Operation Brightside: The Habit of Self-Love

Self-love is hard. In fact, it’s probably one of the most difficult habits for college-aged people and teenagers to develop. We have a mess of hormones racing around in our bodies, changing our physical appearances and mental faculties, rewiring our brains and stretching our thoughts in a million different directions. 

To top it all off, we’re in a fundamental and critical part of life. According to older generations, the young years of our lives are supposed to be the best—the times when we shape our futures and set the courses for who we want to be. There’s so much pressure to fit in, do well in school, and stand out from the crowd that it can be almost impossible to answer two of life’s most important questions: who are you, and what do you love about yourself?

It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with these questions, and I attribute a large part of that to the pressures of technology. As a human living in the age of social media, there’s a constant expectation to emulate self-love and put myself out there for people to see online. When I walk down the street, it can be easy to compare myself to those around me; because of social media, it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the physical appearances of everyone and everything.

self-love and swing Content Pixie via Unsplash But appearances aren’t everything. If there’s one thing I’ve learned by examining my mental health, it’s that self-love comes from within. It sounds obvious, as you are loving yourself, but it can be hard when a large portion of self-affirmation comes from the number of likes and comments you get on an Instagram post. 

What I’m trying to say is this: the affirmation of others, while a positive part of life, is not the final key to self-love. Loving one’s self isn’t an overnight development. It is a habit, it is a skill, and (most importantly) it is essential to a fulfilling life and a healthy mind. 

This week, I want you to start developing the habit of self-love. When you look in the mirror, tell yourself one positive thing about your appearance for every negative critique you make about yourself. If you have no negative thoughts, rattle off a list of positives anyway! Speak these positives out loud to the reflection in the mirror, and take a moment to breathe and reflect on them.

Write down ten things you love about yourself, ten things that set you apart and are unique to you. Acknowledge your strengths, and take a moment to care for your physical body as well. Participate in an act of self-care by exfoliating your skin and moisturizing before bed, doing a face mask, or simply giving yourself a mani/pedi! 

By speaking positives to yourself daily and reflecting on what you love about who you are, you can dramatically alter your outlook on life — and just maybe find a way to say “I love you” (to yourself) in the process. 

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