If you’re anything like me, you tend to self-criticize and often prioritize others' needs before your own. Whether that’s the needs of your friends, your significant other, or your family members. You’re more likely to compromise your expectations in a relationship than to push your significant other to improve or meet you halfway. You’re more likely to accommodate the needs of your friends to please them and gain external validation rather than validating yourself for being more than enough. You don’t self love.
I recently learned the importance of realizing your self worth and practicing self love, and I am significantly more happy already. There was a point in my life during this past year of quarantine where I started to question who I was as a person outside of my commitments to school and my social life. I knew that I was a good student and had strong relationships with others, but outside of that all, I was constantly asking, “who am I?” I realized that the root to this question and my confusion was not devoting enough time to self care and self love. Rather than internally validating myself by remembering my positive qualities and strengths (which requires being kind to myself and time for genuine reflection), I was continuously trying to take the route of seeking external validation from others. This only led to further confusion and less clarity to the question that seemed to be on my mind every day. What eventually gave me peace was actively practicing self care and self love by journaling, taking time out for myself daily, not being afraid to prioritize my needs, and starting to take more control of my own happiness.
It is important to realize that before you can take care of someone else or cater to someone else’s needs, you must first be able to fully take care of yourself. And this doesn’t just apply to the regular college-aged girl who is trying to balance school, work, friends, a relationship, and family expectations all at once. This also applies to those of you who are moms and dads. I have seen first-hand my parents continuously prioritize my brother and me over themselves, and while my entire life I have looked up to them for their stellar parenting, I have also realized the level of self-sacrifice that comes with the responsibility of being a parent. Recently, I have been encouraging my parents to take time out of their busy schedules to spend with one another as well as by themselves, and I can already see a positive change. My mom has started going on evening drives by herself in her convertible, and my parents workout in the basement together each morning.
While it is difficult to actively adopt self-care techniques, it is definitely doable and important! Here are three ways that I was able to start my journey of self care and self love!
I know that it is even more difficult to adopt self care and self love techniques during this time of uncertainty amidst a global pandemic. However, it is never too late or too early to start!
We often place so much emphasis on our relationships with friends and family members that we forget that the most important relationship is the one that we have with ourselves.
Good luck to all of us on our journeys to self love!
~Written by Kareena Garg, Author