Know, learn to love yourself

Graphic by Valerie De La O.

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Hello, my name is Jessica. I usually stick to photography, but I’ve decided to give writing a shot. 

This topic seemed to be a fitting start for me, so this is me living my dreams of Andie Anderson writing her “how to” piece on “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days.”

We are all taught the word love; we hear it, we show it, and all feel it so differently. We are taught what love is, but somewhere along those lines the teaching of loving ourselves can be lost along the way. 

I am a firm believer in the power and importance of women, and for some reason they do not know the importance they hold. When we are unaware of the value we hold, it becomes so much easier to be in a abusive relationship, whether it be with a friend or an intimate partner. 

According to The National Coalition against domestic violence, one in four women experience severe intimate physical or sexual violence. This number is alarming and is validation that women as a whole desperately need to show themselves the love they deserve and need to be more aware of the signs of abuse. 

Self-love does not have an instruction manual or a correct answer. Personally that is the best part about it; each of us individually gets to decide what it looks like for us. 

Whether it be working out, going to a movie all by yourself, putting on a face mask, or just getting a tub of your favorite ice cream and finishing it, make sure that it makes you happy. 

I found myself in an unhealthy relationship very young and never saw red flags. After I received outsider opinions and professional help I was able to see things that I previously was blinded to. These are some of the most important things I have learned. Above all it is important to make sure you feel safe with your significant other. It is also crucial to feel like yourself and that they do not make you feel the need to change or be anything different than who you are.

Always be sure that you are an equal. You can still have time for yourself and make you a priority. Just be aware of how their presence affects you. Do they make you happy? Do they make you scared? These are things to ask yourself and really consider before ever getting into a relationship.

Unfortunately, abusive relationships aren’t cookie cutter they all look different, but it’s up to you to decide how that relationship makes you feel.

I am so passionate about self-love because I wholeheartedly know if we take the time to be kind to ourselves we will then reflect this into every relationship we encounter and make sure those are an entity of love as well. Women have made music, won Grammys, changed fashion, won Olympic medals, made a lot of noise, and have changed the world entirely. Women are something to be celebrated, and there is no better way to do this then show ourselves an hour or even a minute of love each day as a reminder of who we are and what we deserve.