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Have you ever neglected yourself because you were in a relationship?

In December 2019, I got out of an on and off six-year relationship with my best friend. He dumped me on Facetime in the middle of finals week. When I asked him why he suddenly wanted to break up, he replied, “things are too hard.” 

The aftermath put me in a fog where there was no light. I quickly grew numb as I began to push everyone away. I felt ashamed for loving someone who, in reality never loved me. The worst part was realizing that I did not respect myself to walk away sooner. 

After committing to someone for so long, I forgot what it felt like to be single. Once I lost the comfort and dependency from the relationship, there was a void inside of me. I admit I wanted to immediately fill that void because I thought it would alleviate the heartache. However, as time passed, I knew the only thing that could fill the void was self-love. 

Since that day, I have focused on healing and prioritizing myself. I shifted my focus away from the imperfections and started to have a kinder mindset. Recently, I have spent more time away from my phone, specifically before I go to bed. It has been therapeutic to disconnect from my to-do lists and social media. Above everything else, prioritizing my well-being has helped me set healthy habits and boundaries. This was something I never did in the past, and now I realize it was directly related to the absence of self-love.

Personally, I have learned that self-love and acceptance should be celebrated more often. Especially as a curvy female, I struggled with body image and societal pressures from a young age. I recently began to embrace the individual I am during my time abroad in Australia. While I was there, I realized that self-love can sometimes be misinterpreted as being self-conceited. However, there are always going to be critics, whether your intentions are good or bad. 

In a way, the 14th now represents a milestone for me, similar to celebrating a birthday or graduation. I am in a place where now I can unapologetically embrace my individuality and journey. 

If you are single like me and do not have plans, celebrate yourself on the 14th. Treat yourself to those chocolates, flowers, boba, or whatever else you like! We all have journeys of trials and tribulations when it comes to self-love, and that should never be overlooked. 

Dori was born and raised here in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is currently a senior majoring in Communications with a minor in writing. Besides writing, she loves blogging/journaling, photography, and boba!
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