for over 25 years. I asked him the following question: "If I introduce you to someone who claims to be an expert in diamonds, how long does it take to assess his skills?"

He answered, "In a minute. As soon as he picks up the stones and the instruments, I can tell how much he knows."

A person who doesn't understand depression won't pick up the signs even if they're staring him in the face.

Whatever your profession, if you know it well, you can quickly assess a colleague's expertise. Similarly, it's a known fact that recovering alcoholics are the best detectors of closet alcoholics. Been there, done that.

The same can be applied -- with caution -- to dating. To achieve this, you'll need more than one hour. But I don't believe you need a year.

If you want to marry a happy person, and you understand from your own life experiences what happiness and depression are, you'll see it quickly in the other person. A person who doesn't understand depression won't pick up the signs even if they're staring him in the face.


Some people claim "love at first sight." I'm usually skeptical of such claims. Understanding someone enough to want to love them takes acute perception, time and self-awareness.

The verse in Leviticus 19:18 -- "Love your neighbor as yourself" -- teaches an important dynamic in the art of loving. You can only love another to the extent that you already love yourself. In other words, what I don't or can not appreciate within myself will be lost when present in another.

What's not already beloved to me will never turn me on to you.

For example: If I don't appreciate poetry (at least to some degree), how can I possibly have feelings of admiration for you as a poet? I can love and appreciate you for many of your other virtues -- but not for this particular virtue. What's not already beloved to me will never turn me on to you.

However, if I have the capacity to appreciate something within myself then I'll be able to love the same within another. Even if I'm not a poet, but I enjoy reading poetry and try to and understand it as an art form, can I appreciate your virtue.

Self-knowledge and self-love are prerequisites for loving another. And both of these take time to master.

June 24, 2000

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Visitor Comments: 6

(4) Dominique, May 27, 2003 12:00 AM

Seeing the Light

Everything said here is nothing but the truth. It is common sense. I've been through alot of relationships that have failed and I could never figure out what the problem was. Why wasn't this person loving me? I realized that it wasn't them. It was me and the lack of love that I had for myself. You have to fall in love with yourself before you can fall in love with someone else. You should always be your first love.

Junno, August 15, 2012 4:42 AM


It is true what you say ,I am going on a relation that hurts, I don't feel the love ,I love myself but love him more, not good, sad for me .

Stephanie, June 24, 2013 6:47 PM

How did you recover?

Junno. How did u recover? I feel like I am going thru the same thing. Best regards

(3) Anonymous, August 28, 2002 12:00 AM

I can testify to this

Thank G-d I got engaged to a truly wonderful person recently. It was not love at first sight, and even after I became aware of his beautiful qualities I still did not feel 'attraction'. It bothered me terribly. I had issues with him based on how I viewed myself - I had serious self esteem issues from a lot of negative feedback for most of my life from those that are close to me. I found that by believing him and continually hearing his messages about the qualities he saw in me, I was able to see the good in myself as well and ultimately come to appreciate my financee more fully. It was a process that was painful, but with Hashem's help I came to 'my senses'!

(2) Kenn Pritchard, October 11, 2000 12:00 AM

I am in total agreement with Rabbi David Clyman. I have worked with and counseled youth for many years, and the common thread of uncertainty in teen (as well as adult) relationships is insecurity. If we do not know and understand ourselves, then how can we expect to love ourselves or trust others’ assessment of who we are once they begin to know and understand us? And without loving ourselves, how can we ever accept love from others? We have all heard that if we find ourselves critical of characteristics we see in others, that we should examine ourselves as we often possess these same characteristics. The inverse should also be true; if we tend to admire characteristics in others that we desire, then we should examine ourselves as we might have the same characteristics, a fact to which we might equally be blind.

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