Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Many people attribute the successes of their life to how good the relationships in their life are. People try hard to make their family proud, friends consistently check up on each other, and significant others are flaunted in public and on social media. As an intrinsic human behavior, this is actually really sweet. I love watching these pure moments happen as people enjoy their lives with others. Yet, so many of us find ourselves destroyed under the stress of our family’s expectations, constantly worried that all our friends hate us or convinced that we’re not good enough for our partners. Why is it that we fail to improve our relationship with ourselves? Why are we motivated only by the desires of others?

Maybe the answer is hidden in our history. We are pack animals, after all. Or maybe it is society that persuades us to believe we need to be liked by everyone in order to be liked by ourselves. Either way, I don’t believe the answer is all that simple. We are complex sentient beings. Maybe being introspective is necessary for us to have better, more fulfilling relationships. Once we understand ourselves, we can begin to love ourselves.

Being comfortable doing things by yourself is a big task in and of itself, especially in college, where everyone is trying to learn who they are whilst still having to be a functional adult. These are some things I am trying to implement in my self-love journey.

1. Run Errands Alone

The first step is to learn to exist in the real world alone. It is really easy to associate yourself with who you are when you’re with your friends, especially coming right out of high school when friend groups are attached at the hip. High school friend groups are very cliquey and labels are still so prevalent in the social scene, so many people tend to adopt the personality that they left high school with. Personally, I used to and sometimes still do feel so anxious when I leave my house without the support of someone else by my side. Learning to take on normal day-to-day tasks, such as grocery shopping, going to do laundry, or making dinner, will give you a sense of accomplishment and control over your life. It’ll reassure you that you can be a functional member of society–and a productive one at that. This is a good starting base because it can put you out of your comfort zone without attracting too much-unwanted attention.

Canon Iced Latte Sightglasscoffee
Amy Cho / Spoon

2. Find Passion Projects

Hobbies are so much fun. They’re like little expressive activities that can bring out different areas of your personality. Whether it be reading, sports, or crafts, hobbies can reveal talents or interests that you didn’t even know you had. And more than that, they can give you something enjoyable to do when you’re alone. I thoroughly enjoy sitting outside on a breezy morning curled up with a book or plugged in with headphones trying to find my next favorite song. I find that I like spending more time with myself because I know I get to do something I love. Eventually you’ll choose to work on your passion project instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or overthinking your impending downfall (which I tend to do if my mind is left unchecked). Pretty soon, you’ll be associating “alone time” with something positive and entertaining.

3. Take Yourself on a Date

Enjoying your own company really comes down to self-love, which is an ongoing and extensive trip. I find this step particularly tricky because it can be daunting to do group activities alone, and sometimes it feels like everyone is secretly judging you. The reality is that no one pays nearly as much attention to you as you think because they’re all more worried about themselves. Something small such as having a picnic or going for a walk would be super easy to start with. With time will come confidence and comfortability, and eventually you’ll be able to take yourself out to lunch or go on a day trip and explore.

As linear as these steps seem, this process really is unique and everyone finds their way to loving themselves differently. It takes lots of time and patience with yourself and I am definitely still working on enjoying being alone. Nevertheless, it is so rewarding to unfold different facets of my personality and really put in the effort to understand myself. As contradicting as it sounds, putting myself in uncomfortable situations has eased my anxiety whilst increasing my confidence and independence (I guess exposure therapy really does work!). The journey is wavering, so don’t be easily discouraged. You’re the only person that you’re truly stuck with for the rest of your life, so it’s worth it to become your own best friend.

Karina is a second year Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major at UCD. Although she is STEM based academically, she enjoys advocating the feminist movement, having conversations about the political climate, whilst trying to remind herself and others to enjoy the simplicity of life through it all. She is passionate about writing what's on her mind in hopes that others can relate and find a sense of community.