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Do you really need to love yourself before you love someone else?

Although a significant other can provide you with emotional support and love, learning to truly love yourself comes from within. – Photo by Hayley Slusser

Love, although tough to come across, is still possible to find in our generation. All over social media, self-love has become a huge focus, especially when considering a relationship. 

We are always told, "You can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself," and personally, I believe this to a certain extent.

Everyone has different situations but, more importantly, unique personalities. Many people are at different places when it comes to self-love and how confident they are about themselves deep down.

There are many people who are so deserving of love and are very much capable of loving someone, even if they don’t have the best relationship with their own self.

I’m a firm believer in the idea of “to each their own" and acting according to the circumstance. In some instances, some people can and have grown significantly in a relationship. They uncover aspects of themselves that they otherwise have never acknowledged before as a result of their partner’s positive actions and supportive attitude.

But, on the other hand, there are some people who are meant to take time to figure themselves out before jumping into a relationship.

From my experience, being with the right person makes a huge difference. When I started dating my current boyfriend, I didn’t have nearly enough self-love as I would've liked. There were many times that I found myself feeling insecure and anxious over small things.

I soon realized that in order for our relationship to thrive, I needed to work on myself. Although he was patient and supportive, we had difficulty understanding one another at times.

But through these issues, he still encouraged me to be my best self, and I encouraged him as well. After lots of communication and self-reflection, we had found a way to grow together — by working on ourselves.

I feel like this concept may not seem so easily attainable, but in a relationship that seeks only the best for the other, it just makes sense. Being with him made me realize how much I needed to change — not just for him but, more importantly, for myself.

This isn’t to say that I felt pressured by him to change. It’s more about looking deep inside to reflect and dissect what you want to make better. By bettering yourself, you can improve your relationship.

My boyfriend encouraged me to appreciate and love myself as much as he appreciates and loves me.

Now, I don’t want to encourage reliance on your partner for validation or constant reassurance, but instead, interpret it as a gentle reminder. Although a relationship includes effort on both ends in order for both parties to thrive, it’s good to acknowledge that you're also a priority.

When you are with the right person, they’ll respect the time and space you need to work on yourself without caring for or loving you any less. 

I found ways to love myself every day. It was (and still is) a slow process — I’m growing to this day — but in the end, it's incredibly rewarding. Taking time for daily affirmations, like “I am beautiful," "I am healthy," "I am strong,” or listing off a few things you admire or love about yourself can go a long way.

In a relationship, I’ve found that it’s beneficial to maintain your independence. Everyone has work that needs to be done on the inside, and it can be done with or without a partner.

Sometimes, just taking time to breathe, meditate or relax can be a form of self-care. Learning to be kind and patient with your own self is so beneficial. Finding ways to appreciate and love myself has made my relationship even better and has made me happier.

Whether you’re single, talking to someone or full-fledged dating, self-care should still be a priority. There’s no rule that states you are required to love yourself before getting into a relationship. Sometimes, people just need a nudge in the right direction by the right person, but it doesn’t hurt to start working on yourself — taking baby steps or putting effort toward loving yourself just a bit more can do wonders.

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