By Melissa Zuniga
I am who I am and you can hate it or love it. But I sure do love it.
The idea of loving and knowing yourself seems so simple but isn’t something easily done. I constantly have trouble with it, even today. It puts my mind at ease to think that everyone tends to have trouble with this narrative at some point in their lives.
Although there’s no straight path to self-love and self-confidence, you can definitely practice. It’s about going at your own pace and understanding yourself. You need to put yourself first above all else. Check up on your wants and needs to make sure you’re happy and healthy with where you’re at. If you feel out of place that’s great, you need to embrace what makes you different from others. Be more grateful, positive and loving to yourself. It’s great to know who you are and learn to love that about yourself because you deserve your love and affection.
Forget all of the distractions and really think about what’s best for you.
You want to get to know yourself, understand your likes and dislikes. If you know yourself, others have a better chance of trying to know you as well. A suggestion is to put down your phone and turn off your laptop to unplug at least for an hour. Just be in the moment with yourself, maybe go outdoors and get some fresh air. Forget all of the distractions and really think about what’s best for you. After all, you’re you and that’s all you get. You need to take care of yourself because you have your back. But that’s not saying you’re all alone. Surround yourself with people who love and encourage you as you figure things out. All you can really do is love yourself just like others do.
It’s like the saying goes: before you could ever love anyone else, you have to first love yourself. Unfortunately, that’s not where life led me. During my junior year of high school, I fell in love with a beautiful boy before I truly got to know myself. I was 17 years old and unsure of what I was doing with my life. Honestly, I’ve been doing well so far. With his help from time to time, I was able to truly understand myself and eventually fall in love with who I am.
Balance is the center of self-care. I am far from perfect. I have much to work on to become more confident in myself. The first thing I learned was to accept my flaws as they are. My limits have allowed me to figure out ways that make things reachable. College has shown me just that. I was stuck in a bubble during high school, comfortable around the same classmates I’ve been with for four years. When I started college, I didn’t have that assurance anymore. I needed to start over by creating new friendships and figuring out my place in this huge campus.
I’ve worked my whole life, with the help of friends and family, to learn how to truly love and understand myself. My friends from high school and those I’ve met in college are the ones who love me for who I am. My courage has grown tremendously throughout my college career. I follow my heart instead of the footsteps of someone else. As I grow older, going out isn’t as important as supporting my friends and encouraging them to go AWOL to do what they need for their future. The important thing for me with self-care is to take care of yourself as well as others. I believe there needs to be a balance between the two.
To understand me is to look at my life from a different perspective.
To understand me is to look at my life from a different perspective. I’ve accepted that I want to be showered with love and attention, but I need my me-time also. Though I can be needy, my alone time is my very being. It’s when I can be myself: binging TV shows, jamming to music and eating snacks all day long. I realized I’m an introvert and I definitely need a push to become extroverted. I would rather stay at home with my loved ones than be out all the time. But I’m a mix of both depending on the group, and this self-awareness has led me to understand how to care and love myself. I need to do what my heart desires, no matter what other people might say.
Learning to love yourself is a struggle everyone goes through. Once you start practicing, you can give yourself a push that no one else could give you. Through my understanding over the years, I am able to speak out loud, follow my heart and, most importantly, become more confident in myself. I’m far from where I want to be, but I am getting there. With any luck so will you.