This one has been found attributed to the Buddha in a number of books, blogs, Facebook posts, quote sites, graphics, and so on. To anyone familiar with the Buddhist scriptures it’s quite clearly fake.
It’s often found combined with an entirely separate Fake Buddha Quote, the two together looking like this:
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.
Thanks to a reader called Rory for bringing this one to my attention.
The second part is a Fake Buddha Quote from Sharon Salzberg, which I’ve dealt with elsewhere.
For the first part of the quote, I found a link to a New Age author called Jane Roberts, who claimed to be channeling some entity called “Seth.” No offense to any Seths out there is intended, but that strikes me as being a rather lame monicker for a spirit guide. It’s better than Nigel or Brian, though, I suppose. Incidentally this isn’t the only fake Buddha quote that was dictated by a spook. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” is another.
Anyway, Rory did a bit more legwork and found that this is from Roberts’ “The Nature of Personal Reality,” which was published in 1974. There it’s found in the form:
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.
On a website called Metabunk, which debunks fake quotes, Rory shared the origins of the two quotes and he also (bless him) showed that the two quotes were probably combined as a result of someone misreading a 2012 Psychology Today blog post on “The 50 Best Quotes on Self-Love.” The quotes are found listed together, with the first being unattributed and the second attributed to the Buddha. Presumably someone copied these and combined them, not noticing, or perhaps not caring, that they were originally separate.
You’ll notice that in the Psychology Today article the first quote lacks a period so that the two quotes are run together ungrammatically. The AZ Quotes (or Lazy Quotes) graphic above faithfully maintains this error.