Self Love Coming into the College Environment

Coming to a university can be very scary, especially if the university has a large population and you don’t know anyone. To rectify this fear or discomfort, a lot of students try to become involved and seek relationships with others on the campus. This can look like joining a club or sorority/fraternity, getting a job, making friends with people in classes, going on dates, starting a romantic relationship, etc. These are all positive things that can potentially make college life better, however, often while seeking companionship from others we forget about ourselves as an option.

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In a digital era where it’s easy to see pictures labeled #relationshipgoals with a smiling couple cuddling or #bodygoals with a nearly perfect individual who has unnaturally shiny skin and a perfect body while scrolling down your feed on Instagram, it’s not a surprise that people struggle with self – love. These images and portrayals are everywhere, not just on Facebook or Instagram but, also, in television shows, books, movies, advertisements, etc. In a world where these depictions of people are relevant and streamlined towards the masses from a young age, it’s understandable that a lot of people don’t understand self-love or even know how to love themselves.

My mother and father have always promoted self–love to me. From the messages my mother sends me in the mornings when I wake up, telling me I’m beautiful, to the talks I have with my father about my future and what I’m capable of (according to him, anything I set my mind to). They’ve strongly influenced the way I see and think about myself despite what I see on television and on social media day in and day out. That’s not to say I don’t struggle with insecurities about these things but at the end of the day, I still have the power and resources to love myself by myself. Not everyone is exposed to this type of support.

Self-love is an important subject that should be brought up in middle school when gym teachers are busy giving us sexual education “lessons”. These lessons often revolved around sexual diseases and the rest was abstaining from sex. 

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Somehow, these lessons never included self-love, which tends to be a major factor (even though it may not seem like it) in someone deciding whether or not they’re even ready for sex when the time occurs. Self-love is the knowledge that you may not be ready and inherently knowing that; on the flip side, it’s the knowledge that you’re definitely ready. Even with self – love, the decision a person makes will still vary but loving themselves as an individual can make the situation a little clearer.

The journey to self-love is highly personal and even though others like family and friends can be a part of it, it’s still an individual’s journey. Love is a fluid and optional thing. People have the power to fall in and out of love throughout life which makes self-love a lifelong journey. There are a few things that can be done to start the journey or even stay on track during the journey. Taking care of yourself is one thing. It’s important to take the time to take care of yourself: read a book, take a long shower, relax and take some time for your own well-being.

Exploring your interests is a must-do in order to figure out more about what you may like (hip hop) and what you don’t like (country). Figuring out your boundaries is very important and goes beyond just what you like and don’t like. Boundaries can be what you’re willing to do and not willing to do and can often line up with your values. Make sure to give yourself positive affirmations throughout the week. This can help to boost your confidence. Last, but not least, acknowledging your emotions. You’re human and it’s okay to feel lonely and it’s okay to feel happy. Don’t ignore yourself. Love yourself!

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