Step 1: Love Yourself

What if I told you to look into a mirror right now, and examine yourself and your qualities? How many would you be proud and boastful of, and how many would you be ashamed and embarrassed about? It may be easy to profess your love for other people, such as your friends and family, but do you ever think of the person who you spend the most time with, control, and understand the most? That’s right, it is you! You should love yourself and what you live for with every piece of your heart, even when you make mistakes. You are your own person and your own best friend; you were made uniquely different from every other human being and should celebrate every moment of your life on this earth. I mean, think about it. Absolutely no other human being on this planet is the same as you. You are special, so celebrate it! By learning how to successfully love yourself completely and fully, you should be able to look yourself in that mirror and say, “Hey good looking, I hope you have a fantastic day because you rock!” because that is what you deserve!

Loving oneself can be the most challenging concept to learn and live by. It may seem unnecessary, selfish, or just plain false to some people. I know for a fact that this was one of my biggest challenges in life and still is from time to time. I had a very secluded view of love growing up, and this is where my difficulties stemmed. I would watch movies like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast and think that love meant being swept away by a royal prince and moving into a castle to start living happily ever after. It was all just this fictional, fairy-tale to me, where love is meant only for princesses. Though I may have dressed like a princess every year for Halloween, I never thought of myself as one. I specifically remember one instance, when I around the age of six, where my dad was putting me to bed one night, and he called me a “princess”. I replied, “I’m not a princess dad”, and he said, “Why is that?” I sternly answered, “Because I don’t have a pretty enough face for a prince to fall in love with me.” Of course, my Dad, being the ridiculous man he is, leaves the room and comes back in a prince charming costume, placing his enormous slipper on my tiny foot exclaiming, “The glass slipper fits! You are truly a beautiful princess!” I remember this whenever I feel self-conscious or embarrassed about myself and my qualities. My dad is one of the most influential people in my life, and this simple moment of my youth is just one example of how. He is never afraid of what others think of him, and he wears all his goofy, ridiculously unique traits on his sleeve with a smile. From that day forward, I remember not only dressing like a princess, but becoming one in my own way.

Whether it is Disney princesses, Victoria’s Secret models, superheroes, or sport’s icons, we all desire to be someone else besides ourselves at some points in our lives. Today’s media makes it difficult for young people to accept themselves as being beautiful when they are compared to picture-perfect beings in magazines and television, and no one is alone when it comes to this struggle. In fact, The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report reveals the impact low body esteem has on a woman’s ability to realize her potential, with nearly all women (85%) and girls (79%) saying they opt out of important life activities – such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones – when they don’t feel good about the way they look. Although you may never have the same ballgowns, body-type, or talent as these so called “perfect” people, you can always have an unlimited amount of love in your life, which will bring you 1,000 times more happiness.

Your time on earth is limited; in fact, it is dangerously short. Do not waste your time wishing you were different, but embrace yourself and just live in love and happiness! This is your life, so treat yourself with the most affection as you can. Whether that involves taking a killer selfie or writing yourself love letters, there are hundreds of ways to show your self-appreciation. Before you can adequately love others, you must learn to love yourself.


For the Love of Love!

What is the definition of love to you? Is it a feeling, concept or action? For me, love has a very broad definition, and I see it in every aspect of my life. From the bubbly professors who seem to be excited for class everyday to the gracious gesture of a fellow student holding a door open for me, my heart is warm with love in many moments and for many people. Love is everywhere, and it is the most important aspect of my life. I know what you are thinking: “This girl is nuts!” There is no way love is that prominent in day-to-day life, right? Well, I am going to try to convince you all otherwise with this blog of mine. I am going to give an extensive definition of the word “love” and what it means to me as well as offer advice on how to be more aware of love and how to express it more frequently. Love is more than just the romantic, Romeo and Juliet kind with roses, hearts, handholding, boyfriends, and girlfriends. It is being with someone or a group of people that make you feel warm, happy, and welcomed. It is coming home to your favorite home cooked meal, dancing like a maniac in your room with friends, or even simply acknowledging somebody with a luminous smile. I get it, love is complicated. It is not a light subject that should be tossed around like meaningless nonsense. Its message is powerful, large, and real, so we must learn how to handle it and how to properly use the phrase, “I love you”.

The concept of love did not always play a huge role in my life, however. In fact, I struggled with the idea for a very long period, especially during the first few years of my high school career. Being the youngest of three brothers and having a mother with nine brothers, I have many aunts, uncles, and relatives to share moments with in my life. I would get graduation, birthday, and Christmas cards from all of these people who supposedly “love” me, but for some reason I never used to feel that warm sensation I thought people are supposed to feel. I was numb to the phrase “I love you”. I felt like these words were being thrown around so often and so bluntly that they had no meaning. My parents, brothers, and I are never very sappy or affectionate towards each other, but we would say we loved each other on special occasions, which seemed to be enough for me. I believed that they did because they are my family, and that is their job. I began to question this whole idea of finding love, experiencing love, and feeling love. As I grew, especially recently in my young adult years, I began to see more clearly as to what love really is. What I learned was that people do not tell you they love you if they do not mean it, and sometimes, the word “love” is not even mentioned. Love is not a noun; it is a verb. It is not some concept or magical thing that grows in people, but it is the way humans interact with and treat one another. You show your love for your school when you wear its colors and name. You share your love for someone when you ask how their day was. You experience love every day, yet you might not realize it. So, let us live more, and the love will come naturally. I am not saying everyone must love everyone. That would just be impossible. My goal for this blog is to open the minds of people in modern day society to show more affection towards each other and realize that there is always someone who loves you. With just a little more love, we can make the world a more peaceful, happy, healthy place.

-C. Hart