The Lakeland Mirror

What is Self-Love?

Mayce+Bacon%2C+senior+writing+major%2C+enjoys+the+view+at+Blue+Harbor+as+she+ponders+the+mystery+of+the+self.
Mayce Bacon, senior writing major, enjoys the view at Blue Harbor as she ponders the mystery of the self.

Mayce Bacon, senior writing major, enjoys the view at Blue Harbor as she ponders the mystery of the self.

Mayce Bacon, senior writing major, enjoys the view at Blue Harbor as she ponders the mystery of the self.

Mayce Bacon, Staff Reporter

When I got to college, immediately I was hit by how no one seemed to give a crap if I was dressed “pretty” enough or if I was in the clothes in which I had slept. It was an oddly refreshing experience.

However, as the months went by during my freshman year, I found myself still caring what people thought and only dressing to hide what I deemed as flaws. I wouldn’t wear shorts unless I was comfortable with the peers surrounding me. I’d wear shirts that showcased my cleavage so that people would be distracted from my sweat or fat stomach.

I was consumed by the need to make myself better. I felt like being ‘me’ was never good enough, and, regardless of being told otherwise by my parents, I still never really believed it.

When sophomore year hit, I started becoming a little self-obsessed. I can freely admit that.

I got into the “selfie” phase, taking pictures every day at first because it was the thing to do and then because I would see small things that wowed me about myself. Sometimes it’d be my smile, or my eyes, or even my body as a whole, but I was finding small things that were starting to accumulate. I was finding more things to love about myself than to hate.

Then one day I read a post on Tumblr that was about a girl who was being taken over by her mental illness and how she only saw the ugliness in herself. It saddened me to the point my eyes were blurred with tears.

I went to the mirror and stared at myself. Was I like that? Did I truly only see ugliness? No. I saw a girl with poofy, but thick, lustrous hair. I saw a girl with glasses, but beautiful eyes. I saw a girl that’s fat, but had curves and a waist.

I am beautiful, I thought.

Self-love is a journey of self-doubt, pain, anger, sadness and, at the end, pure love of yourself.

For me, the acceptance of myself (self-love) hit me out of nowhere. For years I was drowning in my negative thoughts, which were not always of my own making, having been told I’d never be loved because I was fat or that I’d end up alone because I wasn’t pretty enough.

Self-love doesn’t mean you love all of yourself all the time, or that you no longer see your flaws (for we all have them), but it means accepting your flaws alongside this existing beauty. There won’t always be an equal balance. For instance, one day you’ll be riding the high of self-love, and on other days you will be overrun by all the imperfections that you see in yourself.

Self-acceptance means having a resilience that will help you find an internal equilibrium. Self-love is self-acceptance. Self-love is simply loving yourself fully, and not being blind to the imperfections and just simply being you.

If you are struggling with any issues or would like more information on this topic, visit the Health Services office in the lower level of Brotz Hall or contact Cary Knier, director of counseling services, at [email protected] or Alex Liosatos, counselor, at [email protected]

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What is Self-Love?