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Mental Health

Self-love: The Ugly Sister of Self-Care

Self-care is wonderful and necessary and important. It looks slightly different for everyone, but we all know the stereotypical self-care activities. If someone is having a self-care night, they might be taking a hot bath, doing a face mask, going for a walk, watching a movie, or lighting some candles and playing music. All of these activities are great for winding down after a long day. They’re grounding and relaxing. As someone with anxiety, I find self-care to be a really important part of my day to destimulate my brain and recenter. Self-care is pretty. It’s usually aesthetic, simple, and somewhat easily achievable. 

 Self-love, on the other hand, is not so straightforward. An act of self-love isn’t always cut and dry. It’s messy, ugly, and can be extremely hard. Self-love is going to therapy and working through your trauma, despite the tears that come with it. Self-love is setting uncomfortable boundaries with your loved ones. Self-love is breaking up with a toxic partner, even though you love them because you’re learning to put yourself first. Self-love is not something that you can copy from a youtube video or do in one night. It evolves as you grow and looks different with each year. 

While self-care is never going to hurt you, self-love might. It can’t promise to always be kind, but it can promise to be in it for the long haul with you. We, as a society, talk about self-care all the time, yet self-love remains tabooed and radical. I believe that self-love has longer lasting benefits than self-care, and can more appropriately address the root of an issue that may be present. Self-care can certainly make you feel better or more relaxed for a short duration of time, but practicing self-love on a daily basis is equally as important. It will lead to noticeable growth in your character over time.

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Gracie Bell

C of C '24

I am a sophomore at College of Charleston majoring in psychology and sociology. I grew up in Ridgefield, CT, but have traveled to over 15 countries (I even lived in the Netherlands for a year and a half!). I enjoy writing poetry, running, doing yoga, and reading.