By Case Kenny

Do you need to love yourself first?

I’m sure you've heard the common adage that you need to love yourself first before you can love someone else.

I think it goes without saying that you’ll find it much easier to love someone else if you love yourself. Right? No disagreeing with that.

BUT I think we need to check ourselves a bit. There are no rules in life and I've learned that NO… you do not need to be a fully healed, perfectly self-loving human to connect with someone else.

It's entirely possible to love someone before you can say the same about yourself fully.

We need to give ourselves permission to try again, to love again and to let someone else in again. We need to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect before trying again.

A mentality of "I need to love myself first" puts undue pressure on you. It can take a long time to fully love yourself, to heal from heartbreak and to "figure out" life.

If you're expecting those things of yourself today and you're waiting until you do to try again… I think you’re waiting too long.

You don’t need to be a perfectly healed, perfectly self loving, confident person to love someone else.

AND... you don’t need to be that person to receive love from someone else either.

You can date and you can love. You can explore and you can connect... while you're still healing. You can date and you can love while still growing your self love for yourself and amidst discovering yourself.

Think about your friends.

You wouldn't say you can only love your friends and you're only worthy of their love once you’re healed or once you love yourself fully, right? I don’t think it’s a stretch to say the same in dating.

It's not fair to YOU to expect that you need to become "perfect" before finding perfect love.

Making sense of the world, understanding yourself and overcoming insecurities can take a lifetime. You don't need to put a wall up until you have it all figured out.

The greatest gift you can give yourself is simply letting your guard down a bit.

Respect yourself and your time and acknowledge when you’re ready or not ready… but it's important to keep pushing yourself to realize that you don’t need to be perfect to receive love or to give love.

You don’t need to be perfect to be worthy of receiving someone else’s love. As much as I don’t think you should look for a relationship to complete you… I do believe in the healing and growth power that a relationship can give give you.

Sometimes that's exactly what you need to find a piece of you, to heal a part of you or to level up in some way.

You can love yourself before, during or after loving someone else. There's no right order to these things.

In the grand scheme of things, yes... if you love yourself FIRST it makes loving someone else easier.

It removes a lot of uncertainty because you’re more centered in who you are and what you deserve. You're not looking for validation in someone else.

But don’t put yourself on the bench for too long.

Do your best to love yourself, put in the inner work, take the time you need but always remember that a rule like "you need to love yourself before you love someone else" is not always true.

Sometimes what helps you figure it out is stepping forward when all the advice says to step back.