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Self-respect and self-discipline. What is it to respect yourself? What is it to discipline yourself? When is it time to push and when is it time to rest? 

To respect yourself is to give recognition to your existence, features, abilities, realities, and surroundings, and to admire, to adore, what you have been given and have created. It is to honor your morals for your future you’s benefit. It is to imagine you are the protector of your younger self and to safeguard your young heart from hurt. It is to love yourself past, present, and future through action. It is an appreciation of you and for what you deserve.

To discipline yourself properly is to act in accordance with respecting yourself. It is to do and push so that you gain happiness and it is to rest to preserve joy. You deserve your own reverence.

I practice self-discipline by thinking. Just thinking. I overthink and it may be hard to halt, but it can stop me from doing what is not in my best interest. I try to not act spontaneously on things that could hurt others before I have really had time to think. Conversely, I try to act spontaneously in doing other activities, even simple endeavors like swift walks, for the benefit of living life active and present. I write and I read. I go outside and I smile because there is so much beauty in the little things. I watch people’s smiles and listen to my friends’ laughter because it brings me joy and gratitude. I drink water. I tell my friends and family I love them. I ask for hugs. I bathe myself. I follow artists, writers, and musical creatives who mean so much to me. I let myself cry. I wear my favorite jewelry because I am so lucky that I (me!) get to decorate my person! I set and enforce boundaries. I focus on my breath. I let people in who let me feel and be. 

And to you, I suggest the same, as it pleases you. To you, I mean precisely to really stop and smell the flowers. Squat and follow the bugs on the ground, while you write a script of their internal dialogue. Write that first journal entry right now. For 30 minutes, or 10 minutes even. Doodle a little. Write your friends love letters and deliver them by mail. Listen to your comfort music. 

I want you to love yourself. I want you to show yourself respect and helpful discipline, and I want you to let yourself feel and be.

I try to keep this motivation through a couple of my inspirations. First and foremost, the Emotionally Online Podcast by Maddie Dragsbaek focuses a lot on feeling empowered, independent, and happy single while reconciling with loneliness and self-doubt. Secondly, Thewizardliz puts things straightforward. She has your best interest in mind and mine.

Dodie, a musical creative, pondered a question: “What would you like to have with you if you were to pass away?” If you were to pass away now, scary as it seems, what would you like with you? Dodie suggested someone rubbing her feet and a bit of music. Her friend wished to have her hand held, a cup of tea, and a cat on her lap. “All you want is everything you have. Life is already here. It has always been here.”

It is the little things. The meaning of life is the little things. You already have everything. You should still dream and dream big, but you are already who you want to be if you just think about it. You deserve to love yourself. Learn to love yourself by imagining you are already that. You already love yourself. You, and all you need, is already here.

(She/Her) Juliet is a third year at UC Davis, majoring in ‘Political Science- Public Service’ and double minoring in ‘Sociology’ and ‘Gender, Women, and Sexuality studies.’