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self-love
Original Illustration by Gina Escandon for Her Campus Media
Mental Health

Opinions on Different Types of Love

Everyone’s love language looks different. How I show love to my friends is different from how I show love to my family and self. How they all show love to me and others, is different too. The only similarity here is that love is patient and kind. When you love someone or something, you wait. When you show love to someone or something, it’s kind. When we pour love into the air, we breathe in love.

When I hang out with my friends and family, it’s always a cherishable time. With the friends that I’ve developed over time, I can say that I’ve truly felt cared for. Within the past year, I’ve built so many bonds and I’m forever grateful because it’s all been love since. The community that surrounds me, that has accepted me for who I am, has added sprinkles of acceptance to my self-love journey. For that very reason, I express my kindness to them. I show my love and appreciation to others by giving them space, sending memories we’ve created over the years, writing letters of gratitude and giving small gifts, sending messages of encouragement, going on dates, spending quality time together through a phone call or facetime, and showing up for them when I can. I always jokingly tell my friends and family that I am their gift or that our bond is the gift because not everything has to be materialistic. The wonderful thing about love is that it’s free and it lasts a lifetime!

Regardless of my relationship status, I always love myself first before anything else. I honestly cannot see myself giving a part of my heart to someone else if I’m not fulfilled on my own. I make sure that I’m “Miss Independent” and refrain from being codependent on others’ love for me. How I show love and appreciation for myself is by practicing my self-care routine, listening to my favorite R&B/Soul/Pop music, treating myself to food and a movie or gift, decluttering my room, setting boundaries that help me protect my peace, and by saving inspirational quotes and notes that will soon be added to my love jar. But, most importantly, I forgive and extend grace to myself for everything because I am worthy of love itself.

By the way, this whole “cuffing season” thing is overrated. I only believe in long-term love, not short-term. In my opinion, seasons of singleness are true blessings because we don’t have to sacrifice much. The beautiful thing about being single is that we get a sense of individuality. Individuality is so important because it gives us the freedom to focus on our self-love and figure out who we are outside of a romantic relationship. Everyone in this world is lovable and worthy of love. What we all need to do is find the green flags in the relationship we have with ourselves.

Erika is a rising senior Psychology major with minors in Sociology and Spanish. Upon graduation, she plans to pursue a master's degree in grad school. Apart from her academic life, she loves to consistently learn about/promote the dimensions of well-being, advocate for mental health, volunteer, write/journal/self-reflect, do haircare, play table tennis, and watch crime investigation shows.
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