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The SheHawk: What is self-love?

Samantha Durham, Opinion Editor

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I want to start off by praising the women of the world for joining the “self-love movement.” Loving yourself is incredibly important and everyone should be able to look at themselves and feel proud. Sometimes this is no easy task, as we all have flaws, but those are worth celebrating too.

Self-love is more than just telling yourself something positive; it’s believing it even when it gets challenging. It takes practice, especially if you haven’t “loved yourself” for very long. However, everyone has something worth loving and celebrating about themselves.

I can really relate to this whole idea because I had to deal with it myself. I am sure you can see in my bio photo that I have a lot of freckles and dimples on my cheeks. I used to be so embarrassed and self-conscious about what my face looked like that I piled on concealer and other makeups to cover them up.

My mom and friends tried desperately to convince me that I looked “cute” because of those features but I never really saw it that way. In my head, I looked different and my facial features made me standout among others. I had become tired of people growing up pointing out my dimples when I smiled or trying to count the freckles on my face. I just wanted to look like “everyone else.”

Time passed, I grew older and in that time I came to find that I cared less and less about what others thought of me. I wanted to like myself for who I was, not what I assumed others wanted. I stopped wearing makeup all together because I had always hated it. I stopped trying to smile less because life is just too short to not smile.

Now, I will admit it was hard at first. People did the same things they had always done and that made me feel self-conscious, but I had to keep reminding myself that I was perfectly fine just how I was, freckles and all.

I practiced being confident about my facial features even when I didn’t really feel that way. Soon enough I really didn’t feel bothered by them. I felt good when I looked in the mirror and saw that my freckles had grown darker from being out in the sun the day before. I started to like pictures of myself where I could see my dimples. I had come to recognize that I liked those things because they were what made me, me. I wouldn’t really be me if I looked different or did anything differently at all.

I started applying that logic to everything I did and the result I found was self-love. I stopped apologizing because I felt like it was appropriate, even if I didn’t feel sorry. I stopped dressing up because I felt like I should; I dressed up because it made me feel good about myself. I started dedicating more time to myself.

Overall, self-love is really about taking care of your mind and body. It’s about enjoying yourself and the person you are and the progress you are making in the world. I can’t really give you a set of tips and tricks about how to self-love because it is different for everyone.

For me, I take time to do the things I want to do. My happiness is a priority and so is my confidence. I remind myself that no person is perfect and that life is too short to walk around not loving the person you are. If someone doesn’t like you for the person you truly are, then that is their loss, not yours. If you are happy with the person you see in the mirror every morning then you have no reason to waste away trying to impress everyone else.

When you love yourself, others will love you too. I know sometimes it is hard to make the time for yourself or praise yourself, but it is important to do. Confidence in what you look like, how you act and what you are making yourself into is what is most important. That is something that is worth celebrating and you should never feel ashamed for feeling proud of yourself. Self-love can mean a number of different things, but what I do know is that self-love is about you. While how you interpret what self-love is might be different from someone else, it doesn’t matter as long as you are cherishing yourself and the person you are becoming.

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The SheHawk: What is self-love?