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

It is easy to blame romantic comedies for the high expectations I have about love and relationships. Sometimes I feel like I expect so much out of love and feel disappointed whenever it doesn’t work out the way I want. Are flowers too much to expect from someone that says they love you? This hot debate on Twitter started because of a man who never bought his girlfriend flowers and showed that flowers really are the bare minimum. At first, I wondered if I was being materialistic for wanting flowers, but then I remembered the saying, “if he really wanted to, he would.” While I still felt like I was asking too much of my significant other, I also knew that I wanted a love that never makes me doubt their feelings for me.

The realization led me to stop waiting for someone to do all of the nice things I wanted or give me the care and love I needed. Instead, I decided to be that person for myself. I went and bought myself a bouquet of flowers and put them in my favorite gold vase. The instant gratification I felt from that small act made me happy. I noticed that I slowly started to treat myself in a kinder manner, and my inner voice started to sound gentler and more patient. It is not easy to change overnight, but my new intentions made me proud.

There are setbacks in the process of self-love, like feeling lonely and wanting someone’s company, but, as they say, it is better to be alone than with bad company. While the person I was with was wonderful in many ways, we each had a lot of individual work to do in order to become our best selves. I think an immense part of forming a healthy relationship is giving myself the love I wanted. I was uncomfortable with receiving gifts and being affectionate because it was not something visibly expressed in my childhood. I always wanted a magical love, but it was wrong to have such high expectations from one person, especially without ever making these expectations clear. The media sells this image that fairytale love is needed in order for one to feel fulfilled. The most important person in your life is yourself. Start showing up for yourself in all the small and big ways you wish others would.

Through being my own love, I learned that I had been accepting watered-down love, and although it had good moments, it is not what I wanted. Taking myself on dates taught me more about myself. I realized that I am not asking for too much for wanting a love that feels like everything and more.

Brenda is a fourth-year majoring in feminist studies and sociology and minoring in the professional writing program. She was born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles. If she is not studying or writing she is probably watching a romantic comedy.