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Love is like a potent drug. It’s addictive, the withdrawal is painful, you are blinded and it makes you go into denial. The worst part about love is losing yourself in the process, which is why self-love should be achieved before you can love anyone else. I learned the importance of self-love tragically and unpleasantly: getting my heart broken several times. At the beginning of 2022, I began my self-love journey after endless disappointments and betrayals, and it was the best decision I have ever made. It is not an easy process, but I want to share some of the key concepts and actions that are helping me prioritize my feelings over anyone else’s.

don’t settle

I know the last thing anyone wants to hear is “if he wanted to, he would.” It took me years to make peace with the fact that if a person truly wants to talk to you, they will. If they actually want to see you, they will. Forcing someone to give you attention and notice you will only make things worse. Why would you want to be involved with someone who doesn’t want to be involved with you?

If someone wants you, a “wyd” text at three in the morning is NOT how they will show you that. Don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt because they remembered you exist at three in the morning. I hate to be harsh, but we all know what they want you for at that time. If that is what you want them for too, that’s great, and you should go for it, but do not take that as someone caring about you. If they care about you, you would be getting texts asking how your day was or how your class went, not “what are you doing” in the middle of the night.

know your worth

If you are not being treated the way you know you deserve, you need to make it known. Do not be scared to come off as rude or selfish because caring about your time and emotions is not the same thing as being self-centered: it’s a necessity. If someone keeps Snapchatting you only when it is convenient for them, and they KEEP coming back to you, honey, you’ve got to tell them off. Your presence is not there for anyone’s convenience—you will not be used like that. I get that it can be flattering when someone keeps choosing you, even if it is as their backup—I get it. That being said, separate flirting from manipulation.

Don’t let the ego boost benefit the other person. You should feel amazing when someone flirts with you, because you are terrific, but it is important to notice why they are flirting. If they want you for you, they will talk to you about your favorite book, your classes and laugh at your jokes. Do not fall for them just because you are receiving compliments. You have so much more to offer than your body.

If you feel betrayed or lied to, tell them. Take it from someone who hates confrontation. Calling men, or anyone, out on their lies and manipulation is the best ego boost there is. You are essentially giving them a taste of their own medicine. Letting someone get away with that kind of behavior will only make them more powerful.

you are the main character

Life is your movie, and you are the main character. The friends you make and the relationships you have add a plot to that movie, but they should not take away the focus away from you. I believe everyone is replaceable, but it is all a matter of whether you want to take that risk in replacing them. This is not about a best friend that did you dirty once and you just suddenly cut them out without warning or explanation. It is about toxicity. If someone brings constant negativity, why keep them in your life?

I am quite the expert on dealing with toxic people, more specifically toxic men. I was essentially lied to and manipulated on and off for a year, and every time I decided to go back, it broke me a little more. I finally began to stand up for myself and realize I am not only beautiful physically, but also mentally. Giving up on people who do not appreciate my feelings or actions is the best thing I have done for my mental health.

I have been in love once in my life. Frankly, this self-love journey was triggered by that person disappointing me one last time. It took me months to snap back into reality because, like I mentioned earlier, love is a very powerful drug. I am thankful for everything I learned throughout the experience. Truthfully, there were other times I thought I was in love, but I now realize I wasn’t. As painful as it was to force myself to move on, I have not looked back. The happiness I feel is indescribable because I am the source of this happiness, not anyone else. I no longer let a Snapchat or a text from someone determine my mood.  

let it out

Even though I am in a great place right now in my self-love journey, it took a lot for me to get here. One of the things that helped me, and continues to help me, is letting it out.

Journaling helps me process my feelings more constructively. I can read back on my thoughts, unsent messages and rants, and I can conclude why I am feeling that way and what I can do to move forward. I prefer to write things out. I have a journal on my nightstand and a section on my notes app specifically for some last-minute urge to let things out. As much as I love talking to my friends about my thoughts, sometimes opinions are the opposite of what you need to be able to process your thoughts properly.

Music has been the best outlet for me. Whenever you want to cry and let it out, the right song can help you with that. Here are some of my favorite songs for each stage of the process.

heartbreak:

-“When We Were Young” by Adele

-“Favorite Crime” by Olivia Rodrigo

-“Wasted On You” by Morgan Wallen

-“La Canción” by Bad Bunny

-“Once in a Lifetime” by One Direction

-“Coaster” by Khalid

“All Too Well (10-minute version)” by Taylor Swift

-“Right Now” by One Direction

-“Feel Like Shit” by Tate McRae

-“Traitor” by Olivia Rodrigo

moving on:

-“Tuned In Freestyle” by Megan Thee Stallion

-“Truth Hurts” by Lizzo

-“I Bet You Think About Me” by Taylor Swift and Chris Stapleton

-“Megan’s Piano” by Megan Thee Stallion

-“U Suck “by Emily Bear and Ariza

-“Ain’t Sh*t” by Doja Cat

-“Good 4 U” by Olivia Rodrigo

-“Lo Que No Sabes” by Danna Paola

-“Better Man” by Taylor Swift

-“Breadwinner” by Kacey Musgraves

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Hi! My name is Valentina, but everyone calls me Tini. I am majoring in Media Communication Studies at Florida State University. I am originally from Argentina and have had the pleasure to live in Mexico as well. I love exploring different cultures and I encourage you to do the same!
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