Don’t Simply Love Others, Love Yourself

Flickr / erika arlene enriquez
Flickr / erika arlene enriquez

Loving ourselves sometimes seems a bit impractical. We spend all of our time and energy living a selfless lifestyle, that we tend to fail to consider our well-being. There is always someone who is seeking our advice, taking our time, asking for continual favors and unfortunately, we lose ourselves in the midst of providing for others. However, there comes a time in our lives where we soon begin to register that we our out of everything in stock and we can no longer temporarily provide for others.

This is usually the time where we become drained, mentally. We sleep less because our minds are worrying about the lives of others and the well-being of the ones dearest to us. We tend to take on someone else’s burdens and problems because somewhere in our hearts we feel the absolute right to do so—to not have them handle this chaotic life alone. And as humans, we are in this together, we are connected in each others worries, but that can feel very immense at times.

When do we stop? When is carrying another person’s burdens on our shoulders enough? Is there a right time and place to become selfish? We live in such a demanding society. Our bosses have asked us to work overtime. Yes, the pay is nice, overtime pay always is, but did we really have a choice? Deadlines seem to come to an end quicker than usual. To the college student who is juggling three part time jobs just to pay for their tuition, going to school full time, making ends meet with minimum wage paychecks, maintaining their apartment and finding time to study between it all, do we even have a free moment to even think of the possibility of providing our bodies with self-care and self-love?

Loving ourselves is in fact easier said than done. In all actuality, it is an extremely hard act to do for ourselves. When it comes to loving other people, we never question it. We believe it is our duty to do so, to love our friends, family, and our significant other with everything we have, with all of our strength, whether we believe we have the right amount of strength to do so or not.

It is simple to love others genuinely, because we were taught our whole lives to do so. But no one has ever taught us how to actually love ourselves. We were taught through Nicholas Spark’s novels and movies that we have to rely on other people to love us, but where does self-love come into play? Maybe that is why we fail to love ourselves first, because it is something that no one ever stressed the importance of.

We have to be mindful that between classes, working overtime at a job that we did not go to college for, that our bodies deserve love, from us, first. I have been practicing self-love these past few weeks and I have found to love myself in ways that I would never imagined to find love in. If that is reading a book thirty minutes before I go to bed, meditating, taking a morning bubble bath, or turning off my phone early and falling asleep in front of Netflix, I have found love, contentment, and peace with doing so.

Our bodies need a break—physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we feel that we are using every ounce of strength just to put our hair up in the morning and we forget that breakfast does actually exist, we need to re evaluate who and what we are giving all of our energy to. It has taken me twenty-three-years to understand that who and what I give my time and energy to, says a lot about who and what I find important. I have been tremendously failing at giving the right people my time. I had to remind myself that not everyone who is in your company, deserves your time and is worthy of it. Time is very essential.

It is something that we scarcely take into consideration—that our bodies seek love from our very own selves. However, we hand our time out so selflessly, and by the end of our day, we are left exhausted, and with no time to ourselves. I think that is far from providing ourselves any means of self-love.

The next time you feel like life is taking everything from you, in the realms of it being physically, mentally, and emotionally, remember that you are worthy of providing time to yourself. Find the beauty in laying outside on your front lawn and feeling the sun hit the back of your hands. Embrace the moments where it is nothing but silence around you. If that is eating dinner alone or drinking a cup of coffee without company, cherish those moments to yourself, and indulge wholeheartedly in them. Give your body the same love you would give your significant other, because you are in fact deserving of love, especially self-love, always. TC mark

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