Debunked: "You must love yourself before you love another" - fake Buddha quote

Rory

Senior Member.
I'm sure we've all heard the line "you must love yourself first, before you can truly love another" - and maybe even tried to apply it - but, notwithstanding the dubiousness of the advice, where does it come from?

Lately I've seen it ascribed to Buddha, with additional text, such as at AZ Quotes:
"You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

https://www.azquotes.com/quote/668841 (http://archive.is/xsBf9)
Content from External Source
The first two sentences appear to be taken from the 1974 book 'The Nature of Personal Reality' by Jane Roberts:
"You must first love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and joyfully being what you are, you fulfill your own abilities, and your simple presence can make others happy."

https://books.google.es/books?id=EQSDq9paZZoC&pg=PT513
Content from External Source
The third sentence appears to be from Sharon Salzberg's 1995 book, “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness":
The foundation of metta practice is to know how to be your own friend. According to the Buddha, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

https://books.google.es/books?id=-M9T8W9-I2MC&pg=PA31
Content from External Source
Nothing in Buddhist scripture, however, matches these words.

How the two quotes became joined together may be as a result of a 2012 blog post at psychology today.com: "The 50 Best Quotes on Self-Love". In the section titled "Love Yourself"...
Love Yourself

1. You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy

2. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection. ~Buddha

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201210/the-50-best-quotes-self-love
Content from External Source
See also: https://fakebuddhaquotes.com/you-yo...tire-universe-deserve-your-love-and-affection for a possible explanation of why Salzberg credited those words to Buddha, as well as other further details (great site)
 
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qed

Senior Member
Hailee Steinfeld Shares Her Go-To Self-Love Quotes

On her debut single “Love Myself,” Hailee Steinfeld preached the power of positivity and self-acceptance by declaring, “Gonna love myself, no I don’t need anybody else.” It was a bold, loud way to launch her solo singing career, and it resonated with a lot of fans who immediately took the song's sentiment and adopted it as their own self-love mission statement.


Now, Hailee is continuing to spread that message by sharing her own experiences with self-acceptance. On Tuesday (Oct. 20) [2015], the 18-year-old took to Tumblr to pen a short but important note to her fans in which she offers some sound advice about squashing negativity and learning to be confident.

...

Hailee went on to share some of her favorite inspiring quotes, which she said she keeps in her phone for easy, convenient viewing:


“You must love yourself before you love another. By accepting yourself and fully being what you are, your simple presence can make others happy.” -- Unknown


“When I love, I love without limitations. But if you betray me, I love myself enough to let go.” -- Unknown


“Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion.” -- Margo Anand


"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection." -- Buddha


She affectionately signed off, “Know that you are loved, Haiz :)”
Content from External Source
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
here in 1979 some Buddhist guy is talking about Buddha's "Love yourself" (page 65) quote and how if you love others without first loving yourself then it is ego.
And they condemn self-love as they condemn nothing else -- and they have made their teaching look very logical. They say: If you love yourself you will become an egoist, if you love yourself you will become narcissistic. It is not true. A man who loves himself finds that there is no ego in him. It is by loving others without loving yourself, trying to love others, that the ego arises.
Content from External Source
http://www.oshorajneesh.com/download/osho-books/buddha/DhammapadVol5.pdf

so maybe its one of those quotes where they 'simplify' it, to get a general idea [of Buddha's] across. I don't want to study Buddha's love 'yourself ideas' to find out though.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Good work! :)

I subsequently found the matching quote in a 1974 'Seth' book, and updated the OP accordingly.

The "Buddhist guy" you mention is famed cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh - now more commonly known as 'Osho' - whose followers were the subject of a recent Netflix series, 'Wild, Wild Country'.

He was a man who played fast and loose with his quotes too - among other things - and I'd say the one he was referring to above is another he's put his own spin on. It's actually chapter 12 of the Dhammapada: a more traditional translation might begin, "If one regards oneself as dear, one should guard oneself right well [...] should establish oneself in what is suitable" as opposed to Osho's "Love yourself [...] establish yourself in the Way."

He was known as "the sex guru" and his followers carried automatic weapons. Not that Buddhist, really. ;)
 
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Bodhipaksa

New Member
He was known as "the sex guru" and his followers carried automatic weapons. Not that Buddhist, really. ;)

He was not Buddhist in any sense at all, actually. He might best be described as "neo-Hindu." He was from a Hindu background but did his own thing. He never identified himself as a Buddhist.

And thanks, everyone, for tracking down the references. I'd already written up the Salzberg quote on my Fake Buddha Quotes site, but wasn't aware of the Roberts' quote until Rory brought it to my attention.

It's great to know that this site exists. Keep it up!
 

Rory

Senior Member.
The third sentence appears to be from Sharon Salzberg's 1995 book, “Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness":

According to the Buddha, “You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

https://books.google.es/books?id=-M9T8W9-I2MC&pg=PA31

Nothing in Buddhist scripture, however, matches these words.​
As pointed out by Bodhipaksa on his own website, the Salzberg quote first appeared about six years earlier, in a magazine called 'Woman of Power' (either issue 12, 13, or 14). In an article titled 'Paths of the Heart: Loving Ourselves', she wrote:
The Buddha said, "Hatred will never cease by hatred, it will only cease by love. This is an eternal law." Hatred here includes self-hatred, this pervasive pain that we face so much. Hatred brings hatred, love brings love. If we can understand this we can discover the meaning of true intimacy with ourselves. The Buddha also said, "You can search the entire universe for someone...[etc]."

https://books.google.com/books?id=1zOyAAAAIAAJ&dq=editions:flS99vNWtwEC&q="search+the+entire+universe"
Content from External Source
While the second quote is, at best, a well-intentioned but questionable alternative interpretation of Udana 5.1, the first is more or less right, coming from verse 5 of the Dhammapada:
Hatred is never stilled by hatred, but only by non-hatred.
This is eternal law.
Content from External Source
"Non-hatred" is not the same as "love" - it's a broad term that could encompass all manner of states of mind and actions - but the word "love" is perhaps more pleasing to our modern sensibilities, and better fitted Salzberg's agenda during the writing of the article and the book.

That said, there are other texts which elaborate on what non-hatred (of another person) might look like, such as sutta 5.161 of the Aṅguttara Nikāya, which advises: developing good will, or compassion, or equanimity; paying no attention to them; or contemplating and understanding why they are the way they are - most of which could be interpreted as "loving".

Nowhere in there, however, do we find support for Salzberg's assertion that Buddha was also talking about "self-hatred" and "self-love", or that he advised we "discover the meaning of true intimacy with ourselves."

'Tis a shame people feel they have to make stuff up to support what are already good and harmless ideas in their own right.​
 
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David Fraser

Senior Member.
Purely anecdotal but I studied Carl Rogers and person centred counselling. The phrase came up quite a lot but not quite a lot that I can pin the source down.
 
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