What is (self) love?

Jan. 18, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

The beginning of the new year has already kicked off. Some of us made a worthwhile compilation of New Year’s resolutions, while many of us simply never got around to creating these wishful lists simply because we either would rather continue enjoying life as it is or because we procrastinated on writing resolutions.

Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, I think this year should be devoted to and dedicated as a time of self-love. You might begin to question, “What even is this concept of “self-love?” It is not narcissism or selfish behavior, but taking care of yourself for the sake of being kind to your own character and unique, imperfect being. All people love themselves in different ways, and though many of us struggle with self-confidence, it’s important to remember that in order to love our lives and the people around us, we must first learn to accept and embrace ourselves first.

And so I hope you find the courage to make this year yours. Take time to make yourself a priority.

The following offers just a few ways to start loving yourself today! 

  1. A blessing a day keeps the bad vibes away.

You can start small. When you wake up every morning, embrace the new day ahead of you and when you go to sleep, think of at least three things that make you happy or remind you why you love life.

  1. Find a group of real friends.

You become the people you surround yourself with. If you want to love yourself, hang out with the awesome people that have shown you appreciation for who you truly are. Or even better, become friends with those who inspire you to become a better person.

  1. Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Be kind to yourself just as you are kind to others. Is your mind constantly filled with clouds of negativity and self-doubting thoughts? Just imagine the kind of person you’d be if you spoke to others the way you spoke to yourself. Would you still be spreading kindness?

  1. Speak for yourself.

Learn when to say no to things you don’t want to do and yes to things you deeply desire to do but are too scared to pursue. When you honor your own voice, you are treating yourself to genuine respect. You are worthy of your own thoughts, voice and opinions.

  1. Treat yo-self!

Do you have a sweet tooth? Go out and grab some CREAM with your friends — or by yourself! There is no shame in doing the things you love doing by yourself; spending time alone means having the peace and freedom to gather your thoughts.

  1. Catch some Z’s!

Getting at least eight hours of sleep every night is not just an energy booster, but also a way of showing care towards your body’s needs.

  1. Listen to the songs that make you happy.

Who doesn’t love finding new cool music? Listening to new tunes or your original favorites are a sure way to put you in a good mood, especially if they’re songs from your happy playlists!

  1. Read one of your favorite books of all time.

This is fairly self-explanatory. Reading feel-good books with good words can help you de-stress by entering a familiar story.

  1. Find a hobby

Learning new things and exploring your own interests is equivalent to setting some time to do the things that make you feel best. At times, we feel like school and work can get in the way of doing the things we love, so make an effort to discover the simple things you enjoy doing like painting, dancing or playing an instrument!

  1. Explore your surroundings

The world is at the touch of your fingertips. Go on adventures and visit a local place you’ve been dying to check out! (Yelp is your best friend.) Hike the dish and absorb the greenery around you — shoutout to the pouring rain! Go outside just in time to watch the sun set behind Hoover Tower only to paint a beautiful sky with cotton candy clouds and purple shades.

Finding time to be present can be the greatest step towards self-love. Good luck!


Contact Clarissa Gutierrez at cgutier ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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