Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Baylor chapter.

Do you remember third-grade lunch? You would get an apple, run back to your friends, and start twisting off the stem. You would pray that you could pull off the stem on the letter S (everyone knew that your crush’s name started with an S, of course). Maybe you remember your sixth-grade history class better? Your friend group gathered together in the back corner of the room ready to play MASH to see if you would be marrying Steven, Timmy, or Channing Tatum. Finally, look back at your “glory days” in high school. Did you constantly look for a boyfriend? Maybe you went on a lot of dates or had a new number on your face at every football game. I know I did. For as long as I can remember, I have sought out romance. I have always been in love with the idea of being in love, and I am willing to bet you have too. 

We live in a society centered around romantic relationships. There is so much pressure on young people to be in serious relationships by the time they are 19 to 20 years old. This societal expectation is clear in the hundreds of dating apps, celebrity news, and the millions of questions family ask over the holidays. When did we become a society who is so obsessed with relationships that we no longer encourage people to love themselves? Pursuing yourself is an art, and here is how you can start.

Stop Looking to Others for Fulfillment  In an era of social media and posting everything online, it can be difficult to not look for validation from our world. More than that though, we have been taught that getting into a relationship will make all of the “bad” just disappear. Constantly, we expect our romantic partners and friends to “make us happy” or maintain our good moods. How can we expect someone else to create our happiness? It is like asking someone else to breathe for you. Simply impossible. Try to become more comfortable and comforted in the confines of yourself. You are completely and totally filled with yourself, and you can be the reason for your own happiness. Fulfill yourself, rather than looking to others to do so. 

Find Your Own Joy in Life Often, we find ourselves attending events, partaking in hobbies, and pretending to enjoy things simply because the people around us do so. Additionally, we live in a society that constantly tells women what to do, like, say, and feel. However, it is so, so important to find things that you love. Things that bring about true joy in your heart. For example, I take alone time each week to explore my creative mind. I go out and paint, write, or take photos. However, I have started to spend more time doing other things that make me happy. I go to the movies alone. I take myself out on dates. Truthfully, I have found so many ways to seek out joy for myself, rather than pretending for the people around me. So, find things you love and do them for yourself! I guarantee you will not look back on your life and wish you hadn’t. 

Prioritize Your Own Well-being It is hard to say no to people. It is hard to let your mask down. It is hard to worry more about yourself than others. But it is necessary to prioritize your well-being if you intend to grow as a person. Think of all the times you have felt worn-down or not-quite-there. Could those feelings resolve if you had taken the time to listen to your body and soul? I, personally, struggle a lot with giving myself the attention I need. Recently, I have been struggling a ton in my personal life with family issues, stress, and schoolwork, but I kept pushing myself to do more and more and more. Then, I realized I was tired, exhausted, and I had not attended to my own needs. Ultimately, it is so important to recognize that you are the only you there will ever be. You deserve to be cared for all the way to your soul. Moreover, you have to be the one to put your foot down and prioritize yourself. If you don’t take the time to love you, no one else is going to. Your mind, body, and soul need your attention more than any external force ever will. 

Find Ways to Fall in Love With Yourself Every day Love yourself. Love yourself. Love yourself. I feel as though this is the hardest thing to ask of someone, but give it a try (even just for the 12-year-old girl you used to be). Seek out the perfect imperfections. Look at how your eyes shine in the sun. See how your smile lights up a room. How your voice lights a fire in everyone you speak to and your soul tickles the hearts of those around you. Love yourself. You are a beautiful force to be reckoned with, and you deserve to empower and cherish every single inch of you there is. 

You are worthy of love 100%, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pursue yourself first before you are pursued.

Jacobi Reynolds is a photographer and senior Pre-medical Biology student at Baylor University. She is from Henrietta, Texas, just south of the Oklahoma and Texas border. When she is not studying or taking photos, she enjoys exploring new places, painting, and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite things are the color pink, dogs, pizza and going to the movies.