Why You Should Love Yourself First
by Eliza Edelstein
From a young age girls are taught that to love is to have a crush on a boy or girl and slowly that would develop into a beautiful relationship that may or may not end. But they’re never shown that to love yourself first is the most important thing. I remember my first sort of relationship. It was the summer after 8th grade and I met this boy on the bus going to sleepaway camp, naturally I developed a bit of a crush on him. Apparently he held feelings for me as well so we entered into this clumsy first relationship type thing. However, it didn’t last, it ended painfully and awkwardly and well I won’t go into it but mainly the whole thing dragged on for months on end during my whole freshman year.
And boy did it leave me reeling.
Like the late bloomer I was this was all so new to me, sure I had crushes but this had been my first thing, so of course I was shocked. I had looked to him for validation, for him to say whether or not I was pretty, for him to decide what was good or bad, and for him to tell me what he thought about my actions, my life, my friends, etc. I never realized that instead of looking to him for acceptance I should have been focused on what I thought was good, what I liked or didn’t, and yes I could take some of his feelings into consideration, but mainly I should’ve learned to appreciate myself first before relying on his opinions.
That’s why after realizing this truth, I was so disappointed when people comforted me by saying, “there’s other fish in the sea” or “it’s okay you’ll feel better soon” or “you’ll find love again don’t worry.” Sure it made me feel slightly better, but overall I was left wondering why people never said, “you’re a strong, intelligent woman go take some time for yourself” or “remember to fall in love with yourself before starting a new relationship” or “you’re perfect enough on your own you don’t need another guy to complete you.” It is heartbreaking that girls are not told to appreciate their beauty, their intelligence, their wit, and the millions of other amazing things about them, but to instead fall in love with a guy or girl they’re attracted to and wait for him/her to compliment them because thinking it themselves would show how strong and confident they are, and too much self-confidence means girls are bossy and no guy or girl likes a bossy girl right? Wrong!
It’s this vicious cycle that convinces girls to hide their true personalities, to try and change themselves for a guy/girl, and to bend over backwards to achieve validation. We as women around the world need to learn to love ourselves, and all of our imperfections, no matter how cheesy it may sound. Depending on a guy/girl for validation just ensures that you’ll end up heartbroken because when he/she stops giving compliments you’re left with horrible self-esteem and a need for another guy’s or girl’s approval.
The first step to achieving self-love is this; you don’t need anybody’s approval to realize that you are perfect exactly as you are. Take a good hard look in the mirror and compliment yourself daily. Realize all the amazing things you did, can do, and will do. First and foremost approve of yourself and your actions and if someone else compliments you on them well that’s just an extra bonus. The more in love with yourself you are, the more it shows others how amazing you are as well; it’s like a gateway to the start of a healthy relationship. Step two: Stop comparing yourself to people you see in real life, social media, TV shows, etc. Can you even imagine a world where everyone is the same; same appearance, same personality, same everything? How horrible would that be, it’s precisely our differences that make the world such an interesting place to live in.
The saddest fact of life is that we spend so much time thinking about how much we would change this or that about ourselves and how jealous we are of someone else’s hair, clothes, personality, life, etc., that we don’t even realize that there is someone else out there who is jealous of us! Think about it, the time spent on being envious of what others have, could be spent about appreciating all the things that you have and all the amazing things about yourself. Step three: Give yourself a break. This one may be obvious but still. We spend way too much of our time being hard on ourselves, hating ourselves, thinking negative thoughts about ourselves. Most of the time you need to clear the bad comments from your head and decide to replace them with compliments instead. All in all I wish that more girls knew how special they are, how absolutely beloved and adored they are, how so many people smile at them and think about them without them even realizing it, and how much they have to compliment themselves on that it would fill up a million books.
We are all so exceptional; there is no one else exactly like us anywhere in the world. It’s time for us to start loving ourselves, to wake up each day and think I’m absolutely perfect. The sooner we feel this way about ourselves, the more it lets others know wow that girl is super confident, and she should be look at how many great attributes she has. Because truthfully, the right guy will not back away from a girl with confidence, he will appreciate the fact that you are strong enough to stand on your own and that it just helps him realize all the many unique things about you.
First and foremost though, take some time to spend with yourself, learn what makes you tick, become so strong on your own that you could weather a hurricane, then go out looking for love, and I promise you you’ll find it. So ladies, here is to loving ourselves and working with the amazing attributes we’ve got, and to not letting a boys or girls tell us anything different!