I promise that the photo above has something to do with what I'm about to write. I promise. Anyways, I want to preface this post by saying that I think the whole spiel about accepting and loving yourself before you can love and accept love from someone else, is bullshit. Pardon the language, but seriously, it is total bullshit. Loving and caring about someone else is not some experience that is exclusive to one group of people (people who accept and love themselves) and no one else.
Growing up, there was so much of that mantra in "chick flicks", magazines, books, tv shows, and music. Young people, usually young women, were told that when they are able to reach self-love and self-acceptance, love will come more easily to them. So for years, I struggled to reach this amazing level of self-love and self-acceptance. I struggled with why people I knew who hadn't reached that level were in relationships or were at least dating. I thought, "Huh, maybe I'm doing it wrong?" then as I got older it became "Maybe something's wrong with me and that's why I can't accept/love myself." That dumb mantra made me feel worse about myself and made me hate myself. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me and that I was so wrong that I couldn't even love myself.
It took me so long to realize that that kind of thinking is really really toxic. Loving and accepting yourself is really difficult, especially when you're someone who is outside of the "norm" (white, healthy mental health, stable emotions). The journey to loving and accepting yourself is long and like I said before, difficult. Loving yourself is so much harder than loving someone else. It's easy to say that you love yourself and that you accept yourself for all your imperfections. At the end of the day, I definitely don't think anyone is truly content with themselves yet we still have millions (that's a logical number, right??) of happy and content couples that are in love. Take my boyfriend Court and I for example. When we first started dating, we were both insecure wrecks with my boyfriend probably more so than me. As we continued dating, this mantra of accepting and loving yourself resurfaced on tumblr. I showed it to Court and I think he was annoyed with it because here we were, two people who were insecure as fuck, yet perfectly content and in love. We've gotten to the point where we constantly take and post pictures like the one above. We're both still not completely secure with ourselves, but that didn't and doesn't stop us from having a healthy relationship.
I hope this is making sense by the way. Anyways, my point is that you don't have to stop yourself from dating if you aren't completely secure in yourself. If you think it's necessary, do you, and take the time to focus on you. If you are chastising yourself because of this mantra, maybe taking it to heart isn't the right step for you. Like I said before, it's hard to accept yourself and to love yourself for all your perfections and flaws, but don't think that you have to completely accept yourself in order to be in a healthy relationship. I think that as long as you can find things about yourself that you love, that you are confident about, I think that that's just as good. I don't like myself completely but I still find things to love or accept about myself (it helps that Court is there to help me through my anxious insecure freak outs too) and even then, just surround yourself with good and kind people that you love and admire and it will help you to accept and love yourself. I don't know how to explain that one, but it works.