It’s no surprise that with the ever-so-romantic Valentine’s day, the month of February is known for love letters, dates, sweet gifts from your partner, and whatnot. While this is a wonderful way to celebrate your significant other, we often become preoccupied with spending energy and love for other people, that we neglect the one person who needs it most – our very selves. The ancient Greeks called it Philautia, pertaining to ‘love of the self.’ The concept of Philautia was that if you valued and felt security within yourself, then you would, in turn, have a lot of love to give others (Krznaric, 2013).
As college students, whether you’re in the dating world or not, practicing self-love can become really challenging as we balance different priorities like academics, extracurriculars, and personal relationships. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this struggle and that self-love is as much an essential priority in living more fulfilling lives as any of those previously mentioned. In honor of love month, here are a few gentle tips and reminders for fellow students who could use more self-love in their everyday lives:
1. Self-care is not selfish.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that self-care is anything but necessary. Whether your version of it is taking a long nap, reading a book on the couch, or playing video games with friends, do whatever feels most relaxing and comfortable for you as this will only benefit your mental and physical health in the long run. If you have a partner, then do these activities together! You’re only doing yourself and others a disservice by not taking care of yourself so that you can be the best version of yourself. We deserve to nourish, refuel, and recharge our bodies in the ways we most enjoy doing so.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
I once read a Pinterest quote which said “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” You’ve probably found yourself saying “I can’t believe he’s already in a high org position as a sophomore,” or “It seems so easy for her to get high grades.” I know because I’ve thought the same. Comparison is violent because it’s an overthinking cycle that causes pain and weakens self-esteem, yet it’s so easy to fall into it over and over again. Of course, refraining from it is much easier said than done as it’s almost subconscious for us. Whenever you find yourself in this position, know that in your life, you’re the #maincharacter. Joke! But in all seriousness, everyone whom you’re comparing yourself to is also probably doing the same to you. We’re so caught up in the highlights of other people that we forget we’re all just humans trying to achieve our goals in life. As they say, life is not a race. Instead of comparing where you are or what you have to others, focus on your own journey and don’t take the little things for granted. There is power in gratitude.
3. Acknowledge the depth of your self-worth.
If you ever feel judged by someone for your decisions, your looks, or anything about who you are, detach from that person immediately. A good sense of self-worth is knowing that at your core, you are already worthy and no one else can take this away from you. Maybe you’re still hanging on to that toxic friendship or relationship thinking that if you just give it one more chance, it will get better. As difficult as it can be to remove yourself from these relationships, you can be assured that the reward is very much worth it, the first step is to just let go. Life’s too short to be spent settling for people who don’t add value or happiness to yours.
4. There is time.
College may feel very fast-paced and like you’re in hyperspeed mode, but I’m here to reassure you that there is time. No matter how many mistakes you make or times you fail, there’s time to get back up and try again. After you achieve milestones, big or small, there’s time to work even harder and achieve more. When you feel lost and confused, there’s time to find yourself. College is about discovering purpose not perfection. Allow yourself room for growth and progress because you have time.
Self-love is not easy for any student and we will all struggle at some point or another, but it’s an important part of our college journey as well. Together we will learn, uplift, and support each other. Be kind to yourself. Be proud of yourself. No matter what part of your self-love journey you’re in, remember you are always worthy.
_________ References: Krznaric, R. (2013, December 28). The Ancient Greeks’ 6 Words for Love (And Why Knowing Them Can Change Your Life). Yes Magazine. https://www.yesmagazine.org/health-happiness/2013/12/28/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life