As many people know from one of my previous entries, I have chosen not to date for a year. Through this experience, I have truly fallen in love with myself. I know some may consider this to be conceited. However, I believe by loving yourself, shows others how you want to be loved. In the time that I have chosen not to date I have learned so much about self-love. For me, self-love is treating yourself as though you are the queen/king of the world. When you show self-love to yourself, it gives people the view of how you want to be treated and cared for. Self-love is crucial because as Ru Paul has said, “if you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” When a person is glowing in self-love, it shows people the type of love you need and deserve.
Self-love is crucial especially, in graduate school. For many years while in school, I can admit now that I did not love myself throughout school. I always put my academics first to neglect the fact that I was trying to hide the pain that I was feeling. However, when you hold things in for too long, the emotions being concealed seems to pour in to everything you are doing. To try to prevent that from happening I would try to find someone else to give me the love that I thought I could not give myself. However, through a lot of trial and error, I know that the void of self-love cannot be filled with anything else. When that space is filled with love coming from yourself, everything around you begin to change and you will feel different.
To me self-love is a day to day feeling that needs to be felt no matter what. For a long time, I lacked self-love for several reasons. However, the main reason was I thought that the love I was missing could be brought by someone else. Little did I know, that was not the love I needed. The love that I was seeking, took my self- esteem and love for myself to a place that I did not even know I was there. I realized how important self-love when I was 18 years old and my then ex- boyfriend (with whom I hoped to get back with) had made me fed up with my emotions not being considered. I decided that I would begin to put me first and make sure that the love for myself was stronger than any love anyone could give me. I am not going to lie, there were times where myself love was low, but then I looked in the mirror and say “I love you and I am sorry for the pain I put you through. Please forgive me” and I hug myself in the process. I say I love you to myself daily and when I start to feel depressed, I say the statement. My advice to you is say I love you to yourself, give yourself a hug, and smile while understanding that the love you have for yourself is better than any other kind of love.
As I wrote in my last entry, I began my last semester of graduate school. Even though I am excited and nerve wrecked, my mental state has began to go back to a dark place that I had been in last semester. Last semester, my mental stability took a hit because I was feeling alone and could not understand why. I honestly did not want to do any work and I was always crying. Even though I was going to gym and listening to music, I was not taking care of myself. Recently, I started feeling how I did last semester when I began to shut down completely. I have since learned several ways that I can take care of myself without feeling as though I am cheating my school work process, which is how I would feel when I was not doing my school work. So here are my four ways that I practice self-care daily.
- Writing in a journal- in my journal is where I get real and raw. I write my deepest concerns and thoughts there. In this book, I can express what I cannot speak out loud. I try to write every day because it serves as a reminder that this is an option when I get frustrated. I recommend to anyone reading this to write your heart cries and desires. It can be in a journal, on sheets of paper or even make a video recording your feelings. I say write anything and everything.
- Reading a book- I can honestly say with my heart I am a book nerd. Books are always a great way to escape what’s going on in reality. Books have been the door to a portal that was necessary for me to go into. Since being in graduate school, I have learned the importance of reading leisurely because at my other college, I could not figure out how to fit it in, but now I have figured it out. I read non-fiction, fiction, business books, young adult and autobiographies to escape. I mainly use the library because I can explore and take out books that truly interest me. (Plus, I am on a graduate school budget) So run to your local library and check out a few.
- Meditation- Meditation has honestly been my saving grace because it allows me to just breath and have my mind at ease. Usually when I mediate I will sit on the floor, in my bed, or in the chair. I just take about five minutes to just breath and allow my mind to be at ease and at times I get great ideas. I would recommend people to meditate because it is a calming experience. You can personalize meditation anyway you want to by add music, candles or even meditating outside. The important thing is you take time for yourself to breath and just allow yourself the time to refresh.
- Walking- I love walking. Walking honestly has helped me to not only clear my mind but also to gain insight and new innovative ideas. Plus it’s just a good way to get fresh air, see your community and discover new things. I would tell you to walk because not only are you being active, and for my fellow introverts it gets us out the house but it provides a new perspective on so much.
These are my daily/ weekly self care things. I also do take myself out on dates to museums, shows, traveling, laying in bed doing nothing or dinners just to appreciate myself. But I do things four things frequently because self-care on the daily basis is essential for me and you to not fall back into that dark space. Some days I do multiple of these task and some days I do one. Just know you can create a self- care routine anyway you see fit and it does not have to cost a lot of money. The important thing is you feel great afterwards and feel ready to take on the world. Just remember to smile in the moment.