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Whether you’re in it or not, love is something we all desire. It’s instinctual, it’s evolutionary, and it seems to be almost everywhere. Every song is about relationships. Every main character has a love interest. Every day is someone’s anniversary. However, I have never been in love.

I had a few boyfriends in high school and a situationship here and there, but it was never anything serious. I have always felt too little or too much, and I’ve never had the right balance for something real. This imbalance used to be something that weighed me down. I could never understand why it never felt “right” and my relationships always seemed to end shortly after they began. I racked my brain for all the possibilities; all the things I could have done wrong and all the ways I came up short. I watched my friends fall in and out of love while my love life stayed stagnant. I hated that I cared so much, and then one day I finally asked myself: why do I care? Why do I feel as though I need a relationship? What am I not giving to myself that I am seeking from an outside source? That’s when I realized that it was time to do some soul-searching and critical thinking.

I haven’t always loved myself the way I do now. It’s been a long journey, and there is still a lot of work I have left to do. However, there was a large period of time when I was extremely insecure. I felt like I didn’t fit in and that everyone could tell. I always saw other girls’ beauty as a lack of my own, and I would constantly pick out flaws in myself while admiring qualities in others that I wish I had. Things have changed a lot since that time in my life, but I realized that that need for external validation stayed with me. I was seeking affirmation from others that I was good enough, pretty enough, funny enough, or kind enough. I wanted someone else to show me that I could be loved because I didn’t know how to love myself. 

Ever since then, I have made an effort to change my thinking, especially when intrusive thoughts take over. I started giving myself the things that I thought a relationship would — I take myself out on dates, I take care of my body, mind, and soul, and I treat myself with the understanding and acceptance that I would give to a significant other. I have come to a point where I don’t want a relationship until it’s right. I am not seeking anything. I am not trying to fit someone into a spot they don’t fit into, and I am not willing to be half-loved just to have a partner. I am worthy of love and “someday my prince will come,” but until then, I’m just going to keep loving myself.

So take it from me, and don’t rush your love story. When it’s right, you’ll know, but I promise that taking the time to learn how to love yourself is better than any relationship could ever be.

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Danica Shores

U Mass Amherst '24

Danica Shores is from the small town of Sandwich, Massachusetts located on Cape Cod. She has grown up with with a loving mother, 3 siblings, many cats, two turtles, and a bird. Her interests include yoga, self care, poetry, and taking long walks. Currently Danica is studying as a psychology major at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While she is not quite sure where she sees herself in the future she looks forward to helping others of all kinds.