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Self-love can be ugly, and that version isn't talked about enough. This concept has been glamorized for way too long, but it's time we put that aside and actually talk about it. It's not about what people think of you — it's solely about you and the relationship you have with yourself. The simple things are accomplishments in their own way, and no one should tell you how YOU should practice self-love and self-care.

I think the lines between self-love and self-care have been blurred into one, so let's clear this up. They're two very different practices, and I think people often get them confused. Self-care is the practice of protecting and treating yourself for your mental and physical health. However, no matter how much self-care you practice, it doesn't mean that you love who you are, and that's the difference.

Self-love is a lifelong commitment to yourself, a promise. It’s a never-ending journey, but it’s your most important journey. It’s waking up every day and choosing to love yourself. I’ll be the first to tell you that you won’t be happy with who you are every day, and that’s ok. Sometimes you’ll feel like you're at your highest, and other days it’ll feel like you're starting from square one again. Even through the stages of working towards bettering yourself, you have to accept who you are. You have to do it because you deserve happiness. 

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Sometimes self-love can be viewed as being narcissistic or vain, but I’m here to tell you that’s not true. There’s nothing wrong with being confident in yourself and knowing your worth. Loving yourself gives you the power to learn how to forgive yourself, set healthy boundaries, trust, and prioritize yourself. Don’t allow others to bring you down for being secure with who you are. 

Self-care isn’t always bubble baths and face masks. Sometimes it’s just having the energy to get up and brush your teeth or pick up your room. But no one shows those parts, and when they do, it’s labeled as “ugly” or “gross." Self-care and self-love are completely different processes for everyone, but they’re all valid. We shouldn’t have to bring others down for the way they get through their struggles. 

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Social media has a huge impact on the way we view ourselves. We’re only shown the good days, but not the moments where we have breakdowns or can’t bring ourselves to complete simple tasks. Those are all normal things that are hidden away because no one wants to reveal them. You’re going to have days where you can’t get out of bed and be active, and that’s NORMAL.

Self-care and self-love come in big and small ways, but whichever way you decide to take it, you are working on yourself, and that’s all that matters. The way you cope is more than okay. You are worthy, you are loved, and you are always enough. You’re trying your best, so remember to be easy and kind to yourself. I’m proud of you, regardless of whichever stage you are in this journey; just know you’re not alone. With that, I leave you some affirmations: 

I don’t chase. I attract. What belongs to me will simply find me.

I am enough.

I embrace who I am.

I accept love from myself.

Alexandra is a junior at the University of Central Florida, originally from Miami, Florida. She is majoring in Graphic Design and loves photography. When she's not at the beach, you can find her cooking, reading or binging New Girl for the 100th time.
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